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TRAVEL TIPS

Lake Prespa - on the edge of Greece

Lake Prespa is a location that is unique—it belongs to three different countries. I stand in Greece—across the water I can see a village in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and over to my left I can see the mountains of Albania. This is a spot on the edge of Greece. We’d arrived by way of Florina on our way to Agios Germanos, which is situated about 7km from Lake Prespa. High above the village of Agios Germanos lies a magical spot for viewing both lakes from above. The bright blue water looks inviting and we become enchanted by the scenery. With the patches of bright blue, the green of the fields, and creamy brown of reeds inside the water, the scene is reminiscent of a large postcard, inviting and beautiful. The air is crisp, clean. We are far from city smog, skyscrapers, and the like. We are in nature and treated to views that need to be seen to be believed. Seeing the two lakes from above makes you want to go and see them from up close. Our next stop is these two stunning freshwater lakes—Great Prespa and Small Prespa. By Greeks, referred to collectively, they are simply called Prespes. Hence the name of this whole region. Nearby, you can also find the village of Agios Achillios with its 10th century basilica ready to be explored. On an island that can be reached by bridge, it is a hilly, green paradise surrounded by mountains in all directions with breathtaking views. The lake is smooth, glassy, the clouds clearly reflected within its surface. A swan serenely breaks the glassy exterior before the water is still again. Rimmed by mountains, snow is visible on the highest peaks, and the thriving ecosystem is home to many birds, fish, and other wildlife. Beyond the sound of a passing car or motorbike, there is silence. Coupled with the still waters, it is a place that is serene, that allows you to relax—even not knowing you were stressed. If I could use just one word to describe Lake Prespa, it is ‘peace.’ Perhaps an unusual choice when words such as stunning and beautiful can also describe it. If you consider where you’re standing, bordered by two other European countries, peace may not be your first thought. However this is not a time of war and relations with the aforementioned neighbours are not greatly uneasy. This location is truly peaceful. You need to feel the purity of the air, taste it on your tongue, and see the colours of nature blending into a view that is just as surreal as it is real. A paint brush could not create this scenery, nor can a mere photograph capture its intricacies. Article by  Tia Mitsis (2015) This post contains excerpts from her upcoming book, ‘A Greek Odyssey’.