Hello Greece

Leaving behind the super friendly eco campsite which has been our home for the last few days we pulled onto a superb motorway, which gently rose through wooded hills, into Balkan country. It really was the first time I’d been conscious of Greece’s proximity to its Balkan neighbours, indeed it is part of the mountainous territory.

The boarder crossing was almost non existent, we pulled in behind a tiny line of cars, only to be waved to one side, the guard asking how many 

‘Two and one dog’

A smile and  ‘ok’ without even glancing in the passports and we were on our way back to Euro land.


 We passed a road sign, on our right, which said simply, on the arrow, ‘Bulgaria’. An entire country in one direction, with one sign post. 

With our destination for the day a lake side spot with an epic view (N41.207455 E23.096273).

On arrival, the local boat captain waved us into a shady spot under the trees and then sat with us  explaining his love for the bird life and other fantastic places to visit in the country, swapping of email address, as Vasili’s had offered his help anytime we needed whilst in his homeland.

There is an interesting history here, concerning both the people and the lake. Like several other local areas many thousands were re-settled here in 1923 however the marshlands carried malaria and were hard to farm, so the ‘new’ population was badly affected and thousands died.

 The original dam was built in the late 1920s, the second one in the 1980s, and as so often happens, villages were flooded as was the willow forest. 

The lake is a shared resource between the two countries, with the water being used for irrigation at different times. 


Bulgaria  keeps the water and then during the spring and summer the sluice gates of the dam on the border are opened and the Greek side of the lake fills up. 

 The eco-system that results from this is extremely special and although this was always marshland, the present day sunken forests and wetlands are vital for fish and birdlife.


The undergrowth, the swampy waters and the climate make the area an ideal place for birds, and its protected status means that it will remain a bird haven. 


The boat trip shows this off perfectly- Flamingos and Dalmatian Pelican, neither of these being an everyday sight. 


The awesome sight of hundred maybe thousands of birds fishing in the water

 It is still a highly agricultural region and has a rural, traditional feel to it as you drive through the villages.

A great introduction to Greece

Paul.

2 comments

  1. Just came across your site. Am presently in Norway having toured Scandinavia for 8 weeks. You have now given me my next venture. Thanks really inspired me.

    1. Geoff what out for the upcoming ebook, if I ever finish writing it …..

      Enjoy your travels !

      Might need to swap info as we need to go north next time around

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