Παρασκευή 22 Μαρτίου 2013

A Memorable Holiday Experience in Zakynthos

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Zakynthos [Zante] Island

This wonderful Greek island we learned Christina accidentally. Most firms advertise Rhodes, Crete, Kos, Chalkidiki Peninsula, providing a lot of information about them, can not be said about Zakynthos. Direct charter flights with Russian tourists fly only 3 years old from St. Petersburg and Moscow in the first year, so our tourists on the island almost meet. It makes us very pleased. To the Russian locals are very good, as to know where to fly in, so just "Oh! Ruussiyaya!" and a different approach. But, perhaps, with the number of Russo-tourist attitude of local change slightly.

Zakynthos Island is located on the west coast of Greece, in the Ionian Sea. The island is 402 square kilometers and with a strong desire on the car or on a bike, you can drive around for a day.
Less compelling is the last refuge of sea turtle Caretta-Caretta and the Mediterranean seal monakus-monakus. For their protection on the island was established the National Marine Park. To calm turtles lay eggs at night and close the airport and most of the southern beaches.
Zakynthos is the greenest of the Greek islands. In the south and south-east generally wide sandy beaches, the entire west in rocky cliffs, and the north, which we most love, more mountainous and wild, with many beautiful bays. The highest mountain on the island - Vrahionas (756 m).
Flight from St. Petersburg takes 4 hours 20 minutes. Flew to the Airbus A320.

During the flight a couple of times badly shaken, but the landing was soft. lodged in the village we Planos, blends in Tsilivi village. Contingent here mostly married couples with children and the couple. In our opinion, the most beautiful and peaceful place. It is also very convenient in terms of location. Just 10 minutes by scooter to the capital of the island, about an hour up to the north and 40 minutes down to the southern beaches. All wild and wild English youth lives in Laganas, where every night worked countless clubs and bars. In general, the island just erelong clean, the feeling that the earth washed with shampoo. The exception is the beach of Laganas. All this stupid youth throwing bottles and trash where they want. Very messed up place, and it is in Laganas in 15 meters from the beach are the most majestic swim turtle Caretta-Caretta. But then his town these kids will not get out, so the more we never met.

 Our hotel was called Planos Apart Hotel. He is considered as a three-star, but the same example in Egypt or Turkey will quadruple. Room is located at the maximum of the island and the third floor includes two bedrooms, kitchenette and a balcony with sea view. More advance using Google Earth, I looked all over the length and breadth of the island, every bay and made ​​its own tourist map. That no one could depend and swim where we want to, we rented a scooter Piaggio Liberty. It is not worth much. For this we need a Russian law (but better right category A, which would have had no problems with insurance, if suddenly something happens ... and be sure to ask for free helmets!). Petrol consumption is minimal, we took only 3-4 liters a day. If you take the car, then of course they will be felt costs, as there is 1 liter of 1.6 euros. roads on the island are very good quality, perfectly smooth asphalt. Quality of secondary and dirt on the road much better than in St. Petersburg. But in the northern part of the island dangerous serpentine, you have to be very careful. Angles of rotation 180 degrees, and some we just went downhill standing on a scooter. Here and there were no obstacles, and just behind the curb were steep cliffs, 150 meters, and the width of the road should not exceed 5 meters. Scary, but terribly beautiful. traffic intensity is low, happened about half an hour you will not meet a single car. All the traffic congestion in the south of the island near the capital of Zakynthos. Reckless either, all go quiet.

On the second day of our stay on the island, we decided to take a ride on the east coast and swim at the beach Ksigiya (Xigia). Guide told us that at this point of a rock beat is very useful sources of hydrogen sulfide. A kind of natural spa. In the air was the smell of hydrogen sulfide, and swam in the water and white pieces of gray Flowing from under a stone wall. The water here is colder than anywhere else, but this place we loved, we come here almost every day. And that really surprised is the lack of people on the beach, not only on this, but on the whole island. By the way all the beaches in Greece municipal, which means you can swim wherever you want. Pay only beds, 5-6 euros per day. There I found a small cave where the big spiders live.

