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Animal Welfare in Greece:

Pelion is located on mainland Greece in the prefecture of Thessaly, almost mid way between Athens and Thessaloniki. Geographically it is a narrow flat heeled boot with a rolled up tip like a Persian slipper, kicking jauntily into the Aegean sea.

 

West Pelion encloses the Pagasitic Gulf with calm waters and sleepy fishing villages surrounded by gentle rolling landscapes of olive groves and Mediterranean scrub. Northeastern Pelion drops dramatically into the vivid blue of the Aegean sea, with centuries old plane and chestnut forests.

 

The stonebuilt villages of the northeast cling perilously to the steep mountainside and windy roads lead to stunningly beautiful pebbled bays, framed by a backdrop of lush greenery. The two are divided by a mountain ridge, thus Pelion has the enchanting combination of sea and mountains. The region is well connected by good tarmac roads although distances are lengthened because of the many torturous turns.

 

The nearest city is Volos with a population of 150,000 inhabitants at the entrance to Pelion. Volos is the mythical place from which Jason and the Argonauts set off in search of the Golden Fleece. Indeed the forests of Mount Pelion were once inhabited by centaurs!

In times of mass tourism where many a beautiful Mediterranean coast has been developed into golf courses and holiday apartment complexes, Pelion has remained relatively untouched. Tourism in Pelion is a rather peculiar activity as there are no well-developed marinas filled with impressive yachts, nor bustling seafront boardwalks with blaring music and an active nightlife. The traveller hoping to find a version of Mykonos or Santorini would do well to stay away. Most visitors are creatures of their own devices who delight in exploring the natural wonders of Pelion, be it the sea, or the mountains and the forests.

The delightful aspects of Pelion with its villages well spread out over a huge variety of terrain, distance and climates, the scenic winding roads, the distance from “civilisation” which has enticed many of us to make our homes here, unfortunately make many aspects of animal welfare work very difficult.

Supplies are always a long drive away, there is not a single veterinary clinic in Pelion itself, although Volos has several. The distance between the villages makes organising meetings, transporting animals or exchanging supplies and equipment a chore. What would be accomplished without thought in Volos itself has to be carefully planned here. The nearest year-round international airport is in Thessaloniki, 220 kms from Volos. There is an airport near Volos but it only operates a very limited number of flights and destinations during the summer months.

However we cannot allow these difficulties to deter us and we adapt and work to surmount them. It takes extra planning and coordination but such is the reality of where we are.