Say it aloud, please.
What do you feel when when you are speaking this word?
Do you feel somewhat… funny? Or is joy we are talking about? Or maybe is something… magnetic?
I must tell you, for me all of the above are true. And especially the last one!
Halkidiki is so magnetic to me that I packed my bags and I went there with Elena in the begining of June.
When we explored by car a seaside road, I realized why I was so atracted to this “three fingers” greek peninsula.
All of the above photos are taken in Sithonia, the middle “finger”. Beside what’s in the photos, there you have everything for your heart desires: small, wild beaches and big ones, with bar and umbrellas, surrounded by trees and bushes; fisherman’s villages; picturesque harbors; all kinds of camping and hotels.
And let me tell you, it’s a wonderfull feeling to often say:
-Wow, what a beautiful place!
And then stop, take a few photos and wonder if is a good ideea to remain there. But when you see that the road winds on and on, you realize that you must resume your drive in search of the next Halkidiki marvel…
But you can’t drive forever and you have to take a longer break at some point. And we stopped in…
It’s a wonderfull place to stay for a few hours or even for a day or more. I liked a lot the fine sand beach where you can dry and relax after a swim in the incredible crystal water.
But, because I’m an addicted explorer, I loved the sculpted rocky formations from the sides of the little golf.
They don’t say for nothing that “Nature is the greatest artist”! 😉
Look, a face on the rocks!
After a few hours of Karidi, we went to her sister, down the road:
Here, the water was of the same crystal as that from Karidi but the sandy beach was smaller. Unlike Karidi beach, here was a bar with almost all the liquids you could wish for and, if you bought a drink from the bar, you got an umbrella and a free sunbed.
Good bussines, isn’t it?
There was also a noisy power generator but his noise was covered by the music the loudspeakers were delivering to all the people gathered there.
Did I tell you that, instead of sitting and waiting for the sun to burn me, I prefer to go exploring?!
That’s the reason I fell in love (again!) with the rocks Portocali beach had to offer!
And such a scenery called for a photo shooting with a model:
Sorry! Wrong model, my bad! 😀
Let’s try again:
Yeh, I tormented Elena a little bit, but all is well when it ends well, isn’t it so?! 🙂
If you think that everything we explored was near the sea, well… you are wrong:
Did you know that Greece has hills and mountains near the sea? 😀
Yeh, I knew it too and I went to Parthenonas, an old greek village infused with a new life.
But this new life dind’t laid roots everywhere:
Fortunately, this old and neglected house is the exception.
This revived town it’s very tourist friendly. You can enjoy a delicious meal and drink a refreshing beverage (the pomegrante juice it’s… extatic!) while looking to the sea over the olives orchards:
And if you want to have something to remember this nice settlement, you can buy what you like from the talented local craftsmen:
But it’s not everything about work in Parthenonas:
We weren’t in the mood for a thousand pieces puzzle and we didn’t get any souvenirs but we left with something: olives and olive oil, bought directly from the manufacturers.
Those olives orchards aren’t just for show, so you know! 😉
Because three it’s a magic number I’ll stop here with our free roaming. Whay do I say “free roaming”?
Because I went to Halkidiki with a very good holiday deal, got through my travel club. And this package had two days of excursions included.
In the first one, we went…
Sailing the Aegean Sea
After we ate our brekfast, a bus took us to the harbour.
This harbour wasn’t only for leisure and I enjoyed seeing some local life:
In the meantime, our ship was waiting for us and Elena was the first to spot it.
In no time we were on board, because we had a schedule to hang on to.
And now it’s my moment of truth. I must admit to you, my dear reader, that there are times when I think I was a fish in a previous life. Or a sailor, at least.
I’m saying this because my eyes start sparkling everytime I find out that I’ll do something with or near the water. It doesn’t matter that it’s about swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking or sailing. Everytime I’m jumping impatiently, just waiting for the water connected activity to happen.
Now it was the same and I was overjoyed:
But not everybody is like me:
Hmm… and I realized that it’s not entirely true what I just said. I never jumped with joy when I had to… wash dishes. Never mind this, let’s go on! 😀
In this sailing trip I discovered that, for some, the water journey is most rewarding when… they can go to the shore as quickly as possible! 😀
This first stop was for visiting the local shops and to eat a delicious handmade ice cream. Now I realize that something was off with that ice cream.
Because shortly after I finished it, I started to see, well…
A flying bicycle?!? What the …uck?!?
Next time I’ll eat two icecreams! Or ten of them! It’s gonna be interesting, for sure! 😀
Until departure time, we had time for a walk on the beach.
After another short sea voyage, we arrived at another beach.
Swimming for me! Eeee!
And I got to see how our ship looks from the sea level:
But not everybody shared my passion for looking at ships.
I watched them for a while and, when I felt that was to much liquid outside my body, I went to put some inside, for balance purposes. This beach had the perfect place:
Last stop of the sailing trip was near the Kelyfos island. This island it’s a very interesting one because it has the shape of a turtle.
Also, the water is very deep near to the shore, so the ships can get closer to it.
This last stop was for…
It was the perfect closing of the sailing adventure!
The next trip was a little bit outside Halkidiki. The next day, the bus took us to…
For this destination we had a very passionate guide. Maria told us everything about this second largest city of Greece, from the Big-Bang to our days. Because it was a lot of information and history it’s not really my thing, I forgot almost entirely what she told us. 😀
But I remember that there were a lot of wars fought to control this important city of the antique world. A lot of ruins throughout the city tell the story of greeks, romans, jewish and ottomans who controlled the city at one point or another.