Refreshed, we went further north to the park Askos. It is a small zoo with deer, peacocks and a lot of living creatures roam freely. Rangers give a little dry food, which run together all who can. This park is located high in the mountains, pine and olive groves. Smells that there are simply no words. In general, the whole island just immersed in greenery and flowers. Walk up to the park, sit back on the hot sun scooter and go to refuel in the port of Agios Nikolaos for the return journey. On the following day, a good breakfast, we will see the business card of the island bay Navajo. This bay is interesting in that fifty years ago, the island of wrecked barge carrying contraband cigarettes from Italy. The next day, local residents received a special gift: a thousand bobbing on the waves of cigarette packs. And on the shore, burying his nose in the sand, helpless on the ship. Since then, the ship and left. Navajo get to the beach only by water. To do this, we needed to get to the bay of Porto Vromi where more seats on the boat. The path was coming not close, across the island. Roads are very dangerous, went up to 30-40 km. per hour. On the way stopped at unrealistically high cliff. Wall 167 meters (according to google earth). Types of stunning, the height of the breathtaking and legs give way. Several years ago, the area was the strongest forest fire that wiped cleaned dense forest. Now the fire of a black, charred tree trunks. Vromi Porto Bay was a very beautiful place with a cozy little beach. parked our scooter and a contract with the owner of one of the boats, we set sail to the beach Navajo.

 By the way the cost of such trips exactly 3 times cheaper than we offer guides or on the streets of Tsilivi. Along the way, we show the place where the bottom as if illuminated from below. The water color of some unreal colors. It is not believed at first. Sail by those cliffs, where we recently stood on the edge. Color of the water we might we could not get used to. This is the same! And the thing is that along the rocky shore has outputs highly mineralized groundwater. From the depths of transparent and white keys taken out to sea sources with highly water-soluble calcium compounds, they do the healing water and give it a bright blue color. Vessel was rather big.

 Climb was where the sun because it may burn, that can be burned. Little walk on the beach, we headed back to the boat. On the way back stopped to freshen up. Outside, the heat was unbearable. In the sun, probably 35-40 degrees. July on Zakynthos is the hottest month of the year, but thanks to this water at this time is very, very warm. If you look closely, you can see the carved stone profile. The Greeks called it the "Profile of Poseidon." North back to the scooter decides to go to see the bay Navajo top. Little confused by the mountain roads we did find an observation tower. Offering fabulous view! Height of about 250 meters. The real end of the earth!

 Next day we dedicated the southern part of the island. Namely Gerakas Beach, Vassilikos, Porto Roma, Agios Nikolaos. Gerakas Beach is a sanctuary of sea turtles Caretta-Caretta. Reserve staff instructs everyone who visits the beach. Produces several leaflets with information and says that you can not move away from the coastline further than 5 meters, as there are buried turtles lay their eggs. Very good place for those who love the great beaches, but we were there for a long time could not lie around, but like everywhere . In the thick of it to lie under an umbrella or a swim (at great risk to burn) or ride a scooter, when somehow the wind blows.

Porto Roma beach 

Next we are not very surprised. Is that the small schools of fish that are pinched feet. But on the beach of Agios Nikolaos we drew beautiful little church, standing on the edge of the cape. This beach will be interesting for those who love water sports. Here you can and parasailing behind a boat ride and a banana and another all inflatable devices. After we went to the observation deck in the capital of Zakynthos. And walked through the small streets of the city. town is very charming and colorful, with lots of shops and restaurants. in 1953 , there was a strong earthquake that changed the very island. Almost all the buildings were in ruins, and had to rebuild houses, churches and other structures. Houses look like scenery from some movie. A feeling that they paint every weekend. Not a single crack. Far from our hotel, we found a terrific mini golf "Fantasy mini golf", with lots of holes, for ridiculous money. Following marks on our map was a lighthouse, located at the north of the island, at Cape Skinari, where it was very well see the island of Kefalonia. Near the lighthouse in the blue cave we saw two windmills, and next to them a fabulous place for swimming. Depth of 10 meters, but because of the clear water can be considered a stone and we saw starfish, beautiful big fish and a lot of sea ​​urchins.

