Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ecological Alonnisos

8 uninhabited islands make up the National Marine Park of Alonnisos. Started in 1992 this park protects primarily the endangered Monk seal which lives and reproduces on Piperi Islet, but it also protects many rare plants and animals. People are forbidden to approach the Piperi area, but may visit many of the other islets. The island of Alonissos boasts the clearest water of the Greek Islands. It is also tiny and relatively untouristed.

Enough said! We were in and decided to include it on our route to Thessaloniki. We quickly discovered that tourists keep mainly to the beaches of the south end and so we headed north to the mountains where the goats definitely out numbered the people. One morning while packing up our things at perhaps the best sleeping spot on the island, we were treated to a visit by a local shepherd heading into the hills to give water to his goats. He appeared at the lookout with his dog on a home-made vehicle not uncommon amongst the locals. I always enjoy our visits with shepherds. They are so eager for conversation, eccentric beyond description, and unfazed by what we are doing.

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