Topbar Beekeeping

I'm an urban topbar beekeeper in Albuquerque, NM. I manage hives in backyards and small organic farms within city limits. These hives are probably pollinating your veggie patches right now. Visit my website at: http://brownsdowntownbees.com/

10/12/11

The Bees of Kefalonia, Greece

I just returned from an outstanding trip to Greece and a short time in Spain. I was hoping I would spot a few beehives in my travels.... I had no idea that I couldn't throw a rock without hitting a beehive on the island of Kefalonia, Greece. I would wake up every morning and look out over olive groves, lemon trees, ocean views and beehives! I met many wonderful beekeepers on this island, selling honey out of back of moving crates, roadside stands and out of plastic bags. My only problem.... my Greek consists of good morning, thank you and toilet. I had so many questions I wanted to ask these beekeepers, but couldn't ever get past the niceties. As a result, the Kefalonian secret to beekeeping remains a mystery to me.

Instead of writing about the details of Grecian Beekeeping, I can only include a photo album of my travels and outsider observations. My husband James took all the photos that look old fashioned using the hipstamatic setting on his iphone.

I ended my trip in Barcelona, Spain and had to include this fantastic bee mural:

 I see a B!

The map of Kefalonia, the sixth largest island in Greece and some Nescafe. Greece, not known for their great coffee, but known for their amazing beaches.

One amazing beach

This is a view from outside my bedroom window. I was staying in a friend's house, outside of Kaligata. The hives outside my bedroom window sit on concrete pads. Wonder if this is a solution for hive beetles? These hives are nestled between groves of olive trees and citrus fruits. Looks like the rest of the hives have been moved to a different location for the season.





The next photos are of honey sold at a roadside stand/ shipping container by a very pregnant woman who spends her days watching trashy Greek tv and peddling honey (She has a Great Job). I traded this lovely beekeeper honey from my own hives in NM and she gave me honey for my girls in bottles, shaped like Grecian urns.  The main pollinator crop is thyme and the honey tastes like very sweet caramel. 






Stop the car...HONEY!

The next hives overlook the largest city in Kefalonia, Argostoli. They are right along the highway. I am actually standing on the side of very busy road taking this picture. 


This jar is honey I bought from a very rugged looking man in the town of Assos. This man only had 4 jars of honey on display. He was so gnarly and weathered, my first instincts told me that maybe there was something wrong with the honey, maybe it was stolen, or maybe it was too dirty to eat. With trepidation, I handed him my 12 euros. Then, I watched him lovingly polish the fingerprints off the bottle with a stained cloth and tighten the lid to make sure the precious honey wouldn't seep out and I realized.... this is the real deal beekeeper. This honey is precious to me. 
Assos


Proof that I am in Greece. Honey, beach, speedo and greek yogurt. Yum


These are my brand spanking new beekeeping work coveralls I found in Argostoli. These pants have 10,000 pockets, zippers and flaps. Also, I look so euro cool, it hurts.

The following pictures are of a beeyard owned by a man and woman couple outside of Katichori. Again, we couldn't get past the language barrier, but I took some pictures of their photo album of processing honey. Check out the steep and rocky yard they keep bees on. I really like their colorful signs and flags. 










Check out this great "bee bike" for transporting hives.
Another amazing bee yard surrounded buy cypress trees.


What's that in the distance? Oh, more beehives!
These are pictures of the Underground lake of Melissani. One of the stories is that the cave was named in ancient times from the Greek word for bee, "Melissa".  It's been written, that 1000's of years ago this cave was originally dry, and there were swarms of wild bees living underground. The caves were freckled with honey comb hanging like stalagtites, dripping honey and it could be reached through a underground passageway. Since then, many earthquakes, have opened up the cave and made it what it is today... and underground lake.


4 comments:

  1. Happy new year!
    hey!
    the biggest greek-hellenic islands:
    1-Crete
    2-Evia
    3-Lesvos
    4-Rodos
    5-Chios
    6-Kefalonia
    7-Corfu
    8-Samos
    etc..
    So Kefalonia isn't the second largest island in Greece!
    I love your photos and your nature friendly character!
    love from greece
    little beekeeper..a.........c.......a......beeeee *

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    Replies
    1. Ah, thanks for the clarification on island size. Hope to travel there again soon!

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