Royal Tombs of Agai (Vergena), Kavala, Fanari, and Ptelea Lagoon, Greece Week 115 June 7th - 9th 2013
Lake Aliakmona formed by damming the Aliakmonas River.

Just after we set forth for the day.

The road stayed high up on the side of the mountains.

Overlooking the dam.

An easy gravel road.

With a few steep sides.

Agai was the city state of the Macedonians.

It reached its height with Phillip II (359 - 336 BC) and his son Alexander the Great.

There is little left of the town. And the palace (as big and important as the Parthenon) is closed for restoration and renovation (apparently for the last 6 years though I may have missed something).

Thus there is the tumulus containing the Royal Tombs of Phillip II and ...

No photos. But ... this is the Macedonian tomb.

The museum is a tribute to modern technology but we struggled with the presentation.

From the brochure ... "The darkness that reigns in the space arouses awe and turns voices into whispers, suggesting the atmosphere in the land of the dead".

We were unmoved. We couldn't see in the darkness. And the silence was punctuated by the school parties.

Down some stairs to the entrance to Phillip II tomb.

The door was closed. Unable to view the construction and compare it to other tombs. Not even a photograph. No mention of how the inside was laid out.

It really is that gloomy down there. Don't trip on the stairs.

The tumulus started as a grave site, tombs were added, and it was covered.

Partly excavated to expose the tomb entrances the museum has been built to replace the sector which was excavated, so it looks complete from outside - but don't walk on the grass. 

It showcases the treasures entombed with the cremated remains. Including the gold sarcophagae and laurel wreath (the thought police caught me with the camera)..

The treasures are wonderful. The descriptions assumed a heap of knowledge we didn't have (not uncommon). But sadly also the pamphlets were a bit busy telling us how wonderful the museum is.

I later went for a walk on the road past the car park looking for the "burial cluster of the Queens" but alas it was an overgrown field that had piles of waste soil.

Bah humbug.

So on that slightly sad note we left our last ancient site in Greece.

Perhaps we were just tired. Or spoiled. Or latent Luddites. Or it really was a museum project that didn't quite achieve its aims for us.

We ventured into Kavala. We haven't seen a bank or an ATM since Kalpaki.

A somewhat crowded coastal town, this was one of the easier roads.

A novel way of limiting lane changes that worked.

We were lucky to find the cheapest diesel in Greece so filled up both tanks in preparation for markedly higher prices in Turkey.

A very Ottoman looking fortress above Panagia, the old town..
Why did we drive under the aquaduct?
To get to the other side (of course).

Probably originally Roman this incarnation dates from about 16th century, around 1536.

Part of barrier wall  replaced with aquaduct.

A tad unusual for Byzantine towns which typically use wells and cisterns.

Another of those "we can't see everything" occasions.

We spent a night just east of Porto Lagos. The first likely spot after a long day. Looked like an old landfill site, between wetlands and sea. With lots of insects

A passing fisherman gave us a couple of oranges.

Moved next morning to this spot a few km to just east of Fanari. Being fussy, a better beach, a few insects.

The season seems to be just beginning. The grass is freshly cut and the beach is being cleaned up.

Nice swimming and relaxing.

The afternoon storm closed in around us. About the same time as when we arrived yesterday.

Fortunately not directly over us.

Just a light spattering of rain.

And a bit of a breeze.

And the sun hid.

Island of Thasos on the horizon.

Then after the storm beach clearing recommenced.

With an old Belarus tractor.

Not a wind farm in the distance.

An aerial farm.

Perhaps a reminder that Greece was once ruled by a military junta.

Still not content with our little patch of paradise we moved another 8 km east.

To Ptelea Lagoon. Perched on the bit of sand separating lagoon from sea. 

Part of the National Park of East Macedonia and Thrace.

Not marked on our map we just struck lucky after examining satellite imagery.

There's a large flock of flamingos in residence.

That get a bit restless as we approach too close.

I didn't know flamingos had webbed feet.

Some are tinged with a bit of pink. Particularly the leading edge of their wings.

This lagoon is open to the sea (man dug) so its perhaps not salty enough to have too much reddish algae - which cause the pink colour.

And a few "not seagulls".

That dive into the water to catch fish.


Plus herons (or egrets).

Inhabiting the shallower parts. 

Flamingos have longer legs and necks plus uniquely upside down beaks, with movable upper jaw.

And cattle ....

so we figured camping would be ok.

Some of the flamingos are using their feet to disturb the bottom. Walking on the spot.

After a while the flamingos relaxed and stood on one leg, with some trying to sleep.

They sound a bit like geese to us. And they have the annoying goose habit of gently, almost imperceptably, sauntering away as we try to get closer.

Not related to geese though. They are one of a kind.

Our binoculars are better than our camera.

Then our not so inconspicuous mobile bird hide was almost visited by a heron!

A few flamingos flew in and out during the day. The mass exodus of half the flock in the evening was too quick, even for us, to catch a photo.

Too often we are not in a place long enough to recognise the patterns.

Haven't a clue.

And it isn't one of the birds hiding in the grass singing to us.

Finally, as the sun moved round, and the flamingos waded closer, a better hint of pink.

We believe they are Greater Flamingos.

The youngsters are whitish grey. The adults become pink as they age and eat lots of pink things. 

Wing feathers look black to us but may well be purple. The Greek for the genus, Phoenicopterus, translates as "purple wing".

We could well become "birders".

If you haven't guessed its the first time we've seen flamingos in the wild.

Tomorrow we move to Turkey.

The country, not the bird!

Gallipoli, Turkey Week 115 June 10th - 11th 2013

Ian & Janice Tue, 11 Jun 13 04:04:41 +1000
Hi Folks!
Good to see you are still mobile and assisting the Greek Economy by filling both fuel tanks before leaving the country! Pity there are no Lidl outlets over there to get a few more packets of those biscuits that melt in the Sun!
Loved the bird pictures, we think you are becoming a better photographer as the journey/adventure continues!
Best wishes from Lithuania which is where we currently are.

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