After a hectic and laborious semester, I’ve left the books and essays behind to go back to visit my second home – Greece. It couldn’t be any more different than the busy paths of campus and overload of studying. Instead, I’ve taken a much needed break and spent my time hiking in the mountains, sunbathing, running along the beach and tasting some pretty good Greek food!
I’ve been visiting Pefkochori, a small village in Halikidki, for a good 6 years now with my family. Usually, it is swamped with tourists, but in-between winter and summer, it is home to a few remaining locals which also includes my boyfriend and his family. Visit off season and you will see a slightly more raw side to life.
The landscape here is made up of lines of green, marginalised by blue sky with layers and layers of growth, from herbs to fruits to nuts. Long winding roads along hill after hill, they don’t seem to end. The beautiful green expanse is thick with acres and acres of growth, there’s always something new to see – even if at first glance every hill looks the same.
It’s perfect for a short run (you don’t get far in the heat) or long hike. But, you find you have to be careful to take a stick or rock with you on your journey – especially when you go exploring! On our last hike, me and my boyfriend’s sister in law, Kate, decided to go for a long walk up the mountains. Little did we know we would come across an Albanian shepherd, his flock and wolf sized dogs along the way. Unfortunately, shouting at the shepherd in broken Albanian to control his dogs wasn’t enough to stop them chasing us and threatening to attack. Instead, they forced us up the hillside, off the pathway and into some thick undergrowth, where we got caught in thorny bushes. After a good attempt at getting through it, the cuts and bruises sent us back down to find another way through, instead climbing on our hands and knees up the hill.
Finally, after three hours, we returned home full of cuts, insect bites and awkward sunburn which made us look even more like mad English tourists.
Lets see what the rest of the week brings!