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Pefkohori wins hands down for Helen

Neos Kosmos reader Helen Papageorgiou shares with us how Pefkohori, Chalkidiki, captured her heart and soul

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L-R: Helen with her husband Panos; with Anna and Effie who live in Melbourne and decided to experience the beauty of Pefkohori when they travelled overseas.

24 June 2011

It was July 2000 when I went to Chalkidiki for the first time in my life. I can't describe how I felt seeing the amazing landscapes. It was remarkable for its extensive beaches, pine forests and small villages.

The entire Kassandra peninsula has several major hotels surrounded by woods and close to the beaches. The beaches, the lifestyle, the restaurants, the cafes and friendly people gave me the impression that Chalkidiki is the best and most beautiful place for someone to live. I thought to myself at the time that one day I would like to buy something here to come every year and enjoy everything Chalkidiki offers.

The dream of buying a property there kept me warm for many Melbourne winters. These days I consider myself very, very lucky as I was able to go back in 2008 and make my dream a reality. We bought an apartment in Pefkohori 200 metres from the beach, 50 metres from the restaurants and cafes. The fresh air, the fragrances of the pine forest, the narrow streets of the old village with the neo-classical buildings, the rose-bushes and the lemon trees are some of the unique picturesque offerings of Pefkohori to whoever chooses to visit it. Pefkohori wins hands down for us.

Today my children aged 24 and 21, my parents, me and my husband are enjoying the comfort of own home in Greece. We found that Pefkohori catered for all our needs. It was the best decision we ever made. Both my husband and I are not from Chalkidiki but I recommend to all travelling to Greece that Chalkidiki is a must for everyone.

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Its amazing how we can travel through life and see each landscape in a different manner. Once, many years ago, travelling with a friend through a beautiful wilderness, on arrival to a pristine white beach and sky blue sea that saw few people walk on it for many years, made the comment "There is nothing here! Why are we here?" I renamed Pefkohori, as Vromohori, a few years ago, when we landed there by accident. We arrived on a sunny day with a slight breeze, and like most of Greece roads are never swept or cleaned, the thick layer of dust on the footpaths and the roads was been blown around, together with all manner of rubbish. I am used to dust storms, but this very fine dust was difficult to live with. Going around the corner to a seaside Cafe, we sad down only to hear the owner being absolutely vile to a young Albanian girl allmost in tears, who was washing the tables. We sat in silence, shocked that a Greek can behave like a Nazi to this defenceless little girl. In the moment of our despair, the owner takes off her apron and approaches our table with a smile, and starts to talk to us in a language we did not understand, we all remaining silent. I almost silently made the word, "Ellines", she turned red and continued asking what we want in Greek. We were too shocked to get up and go. We drank our coffee, very quickly and left. Walking on the footpath next to the beach there was the gagophoness sounds of the "Balkan horde" and some North England tourists. We walked on past the cafes to find a beach without too many cigarrete butts and rubbish. We walked on till we came to sports centre backing on to the beach and we stopped, silently looking, wishing we were elsewhere. A beautiful young man with an athletic built, came up to us and said, "Kalimera", he started talking to us. He was the ideal Greek, beautiful, intelligent and aware, the opposite to the Cafe owner. Meeting him undid the ugliness of this place a little. We left without swimming. When reading Helens experience, I did not at first register the town she was describing. Vromohori and Chalkidiki are places that a few dozen madmen have given the keys to a few dozen bulldozers and let loose. Then again, was not Greece made by Zeus throwing a pile of rocks into the sea. We all have different eyes to see the world in different ways.

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