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EVS in Greece

A short article from Niamh about her EVS in the Greek mountains…

Life is not too bad here, it’s getting cold now though and it’s been raining like crazy, like being at home really. The summer was lovely, it was pretty hot but not as bad as the south. I miss the summer already.

Myself and Patricia (the Spanish volunteer) went down to the south for a week during August, it was roasting, but it was nice to see another side of Greece, lots of pretty beaches.

The work is going good, it is fun although its getting more difficult with the crappy weather and we have to go out in all conditions.

I am surrounded by mountains and thankfully that is where we spend most of our time, I love them, the landscape here is pretty amazing. They still have shepherds which I found to be quite amazing. They move with their flock so there are no fences, there are places in the mountains where you can see nothing for miles, a feeling of endless space. It’s refreshing, coming from a country where every piece of land is owned by someone.

We are assisting on two different projects.

One involves the bears; we go out into the mountains and collect bear hair, which is then sent away for DNA analysis. They have put barbed wire around selected power poles, the bears are attracted to the creosote on the poles, they scratch and bite them, leaving hair behind so this is what we collect. I haven’t actually seen any wild bears (yet) but there are 13 rescued bears here at the centre, they are beautiful animals. I’m hoping to see one in the wild before they go into hibernation, but for such big animals they are surprisingly hard to spot!

The second project we are working on is an otter project. We are sampling two lakes close by, we started out cycling to the lakes but the bikes were totally shit and kept getting punctures so we have to drive to the village and do a lot of walking, which is not so bad considering I think I’ve put on about a stone since I’ve been here!

I’ve been getting on very well with all the other volunteers, especially Patricia. She is great fun so we pretty much do everything outside of work together. There was a pretty rocky start with one other volunteer, who is an Anarchist or something and kept trying to talk to me about the IRA and stuff when we first met! Very strange…

Jessica is the girl that works with me on the projects. She is lovely, she didn’t start out too good though, it’s her first real experience of nature so it was interesting seeing her try to find her feet. She is getting on great now though, she’s really funny and sweet, and we get on very well.

Well that’s pretty much it, everything is great, apart from the weather, but my mam is sending me thermals to combat that issue!
Also, learning the Greek language is virtually impossible, I’m awful at it!

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