You would think, given the beautiful pictures you see around the internet, that the beaches here are really pretty and just the sort of place that you can lounge around watching the world go by, taking a dip in the warm clear waters whenever you get too hot from baking yourself in temperatures in the high 20’s or early 30’s (sometimes even early 40’s)…and you get to swim with the ‘fishies’ in some places too!
From previous experience of mainland and island Greece, I knew that this wasn’t always the case, but we weren’t really prepared for how bad it can sometimes be.
We found some lovely hidden little spots on Kefalonia and they should have been perfect, quiet Oases for beach-lovers. Greeks – whilst famous for their ‘Zorba’ dance, tasty food and history (who can forget the Spartans?!) – are not particularly renowned for their cleanliness on the streets and this transcends to the beaches. The pictures belie the water bottles discarded, the food wrappers, takeaway coffee cups etc that litter the rocks and underneath the trees.
We love finding little quiet spots to escape the rest of the world for a bit, and there are quite a few to find on this island if you take the trouble to go off the beaten track on foot, or by vehicle – sometimes the latter can be quite hair-raising when roads are not really roads (even though the map says it is) but glorified goat paths on the side of a high cliff! (the goats are surprised to see you and look with a questioning eye as you descend on probably their equivalent of a 3-lane goat motorway)
We are going to keep the locations of these wonderful places to ourselves, because otherwise it would spoil things for other travellers like us who want to make the most of the solitude these little coves afford, but we need to point out the beauty of them whilst also saying how awful it can be when you see certain things along the way to finding them, or even spoiling places that could be so much more wonderful without the debris. Considering that these kind of places rely on tourism to make money, they should perhaps think of tidying the place up to make it more like the expectations that travellers have when they view the photographs advertising the holiday…they never show you the rubbish to get your custom, therefore getting rid of it so the pictures are actually more realistic would be nice.
We can only say that, like the UK, and possibly many other places worldwide nowadays, the occupants and perhaps even other travellers are responsible for turning the place into a toilet or a landfill site – they are just ‘dumping’ it in full view, if you pardon the toilet humour. We will only share the following picture of the tipped rubbish, as I couldn’t bring myself to photograph the other issues and would like to punctuate this post with prettiness instead.
Many public places and private land will be full of rubbish, on show to everyone who passes, but the worst thing is using any area as a toilet.
We are pretty used to animals depositing their faeces anywhere and everywhere, and some countries impose fines to owners of domesticated animals for allowing their pets to foul in a public place. I couldn’t find any information on the internet during a quick search for ‘dog fouling policy, greece’ so I’ll assume that they perhaps don’t have one, and this would seem evident given how many rather expensively dressed women walked their accessories, oops sorry – dogs, down the main street of Argostoli and let them foul the pedestrian area…
‘Too posh to poop-scoop’, obviously! 🙂
This also appears to be the case with human excrement – beach areas, and tracks leading to them, seem to be a human toilet. One particular beach cove that we loved to visit was reached by an initial track from the road and then a footpath further on around the coastal rocks and through the trees. As you left the road on to the track, the stench hit you before you saw anything. Once you realised what you were breathing in, you could see all the toilet roll, kitchen roll or wet wipes just caught in the bushes and the grass where people had obviously squatted down and taken a dump. It was a well-trampled area, so we presume this is a spot known for it and accepted as such.
Another thing will be lots of bags of rubbish. This is alleviated somewhat by the presence of large communal wheelie bins at some beaches and alongside roads, but people still seem to be far too lazy to bag it up and take it as far as one of those. They prefer instead to leave it in the trees or on the sand/rocks to disturb other peoples state of mind when they see this wanton desecration of what could be a beautiful location for everyone to enjoy if it wasn’t for the extreme selfishness of the few.
If you find a little out-of-the-way spot, locals may also know that area as a popular spot for a little bit of dogging or sex away from the family home (they usually don’t have the money to have their own separate abode, so families live with multiple generations on one plot of land – this obviously doesn’t give teenagers or adulterers a great deal of privacy!) Therefore used condoms can be a familiar sight, alongside multiple cigarette butts and beer bottles lying around.
Stray animals are usually around the more popular beach sites although they can still find anywhere that there is likely to be food!
If you can look past the debris, the scruffy and mistreated/sick animals, the faeces, condoms and broken glass, you should be able to locate a nice little spot to ignore it all.
Beauty is only surface-deep on the pictures you want to look at. Look deeper, and it’s sometimes not so pretty, or the route to find it may be past something rather more seedy.