There is a moment in all it’s history that outshines all the others. Literally!
The red zone from the image represents the area destroyed by Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917. The fire burned for 32 hours and destroyed 9,500 houses, representing two thirds of the city.
Indeed, a black day for this greek settlement but the important thing is that they recovered.
From those ancient years, in the today Thessaloniki you can see The Heptapyrgion, also popularly known by its Ottoman Turkish name Yedi Kule.
It is a Byzantine and Ottoman-era fortress situated on the north-eastern corner of the acropolis. Despite its name, which in both languages means “Fortress of Seven Towers”, it features ten towers.
Because it’s on a hill above the old town, from there you can see a beautiful panorama of the city and of the Aegean Sea.
This doesn’t mean that the streets near the sea are photographically unattractive:
And if there are buildings from other times, I discovered a man from another era:
Yeh, be careful! He is a fearless pirate!
But in these modern days he didn’t put a knife on my throat to take all my money. He politely invited us on board of his ship for a 30 minutes sea trip.
The nice thing it’s that you don’t pay a ticket for this cruise. Your admission fee it’s a drink you buy from the ship’s bar.
Isn’t it cool?!
Of course we took the cruise, and it was very nice, indeed!
There were other ships with the same business plan:
However, none of them had a real pirate and none was as beautiful as ours! 😀
Everything I told you until know, happened on the ground or on the water. But I spent a lot of time underwater, doing…
Snorkeling in the Aegean Sea
Since I discovered this kind of activity two years ago, I can’t get enough of it!
I like a lot to swim but with a snorkel equipment, the swimming got upgraded. When I added to the mix an underwater camera, I got another level of upgrade and a lot of purpose.
I must tell you: underwater is another world. A magic world!
Believe me, there are a lot of wonders under the water. In fact… you don’t have to believe me. Decide for yourself! 🙂
Tell me please, did you see anywhere on land something like this?
And I started to love the “two world images” as I got to call them:
Two different worlds in one image, isnt’t it something?
Yes, I have to admit: I’m addicted! And because of this I “had” snorkeling for breakfast and dinner in every day of this vacation.
For all of this activities I had to have a base and for the first five nights, my base was…
Village Mare Resort
Because I’m a happy member of a travel club, I got a very good deal for my holiday at Village Mare. For six days/five nights, all inclusive and with two days of excursions ( “Sailing the Aegean” and “Thessaloniki” full day trips) I paid 306 euros.
The resort has one storey buildings which look very nice.
Our room looked like this…
… and inside we discovered a nice welcome gift:
There were some pools over there…
but why would I want to swim in a pool when I have the beautiful Aegean Sea at two minutes from the hotel?
But the pools were good to look at during the meals.
And I must admit that I was a little worried about the “all inclusive” part because some of my colleagues told me that greek “all inclusive” doesn’t even get close to turkish “all inclusive”. “You’ll be disappointed” they told me.
And what did I find at Village Mare? Let me show you:
Yes, all the food you can eat and much more on top of it! Not only it looked good but it really tasted good! And it was different at every meal so I didn’t have any chance to get food bored.
Almost everytime a meal looked like this for me: I filled a plate with the most interesting food I saw. After that, I filled the second plate the the next most appetizing foods.
And on top of that, the dessert, of course!
Because of this, every time I got up from the table, I discovered that rolling it’s the proper way to move.
Yes, after all that food, I could barely walk! 😀
The funny thing is that all of this happened to almost all of the 40 club members.
And this members were from many countries: United States, Ireland, Iceland, Latvia, Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Poland, Romania.
We were all very fortunate to have as our host from the club a very special lady, Ms. Chrysoula Adamides.
She was with us as a hen with her chickens, always ready to solve any problem as quickly as possible.
Thank you, Chrysoula! It was a special time thanks to you, too!
All of us have a heart beating for travel, like this one:
And when we gather together, we look like this:
Do you feel our love for travel?
Because I do!
If you don’t believe me, let me tell you this: after those six days in the Village Mare, I switched from that four star hotel to a four star… tent!
Yes, for the next three days, we went…
Camping in Sithonia
You wouldn’t have thought of this switch, right?
I must tell you that camping in Greece it’s very different than camping in Romania. Inside this building you have everything you need: toilets, showers with hot water, refrigerators, washing machines.
And everything was very clean.
There was a restaurant and also a supermarket. Practically, it’s not necessary to get out if you don’t want to.
The camping had it’s private beach which was exactly how I liked: very… not crowded!
In all that camping space there was another tent beside ours.
Yes, we were the “poor” guys together! 😀
The rest of the traveller had all kinds of caravans, one more impressive than another.
Seems like for some people it’s important that roadlife to be as comfy as posible. And of course they don’t swim. What are boats for?!?
We were, of course, very happy with our tent. We enjoyed the silence and the shadow of the olive trees during the hotness of the day. The mornings and the evenings were, of course, for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling.
It was a perfect place for getting away from the noise of the cities without having to give up on civilization.
And we didn’t pay much: 22 euros per day for two people and the car with a table and two chairs as a bonus! 🙂
That was our Halkidiki adventure! We loved it because It was a great mix between a four star hotel and a four star… tent! 😀
It was a trip in which we discovered a very nice host and beautiful people, with love for travel in their blood. And it’s a very interesting experience to talk to people with different backgrounds from several countries. It opens your mind like nothing else!
The greek camping was also another pleasant discovery.
As always, Greece gave us more than we expected. She has something for everybody and she shares with all of her heart.
Yes, you should be there!
Wait a minute! Now I’m writing this article in Romania…
I should be there, too! 😀