Yiannis Theodoropoulos

Yiannis Theodoropoulos

Bird guide and otter expert

Prespa

Haris Kalaitzidis

Beekeeper and mushrooms

Prespa & Florina

Nikos Yiatrakkas

Cafe owner and distiller

Prespa

Yorgos Spiridakis

Expert bird and mammal guide

Kerkini, Nestos, Rhodope

Meet our guides.

These are the local people who will show you around on our 'Secrets' and 'Bird PLUS' tours. But you can also book them individually if you're in the region and want anything from a few hours to a few days guiding. E-mail us on info@balkantracks.com and we'll organise it for you free of charge.

Haris Kalaitzidis

Beekeeper and Mushroom collector

 

Charis (pronounced similar to the 'ch' in the German 'ich' or the Scottish 'loch') lives in a small town on the Pelagonia plains, at the entrance to the unknown yet gorgeous Kleines valley. His family are Pontic Greeks, who were expelled in the 1920s from the Pondus area in modern-day Turkey during the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey Having settled in the Florina region, in the late 1940s his parents' generation were forced to flee into the Eastern Bloc during the Greek Civil War. Charis was born in Tashkent, before moving to Prague where he grew up. After returning to Greece for the first time as an adult, he spent time in Germany as a roadie for groups like Pink Floyd, before settling in Kleines and starting his beehives. He's also been an expert mushroom and wild flower forager since his childhood in the Czech Republic. Normally when we visit Charis, we organise for his wife, Fotini, to cook lunch, whose speciality are the local pies (called pites or burek, depending on where you are in the region).

Yorgos Spiridakis

Expert bird and mammal guide

 

Yorgos Spiridakis is a Greek-Cypriot, who was born and raised in Cyprus before moving to Greece for his studies in Forestry and Management of Natural Environment at the Aristotele University of Thessaloniki. Yiorgos has been an avid birdwatcher since the age of 16 and soon after he became involved in wildlife photography too. He has worked in a number of wildlife conservation / monitoring programs, mainly for birds and mammals, but also on reptiles and amphibians. His main job for the last 5 years has been as a wildlife / birdwatching guide in northern Greece and Cyprus.

 

 
 

Yiannis Theodoropoulos

Bird guide and otter expert

 

Bio to follow.

 

Julian Hoffman

Author and bird guide

 

Julian is an English-Canadian writer who has lived in Prespa for 17 years with his wife, Julia. As well as being one of the region’s most experienced bird-watchers, he is the author of The Small Heart of Things’, an award-winning essay collection primarily set in Prespa that explores the connections between man, nature, place and home. You can watch the trailer here and read book reviews in The Rumple and The Iowa Review. He has a great blog too - Notes from Near and Far. Julian’s next book, Irreplaceable, has just received a publishing deal from London's Hamish Hamilton and is due in 2018.

 

Julian is not only an ideal person to introduce the birds of Prespa, but he also brings a unique perspective and thoughtful interpretation of the region's history to any tour, examining the relationships between humans, their surrounding natural world and the cultures that have helped determine who they are today.

Nikos Yiatrakas

Cafe owner and distiller

 

For centuries the centre of village life has been the local cafe, which often also functions as a bar, place to watch the football, play cards and has a small shop providing groceries and necessities. Throughout Europe many of these have closed as they struggle to compete with modern cafes and supermarkets.

 

Nikos's grandfather owned the village shop before the second world war, although the family moved to Athens, where Nikos was born and grew up. Now Nikos has returned to the village and has restored the family business, complete with it's old distillery in the back yard. Every November the residents bring their grape harvest and distill their tsipuro for the next year. What you may know instead as raki or grappa.

 

BALKAN TRACKS

CONTACT

FOLLOW US

info@balkantracks.com

0044 (0)7506 381757

 

 

Unit 8A, Red Lane Mill, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, LS28 5UJ

UK

 

 

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