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.
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.
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.
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