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Back to our friends in Chalkidiki


Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 23 to 27 June 2019

Sunday 23 June, back to our friends in Chalkidiki

We leave Marmari on time because we are going back to Paralia Dionysiou in Chalkidiki, a drive of almost 650 kilometers. This time we keep track of what we have spent on tolls and between Chalkidi and Thessaloniki we pay a total of € 31.20. Then the road vignettes are much cheaper in the surrounding countries. It is very hot, about 37 degrees, but when we get to the Olympus Mountains, it starts to rain. In Chalkidiki it is dry but overcast and stuffy. We first drive to the beach to recover from the trip and then go to our friends Michael and Kiki from whom we rent an apartment. This time we are in a different building near the beach. Their hotel is now officially open and it is already quite busy.
Monday morning we sleep in, have a coffee with Michael and then go to the beach, ecause at the end of the holiday we want to take it easy. Although, we have been taking it easy for the entire vacation. We have already seen the most important archaeological sites of the country in recent years and now we are looking more for areas that we do not yet know. After the beach, where it is very busy, we drive through the area, have a drink on a terrace and chat with people, preferably in Greek if possible. Now I still have the opportunity to test my knowledge in practice.
Our apartment has open balconies and in the evening I have a conversation with our Greek neighbors. They have been living in Germany for 50 years but hardly speak German so we have to converse in Greek.

Tuesday 25 June 2019, to Polygyros and Afytos

Memorial monument for the Asia Minor Catastrophe in PolygyrosThis morning we drive to Polygyros in the mountains to visit the museum but it is closed. Museums are normally closed on Mondays, but we should have checked on the internet. But Polygyros is a nice town and we walk around a bit. During the war of independence against the Turks, the uprising in Chalkidiki started here after the Greek governor was murdered in 1821. The residents defeated the Ottoman guard and expelled the soldiers from the village. There are various monuments for the fallen in ton. Greeks seem to love war memorials anyway because there are thousands of them throughout the country.
On the beach at Kalives, one of our most favorite beaches in Greece, it is quiet today while it was so busy yesterday. It is 35 degrees Celsius, just as hot as in the Netherlands at the moment, but very humid. We love warmth, but not when it's so humid in the air, you get tired so quickly. After a few hours we have seen enough of the beach and the sea and get back in the car and go to Kassandra, one of the peninsulas of Chalkidiki.
Neglected cottage in Afytos, Kassandra Afytos is a town on the east coast of the Kassandra peninsulaWe often go to Kallithea but now we drive to Afytos. We have been there years ago, but we had forgotten how nice it is here. Through narrow alleys we drive into the authentic center and again the dashcam is not turned on, too bad. We'll just try again tomorrow.
We park a little outside the village and then walk to the center. A crossroads of 5 roads forms a central square where we first sit in the shade.
St Dimitrios church in the center of Afytos The central square in AfytosAll buildings in Afytos have been built in a traditional style and it is probably the rule that you will only receive a building permit for a new construction or renovation if you keep that style. That, combined with the narrow streets, makes Afytos a picturesque village, a word we don't use that often. What is strange is that you can drive by car through most alleys, although they have made it one-way traffic in some streets. It is already the end of June but we are surprised that it is not busier even though we have plenty to see from our seats on the terrace, people walk up and down with cameras, not knowing where to start making photographs.
Shopping street in Afytos on Kassandra in Chalkidiki Souvenir shops in AfytosThere are a few shopping streets around the square where the inevitable souvenir shops are located. Most souvenirs are a bit standard: fridge magnets, beaded chains, bracelets, fake statues of Greek gods and figures from mythology, hats and t-shirts. The bead necklaces are not necessarily for wearing, they are komboloi and you often see men playing with when they are in the cafe. It is purely to do something and has no religious significance. Maybe a handy tool if you want to quit smoking, then you have something in your hands.
There are plenty of colorful souvenirs for sale in AfytosBut there are also more and more authentic things to be found, handmade pieces of wood, local herbs, olive oil soap and beautifully decorated pottery. We think the limestone reproductions of Greek houses and doors are very beautiful, but they are also expensive.
For cheap souvenirs you better go to the slightly more southern Kallithea but here you can find nicer things.
We walk past the folkloric museum but that too is closed today. Here objects from the past centuries are exhibited. The finds from earlier periods are in other museums such as that of Polygyros.
Finally another picture of us together, in AfytosThen we walk to the Vrachos (the Rock) because Afytos is built on a steep rock. Along the edge are several restaurants and you have a view of the two bays that lie in front of the town with a few beautiful beaches that are crowded in the summer. A Russian couple asks if we want to take a picture of them and, conversely, they also make one of us. Nice to have another picture of us together. We could of course also buy such a selfie stick, but we don't like that very much. A few pictures of ourselves is nice for the memory but photographing for us is mainly about the things that we see around us.
On the way back home, we buy a standing fan at the supermarket to take back home, because it is much cheaper here than in the Netherlands. And we hope it stays nice and warm in the Netherlands after we get back (unfortunately, that was just a few days). In Paralia Dionysiou we eat at Christos where we are now also seen as regular customers and we spend the evening with Michael and Kiki. We have not done much but are very satisfied with this pleasant day.

