“When I was in primary school, I saw a neighbor training pigeons. He called them divers, because they used to fly very high and dive downwards. I liked the show and the buzz they made as they were heading down. A moment before they reached the pigeon house they opened their wings and slowed down. Some didn’t make it and got killed on the paved road”.
Every morning of every season, Ouranopolis port at Chalkidiki is crowded by men waiting for the ship that goes to Mount Athos. That's where the end of the "modern" world is; beyond this point there are no highways and no limos. Only narrow paths. The boat that leads to Daphne passes near desolate and peaceful coasts, like the ones that existed in the old times, without massive buildings and factory chimneys.
Α day in Mount Athos begins and ends in the church. Monks move along like shadows in the dim light, singing hymns that have been perfected after years of repetition. In monasteries, monks work hard in order to exercise their faith, take care of the huge and old buildings but also to feed the thousands of visiting worshipers whilst always being available to listen to their pain or joy.
The boat returning from the Mount Athos glides in the sea like a sled on snow. Minute by minute the mountain is left behind, looking like like a step that unites heaven and earth. In the passengers' eyes, monasteries don't look like imposing and massive buildings anymore, but like calm shelters.
"We first thought of starting the Volunteer Team in 2007, after the summer fires in the Peloponnese. After a while we created a team of voluntary fire protection, to keep an eye on the forests and inform the Fire Department if we saw a fire. That's how our idea came to life and we decided to name it: I give my day to the forest".
The environmental “paradise” of the regional unit of Serres. The majority of the people living in the lakeside villages consider the protection of the wild birds and animals a personal affair. The development rhythm of the area is mild so as not to disturb the frail ecosystem. Cow and buffalo herds roam the lands around the lake. A boat-ride in the lake with a "plava" (a type of boat with a flat bottom) is a unique experience.
The delta of Loudias River is a place of wildlife and primitive beauty, which is why it has been included in the Ramsar Convention and the European Natura network. This is where some rare species of birds and animals find shelter and reproduce. As it is near the national highway Athens - Thessaloniki, it is being severely threatened by human corporate interventions.
"What do I think when I shepherd my goats? I think of wolves and the possibility of them eating my goats, and wonder where I might find a shady place to rest, what else? Last year the wolves ate eight of my goats and a dog. Once I saw the goats jumping around in fear. The wolf had bitten one of them on the neck and was getting ready to eat it, but the dogs intervened and saved it. Another time, I was lying under a fence when I heard a noise. I stood up and saw a wolf standing frozen in its spot. I was scared to death and by the looks of it so was the wolf. I yelled loudly and it ran off, but then it circled to the back of the herd to eat the animals. They always do that; they are smart".
"Until 1986 we all used to swim in the lake along with our children, we didn't even know what the sea was like. People used to come from nearby villages on carts, tractors or on foot, to swim and fish. The waters were very clean, there were no sewage or trash, both Greeks and Yugoslavs were very careful. During World War I, English soldiers used to wash their wounds in the lake's water, because they believed it was thermal water and it would heal their wounds".
"When my daughter got A in primary school I gave her a Cocker Spaniel as a reward. That was when my great love for animals was born. After a while I bought German Shepheard’s, Rottweilers, Labradors, Yorkshires, cats, hens, doves, gooses, peacocks. I also bought an estate so that they would have enough space to live”.