We had been walking for 20 minutes and except the occasional random sign with a picture of a turtle we didn’t see any lakes or any turtles for that matter. We hadn’t seen any humans either expect two Danish girls who decided not to follow these random signs right at the start of the route and gave up. With the rain descending on us I was sure they had made a wise decision. The road was secluded, winding through bushes and going into the central part of the peninsula. We didn’t have a map, water or any food and we didn’t even know if we were on the right road. The only reason we kept going was because of my sister’s stubborn insistence that it must behind the next bend. After so many bends she was quietly giving up until we meet a couple walking towards us. They were coming back from the turtle lake, which was according to them was just up the hill on the right. Summoning the last dregs of energy we dragged ourselves slowly onwards and after an hour of walking we finally found the famous turtle lake. It was small, with steep sides, quiet and with no turtles. We ran around trying to spot at least one only to see goldfish, red, gold and white ones. We started to question if we actually had actually come to the right lake at all? After staring into the murky water we managed to spot three and half turtles – three grownups and one baby one, so it was hardly the sanctuary advertised on the internet. I would call it a fish sanctuary, not turtle.
On the way back we stopped at the lonely church nearby for a well-deserved rest. The Church of St Procopius is nicely decorated inside and even though it’s far from the main path, the church garden looked neat and tidy. Someone had spent lots of time keeping the church alive which I find admirable. Hungrily we checked every single tree within the church yard and managed to get a few figs, enough to feed us until we got back to our apartment.
Would I recommend a visit to the turtle lake? Yes – but be prepared for a long walk. Bring water and some food. Also bring some bread for the turtles. You may be luckier than we were and see more of them. The lake is a project funded by the EC but it’s difficult to get any maps from the local tourist office. Try to locate the lake on google and print the map. The locals could give you general information like “after two minutes’ drive on the main road turn right” which makes me think they haven’t been to the lake.