This blog aims to give a personal and totally biased view of the Greek islands I have visited. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the islands. Two aspects of Greek islands that I love are seeing goats wandering around and the dawn chorus of cockerels crowing. Accordingly, each island I have stayed on will have a Cockerel Count and Goatiness rating.
Unless otherwise stated, all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Should you wish to purchase a license for commercial use of my images please follow the link to my stock photography blog where you will find details of my agents. Comments are welcomed but reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Alonissos animal welfare:

Mother and kittens on the donkey track near Patitiri
One of the many features of Greek islands which visitors encounter is the number of stray and feral cats. It's not unusual for holiday makers to adopt a cat (or cats) during their stay and provide some food for them -despite some tour operators attempts to discourage this. The long gone specialist holiday company Laskerina even went as far as warning against putting out milk for cats on the grounds that it would attract snakes "snakes love milk". I like a challenge and felt obliged to trawl the internet for some evidence of that but failed to find anything to back up that assertion at all. It's not even good for them. That said, milk is often not good for cats either (or hedgehogs for that matter) so if you are going to feed strays give them what they need -meat (and water, of course). Cat food is readily available in Greek mini markets just like anywhere else.
But what about the ones you can't help and the winter months when there are few visitors? That is where organisations such as ASAP (Alonnisos Society for Protection of Animals) comes in. Providing year round care and help for all animals (not just cats) this local charity carries out a range of activities including feeding programmes, re-homing for cats and dogs, and importantly bringing in vets to the island to provide medical care and spaying and neutering.
Of course, many islands have similar organisations so if you have a favourite Greek island and want to help the animals there try doing an internet search under "animal welfare" (or similar) to find the
Regards, David.
Edit on 25/1/2018: I have removed the previous links to ASAP as they are no longer valid. It seems that due to changes in Greek law ASAP no longer operates in an "official" capacity. I have been assured, however, that supporters on the island continue to work to help the animals there -look out for them if you are visiting the island.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Paxos (Ionian):

Gaios harbour, Paxos
Just a few miles off the coast of Corfu lies the charming small island of Paxos. I visited Paxos in 2003 staying in the village of Lakka at the northern end of the island. The village has a good selection of tavernas and bars and a lovely horse shoe shaped bay.Covered in olive groves Paxos makes for a good walking destination, though for various reasons I wasn't able to explore as much as I would have liked when I was there. From Lakka you can take the island bus which runs to the capital of the island Gaios (pictured) which had a more cosmopolitan feel with numerous boats and yachts moored up. On the way to Gaios you pass through the small fishing village of Loggos. This provides some entertainment as due to the narrow street everyone sitting outside the tavernas has to jump out of their seat and retreat to the side of the road to allow the bus to pass.

Tight squeeze for the bus at Loggos
Worth doing on Paxos is to take one of the round the island boat trips. The one I went on visited some large caves -actually taking the boat right inside. It then went to the very small satellite island of Anti Paxos for some lunch at one of the few tavernas there. There is little development on Anti Paxos although one or two of the specialist holiday companies sometimes offer accomodation there.On another excursion offered by the Friends of the Ionian we were able to visit a farm to watch the goats being milked followed by a demonstration and tasting of cheese making. This was followed by a visit to an old olive oil press and a talk about the history of olive oil production on the island. The trip finished off with a meal at a taverna and some traditional music and singing - including contributions from our coach driver/guide.

Lakka harbour, Paxos
Apart from the goats being milked I can't really offer an accurate Goatiness rating for Paxos due to the lack of off road walks. However the Cockerel Count ranked as high here (in Lakka) with a superb dawn chorus echoing around the valley leading down to the harbour. It came in waves -starting at one end of the valley and working its way round. Right up in my top two (with Symi) Cockerel Counts.
So Paxos, an authentic small island with lots of walking and photographic potential especially at Lakka and Loggos (Gaios was a tad too busy for me) and certainly on my list of islands to, hopefully, revisit in the future** Regards, David.

**Re-reading this post reminded me just how much I liked Paxos, so I am indeed heading back there in 2014! I'll publish a new post on Paxos in the future.