Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sun 26 Jun 2016. Kavala to Lake Kersini to Thessaloniki

Sun 26 Jun 2016. Kavala to Lake Kersini to Thessaloniki
Looked at castle on way out of Kavala. 

Drove through rural towns on way to Drama, quite tragic that up to 70% of mid-sized businesses and shops had shut down. Roads deteriorated, no repairs to damaged roadrails, no trimming of roadside growth, quite out of hand. Bought fresh bread at Serres and turned off towards Lake Kersini. Sadly, after all the build up about the great migrations, number of almost extinct species of birds, frogs, reptiles, buffalo etc, it was a great disappointment to find very little but domestic animals, commercial cruise-boats and horse rides. The lake was a murky opaque green, full of sediment, probably agricultural runoff. As in other parts of the Greece we've seen so far, no care of roads, lookouts, forest trimming along roads - very few places to pull off road to sit and look. Made lunch on a spit opposite fishermen, saw ducks (maybe Barrows Goldeneye?), a pair of Great Crested Grebes, Little Egret, a pelican, and black-headed gulls. Highlight was a "flock" of stork children having flying lessons, wheeling round in circles. 
Oh wow, swimming cows! 

Great Crested Grebes

Little Egret

Well camouflaged for survival

It was hot and airless in early afternoon and we couldn't imagine sitting looking at this uninspiring lake for the next 6-7 hours, so we decided not to camp early, but rather push on to Thessaloniki, filling the tank with water beside a prayer monument by the wayside.

Knowing from the maps it to be such a big city jam-packed right down to the bay, we started looking for camps outside of town. Turned into an area full of shut down decaying factories, and ran straight into a refugee camp. They looked confused to see us, but then cheerily waved and trotted alongside as we turned round to retrace our path. Unsuccessfully tried another place but roads were all gated off. The only camps in Pocket Earth were 50+kms out if town, so we marked the bigger car parks and tracks down to beaches. One carpark was gated with security staff. Tried Garmin and found a camp 27km out of town along a beach road. Found it at last, but it had obviously been closed down for years, with the old amenities blocks totally reclaimed by "jungle". Looked like you could stay there but the gates were new and had a padlock so we reckoned we'd be locked in by morning. As there was still a lot of daylight left, we pushed on to end of road to find old Ottoman Fort Karabourno and the nearby lighthouse on Cape Megalo Emvolo, but both were behind a locked gate. Sigh. Went down to the water and found a "just right" free camp on the beach, on the shore near fishing boats tied up at wharf. An old man with a stick, dogs and a boy said it was a safe place to stay. He pointed out an eccentric neighbour who lived in a beached boat on the shore, tarps and flags flying. Through charades indicated that this fellow liked his drink, although we thought he looked tanned and fit coming back with his windsurfer. 

Walked the shore and the wharf waiting for the sun to sink, then had leftovers for dinner. A lovely cool breeze made this our best Greek camp so far.


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