Lake Voulismeni

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Often described as the “bottomless lake”, this body of water in the centre of the town of Agios Nikolaos was joined to the harbour by a canal dug in 1870. Craggy red cliffs tower over the far end of the lake and on two sides there are promenades full of cafes, restaurants and shops. Fishing boats bob gently along the quayside and ducks and geese swim out from a small duck house at the foot of the cliffs.

It is a lovely, peaceful place to stroll around and to sit and enjoy the views at any time of the day or night, especially after a shopping trip in the town, though at certain times of day you run the gauntlet of waiters trying to tempt you into their establishments. You also need to be fairly fit to scale the steps to the top of the cliffs, but the lakeside promenade area is flat.

I was enjoying a peaceful early morning run this summer from the Minos Beach Art Hotel where I was staying, further round the Gulf of Mirabello, when I stopped in my tracks as feral cats emerged from caves and ledges amidst the towering red crags and began leaping, lemming-like in my direction.

Flowing around and past me, they surrounded the solitary grizzled fisherman who had been “pop-popping” behind me along the quayside on his ancient moped, unruly hair escaping the helmet perched on his head, chin- straps hanging uselessly loose. He distributed malodourous fish guts mixed with biscuits to the rapturous throng before climbing aboard his small, brightly-coloured fishing boat and “phut-phutting across the sparkling water. I returned the next morning at the same time hoping to capture the scene with my camera. Fortunately, it appeared to be a regular routine, and I was able to take plenty of photos.

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