Hello Once Again, Exarchos – Hello Falcon!

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falcon perched on a tree near exarchos, greece
Falcon pereched on a tree near Exarchos, Greece – February 24, 2023

It’s not a great photo, but the best I could do at the time. We had arrived in Exarchos the evening before, and on Friday, decided to head out of the village to check on the olive grove and see how things were there at the end of February. While driving along the road, I noted a large winged bird take off from a small cliff and land on top of a tree.

The tree was quite a distance away, but maybe with the 300mm zoom lens, I might be able to capture a photo of it. I didn’t think I had enough time to set up the tripod and didn’t bother checking out things on the camera well – just set it to Automatic and hoped for the best.

At the time, I was not sure what kind of bird it was; possibly an eagle that is native to the area? After some checking and comparing, I’m now convinced it was a falcon or γεράκι in Greek.

Pleasant Day, Pleasant Exarchos People

We decided to head up to the village for “Carnival,” which in some parts is apparently similar to Mardi Gras. It’s a time of celebration before Lent begins – and in Exarchos, the celebrations are generally held on Sunday before “Clean Monday.” While I’ve experienced attempts at flying a kite on Clean Monday, I’ve never experienced “Carnival” yet.

We arrived late Thursday and Friday, we decided to take a drive out to the fields, as well as later, go for a long walk. Both involved running into very pleasant friendly Exarchos people!

On our way from the field, a farmer was driving this tractor along the path that lead to both my olive grove, and his field nearby. I had to pull the Tiguan way over in order to give him room to pass, but instead of simply passing, he stopped the tractor, turned it off, and had a long nice chat with us. I didn’t get all the conversation as it was in Greek, but I could tell that it was very pleasant and welcoming. It turns out this is an Exarchos resident who has also added me as a friend on Facebook recently.

Later, I wanted to take photos of the village from where we were, and managed to also get some of him, working his field in his John Deere tractor, that is near my olive grove:

john deere tractor working in field near exarchos, greece
John Deere Tractor working in field near Exarchos, Greece – February 24. 2023

To get to this area, one needs to drive a tractor, truck, walk, or in another sturdy vehicle with a good bit of clearance. So far, my VW Tiguan has done well, although there are times I wish I had a Jeep Wrangler. The first part of the “road” is not too bad, although at various times of the year, and depending on weather and what farm vehicles have used it, it can develop some big ruts and new rocks can appear. This road traverses horizontally along the slope of large hill or small mountain (depending on your perspective), and through various fields and olive groves:

path or road created by wheels of vehicles through fields and olive groves near exarchos
View of the “road” through fields near Exarchose

One thing to note that at this time of the year, and into May, the area is quite green. However, come June, things tend to dry up and its not so green and the countryside appear quite brown. During the months of December through May, there is lots of precipitation including snow in the area but after, rains tend to be rare. At this time of the year, many parts of Greece could easily be mistaken for many parts of Ireland.

The higher elevation of this “road” offers some nice views of the village of Exarchos (all photos were taken with a Nikon 70-300mm zoom at various focal lengths):

view of village of exarchos, february 24, 2023
View of Exarchos, Greece, February 24, 2023

Exarchos is located on the slope of Mount Chlomo at about 300 metres (985′) above sea level, and just below it is a narrow plain that runs in a mostly north and south direction. A view looking a bit to the south of the village from the same location where the above photo was taken:

looking just south of exarchos, greece
A view towards Exarchos but looking just south of the village.

Later, after we returned to the village, we went for a walk, and by now, many of the residents recognize me and greet me in such a friendly, welcoming manner that I truly appreciate.

We also saw a small flock of sheep grazing on some green “grass” and could tell they were obviously milking ewes, and the size of their udders showed it would soon be milking time. I suspect they are owned by a local that makes fantastic feta cheese, and who I hope to visit and learn her processes and techniques of cheese making. But that may have to wait for another weekend trip to the village.

For now, we’re getting ready for the Carnival celebrations.

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