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February 2011 Newsletter PDF Printable Version E-mail

Northern Greece

16 February 2011

Dear friends

Diversities and Diversions of Northern Greece

Although our focus has been on the sites of ancient Greek and Roman settlements, our current motorhome journey across Northern Greece - from the Turkish border to the Meteora Monasteries of Kalambaka - inevitably opened up wider experiences. Here we illustrate a small sample:

(The photographs to which the following captions refer can be seen below and as a Gallery/Slide Show.)

Paddington the Nervous Bear: Saved at the last moment from the clutches of Romanian orphans in 1990, Paddington watches anxiously as Margaret explores ideas for future travels. Is that a map of Transylvania on the table?

Free to Roam: Among the rock and scrub of Greece's path-free mountains, the only restrictions and limitations lie within the walker.

Anemone: Spring comes early in northern Greece.

Shower of Fish: An Egyptian fisherman on Maroni harbour brought us a sample of his catch, along with news of recent events in Cairo. So fresh that one fish was still moving as we tried to cut its head off! Margaret uses the motorhome's outside shower for a final rinse.

Queen Eurydike's MacedonianTomb: Here lay the mortal remains of Alexander the Great's grandmother. His father King Philip II of Macedonia, his wife Roxana and his son Alexander IV, all lie nearby in the magnificent tumulus of royal tombs in Vergina. The 46-year-old Philip was assassinated in Vergina's theatre in 336 BC; 13-year-old Alexander IV and his mother were murdered in Amphipolis. In his 13 year rule, Alexander the Great had conquered all the land to the Indus Valley and the threshold of India before dying on campaign in 323 BC, aged 33. Who needs the Archers?

Monastery in the Lake: We talked to Brother Joseph in the Monastery of Ag Nikolaos, on a small island in Lake Vistonida. His Australian accent spoke of good years in Sydney before retreating to the Orthodox Republic of Mount Athos, with its ban since 1060 on all 'female creatures' of whatever species. Asked about his position within the hierarchy of the church, he replied 'a Simple Monk'.

Monday Morning Meeting: An early roost on Lake Vistonida for Cormorant and Pelican; Heron, Coot and Flamingo stayed aloof.

Taking to the Air: A Grey Heron takes flight from Lake Vistonida.

A Good Drying Day: The Cormorant's design fault is that it must hang its wings out to dry after diving for fish, its staple food.

Heron Stalking: The Great White Heron is being stalked by a Grey Heron on Lake Vistonida.

Returning Home: Margaret freewheels back to the motorhome, which is resting for a few days on the beach at Orfani.

The Sun Sets on Mount Athos: To the southwest of Orfani Beach the sun sets slowly behind Mount Athos. 1,600 monks from several Orthodox countries live in 20 monasteries along the 27-mile length of the Athos peninsula, which ultimately rises to nearly 7,000 ft.

With our Best Wishes

Barry and Margaret

Paddington the Nervous Bear


Free to Roam




Shower of Fish


Queen Eurydike's MacedonianTomb


Monastery on Lake Vistonida


Monday Morning Meeting


Taking to the Air


 A Good Drying Day


Heron Stalking


Returning Home


The Sun Sets on Mount Ethos