Reaching Laganas, we bought a trip to the island Marathonissi (Turtle Island). At first we were shown right next to the shore a few turtles. We did not expect that they are so big. Anyway we thought it something unreal to see them. These dinosaurs, every 15-20 minutes they float to the surface to breathe, and at this point you can consider them and take pictures. Further our way to the island followed Marathonissi. Island itself in its form is very similar to a large turtle. Arriving, we were told that You can just walk around and swim 3:00, and then we'll take you. First all happy, but after half an hour, we felt like a desert island. Sunbathing was impossible, the skin would just cracked on how thick the sun, swim, too, or both, in the water even more you burn, the forest was with impenetrable bushes and tenechek, which was near the cliffs and the retreat, there was nowhere to hide. had still keep bathing. Water mirror clean. Turtles on the island we have not seen, but there were many clutches of eggs. For each clutch "green" place fence and sign date. Caretta-Caretta lay their eggs only once every two or three years. Turtles come to the sand and use their hind legs, they dig a few holes, then by choosing, in their view, the most appropriate, lay her eggs. Hatched young, are selected from the pits and focus on the moon, are sent to the sea, carried along by instinct. They should have time to get to the water until it was light and not heat came. Latecomers are destroyed by hot sun or become food for birds. Even being in the sea, the young can not be considered completely safe. Unable to reach a certain size, they are a tasty food for fish. Usually from 100 turtles survive only 3. Adult turtles instinct again leads to the place where they were born, and up to a meter makes the new clutch of eggs. wandering around the island, we found traces of small turtles from the old masonry to the sea, around which were numerous traces of seagulls. So come our rescue boat.

Following Turtle Island, I led the way to the south-west of Zakynthos to the next interesting area of rocks and caves. Specifically in the area of Cary, to see from the lookout rock Mizitry Great and Small, as well as a giant Greek flag. Kind of nice, but is less effective than in the north-west coast. 18h37 meter size of the flag. closer to the rocks through bushes decided not approach for fear of snakes. Snakes on the island, we met a lot, and large size. Evening was always a pleasure to dip into our deserted pool. Next morning we decided to repeat our familiarity with the turtles, but this time, sniff the soil is by catamaran. Arriving back to Laganas, we rented a catamaran for 10 euros. Turtles found in 5 minutes. They swam 20 meters from the beach. Some people have them floating on inflatable mattresses. Dimensions turtles are surprising - up to 150 cm in diameter and up to 180 kg! Caretta-Caretta turtles are listed as endangered. seems to think that the island is small, but beautiful places to visit here very much. circumnavigate the island, up and down, we finally left two beautiful bays in the middle of the western part of the island. This Porto and Porto Limnionas Rocks. Porto Limnionas crazy place for beauty. again people do not. Due to the great depth of the water is cool, but it seemed to us more as compared to 45 in the street. Water is more transparent than most. It's very interesting to swim in the mask. Passing a couple of miles to the south, we were in Porto Rocks. Unusual place. Rocky shore like volcanic rock. Between the stones, something like natural salt basins. I tried to swim there. The bottom of the water is very similar to the Martian surface, but is problematic in and out of the water. It is easy to cut your hands or feet on the sharp rocks. A little to the left is more suitable for swimming. Even had to jump from the bridge. breathtaking. But the water is so salty that just pops. To dive at least five feet to make a lot of effort. On the way back we stopped as always swim in Alykes, where at the bottom you can find a lot of shells. Finally, visit our cozy beach next to the hotel, where we swam only 2 times.

That reached the end of our holiday in this beautiful island of Zakynthos. Time flew instantly. Ahead of us was waiting plane, three and a half hour flight and a nice house. We fell in love with this island. In all its villages, churches, cliffs and coves. In the floral island and buzzing of cicadas. To be honest, we did not expect what happens in Greece. Here you will not see the ruins of ancient monuments or different, it was destroyed by an earthquake, but that the nature and the sea where you can see a little! Very friendly island with fabulous Greek food. A great many excellent Greek wines. That only is the dish called moussaka, Greek salad with giant most delicious feta cheese, topped with real olive oil. Not appropriate here just to go lie on the beach, here you need to go everywhere.

See more photos below.

Words and Photography by Pavel Levchenko

Pavel's Blog:  http://frostydays.blogspot.co.uk/