Wednesday 26 June 2019, again to Polygyros and Afytos

As good as the day was, so bad is the night. I feel a bit sick again with earache and a sore foot and I have not slept much. Still we will redo the program of yesterday and first drive to Polygyros where the museum is now open. But the building looks very empty and we only hear two female voices from a side room. They quickly make it clear to me that the museum was closed in 2012 for a thorough renovation and that it is still not ready. A pity, because here were shown the most important finds from all over Chalkidiki.
There is, however, an exhibition in a room at the entrance with the title: a collector and an archaeologist from the past talk about the future. Dialogues tell the story of the collector Iohannes Lambropoulos who left many of his pieces to the museum. The museum is expected to be opened again in 2021, but that depends on the finances. You don't have to pay anything for this exhibition and we get a few nice bookmarks.
Just like yesterday, we drink at the same cafe a coffee and then descend from the mountains to the beach but it is cloudy and even some drops of rain fall. That is why we continue to Kallithea on Kassandra for the last souvenirs we want to buy for some people and from there to Afytos. We turned on the dashcam because we are trying to drive the same access road to the charming village as yesterday and record that.
But when we are in front of a traffic light, suddenly a car comes rolling around the corner and luckily just misses our car. Because of the insomnia I hardly react and a bit drowsy I ask the young man who has come to a halt next to us if everything is okay with him. He says something back but I only hear the word taxi. Does he think I am a taxi? No, says Elisabeth, he asks if you are ok, too. Endaxi is the Greek word for ok, but the cogs in my head don't turn that fast today. But, Elisabeth suddenly says, we have it on the dash cam, below you can see the video:

It is pleasant to sit on the square of AfytosIf something had happened, we would at least have proof of our innocence, but it will not always help you in Greece, because many young people drive around uninsured and have little or no money. Then you have to wait and see that you will be reimbursed for your damage. Apparently I'm a bit upset because after a round I come to the same intersection but from a different direction without having seen the village and drive through red. We forget about the nice entrance to the village, park the car and walk to the central square for a drink.
The rest of the day we don't do much anymore and are back at our apartment early. In the evening we sit with Kiki and Michael who have organized a craft evening for the children in the hotel. They are mostly Russian children and one girl aged 10 is able to speak perfect English. She attends an international school and speaks better than the adults who speak the language very poorly. We miss the Russian acquaintances we met in previous years this time, they only come in July and August.

Wednesday 26 June 2019, our last day in Greece

On our last day in Greece the weather is beautiful and after a cup of coffee in Nea Moudania we go to our beach at Kalives where it is not that busy today either. In the afternoon we drive down the main road and try to stay as close as possible to the coast on the way to Nikiti, the village at the start of the 2nd peninsula of Chalkidiki. To our own surprise, we have never looked at this area so well, but now we often take sandy roads, after all there are no steep gorges. There are long stretches of beach where there are no buildings at all and there are no people either and suddenly there is a resort or village that consists entirely of hotels and apartments. Apparently it wasn't all that photogenic because we didn't take any pictures today.
On the way back we go to the Galaxias, a supermarket in Nea Moudania and what do they have there: warm fried chicken. We had already promised ourselves that on Andros, but the day we wanted to buy one, the chickens were sold out. A few minutes later we sit on our balcony and enjoy the chicken that costs € 5. We even have a lot left over as a snack on the way back tomorrow.
In the evening we walk through the village and say goodbye to some people we know like the owners and waitresses of the Dream bar. I don't feel like going back to the Netherlands at all and am already a little homesick for Greece while we're still there ...

 


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