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Greece 2003

Igoumenitsa - Aghia

Leg details

May 29 - June 12, 2003
Departure - Nufenen Pass - Lake Garda (Italy) - Sueglio - Bergamo - Ancona - Ferry to Greece - Igoumenitsa - Mt. Kasidiaris - Sitaria - Parakalamos - Ioannina - Dikorifo - Elati - Kipi - Elafotopos - Vikos-Canyon - Monodendron - Kalpaki - Aristi - Konitsa - Armata - Dhistrato - Confluence 40°N/21°E - Vovousa - Pindos National-Park - Kalambaka - Meteora Monasteries - Larisa - Spilea - Mt. Ossa - Anatoli - Aghia

Leg map (click to enlarge in separate window)

May 29, 2003

Departure - Nufenen-Pass - Lake Garda (Italy) - Sueglio

Our Greece journey already starts like in a picture book.
During the drive over the Nufenen-Pass we are greeted by a flora as one otherwise only knows it from the calendars. The photographers Peter and Susi can almost not break away.

On top of the Nufenen-Pass, adorned with whole carpets of small gentians, we prepare our lunch.
Next to a snow field Peter finds some very particular specimens.

Then we head towards the Lake Garda in Italy.
Instead of taking the expressway we choose the old lake road and near the first village we head into the mountains. Above Sueglio we find a small alley that leads us to a small clearing where we can stay for the night.
It is marvellous to be right amidst the fresh greens.

May 30, 2003

Sueglio - Bergamo - Ancona

After an unhurried breakfast we continue our journey.
The way back to the lake is no problem, but the chosen route via Bergamo is not good.
The road Lecco-Bergamo is bad, passes through many villages, has many red lights and lots of traffic.
On the motorway for the first time it gets quite warm, up to 30 degrees.
After several hourly breaks we drive past Ancona and search a campground.
Unfortunately "wild-camping" is not possible in this area.

After a pizza we need to perform the first "repair":
The removal of the Defender's third battery; it is dry as a bone.
Water for the battery goes onto the shopping list .....
Then it is leisure-time for today.

May 31, 2003

Ancona - Ferry to Greece

At 6 o'clock Susi yells "Solar eclipse!!!"
The two women immediately grab the cameras while the men are comfortably leaning out of the tent to watch the spectacle.

After a few photographs we go back to sleep but not for long, since we will leave towards Ancona shortly after 8 AM.
At a service station Ruedi buys another 2 litres of distilled water for the battery.

We find the port by making only one "wrong turn".
Once there we get sent to the wrong queue by an official so that we queue up for Patras instead of Igoumenitsa.
The waiting time is used to top-up the dry battery with distilled-water.
Fortunately there is ample space in "Millimeter" to do the work ........ :-(

Around 11 o'clock the Superfast ferry arrives and soon after that the Igoumenitsa column begins to move.
Heidi luckily manages to get us into the correct queue.
Our place on the ferry boat is, however, quite far inside the trunk, very hot and loud.
"You cannot always win" ......

It is ever again fascinating to watch the 40-ton trucks roaring up the ramp although there's not more than 10 cm space left on each side.
The upper deck of the ferry boat and even the ramp are loaded by regular cars, campers, and these huge trucks. Then the fully laden ramp is lifted and levelled with the upper deck, followed by loading the lower deck with the like.

We eat a quick lunch in the Self service restaurant and lay-down afterwards in our pitched roof-tent.
"Siesta time" ....
Around 4 PM we move to the upper deck where we read books and plan the route for tomorrow.
Dinner is taken in the "à la carte" Restaurant and the food is indeed very good.
Soon after 10 PM we lie again in the roof-tent and sleep relatively well in spite of noise and heat.

June 1, 2003

Ferry to Greece - Igoumenitsa - Mt. Kasidiaris

Wake-up call today is already at 5.30 AM as we need to pack up.
The ship will dock at 6 o'clock.
Although Igoumenitsa is still almost in the dark there is already hustle and bustle in the port.

On the ship disembarking begins.
Then the ramp is lowered and off we go!
A Red Cross convoy also was on board on its way to the Iraq-war.

We look for the road heading north and refuel our diesel- and water-tanks on the outskirts of Igoumenitsa.
Soon we leave the city behind us and find our way on side road towards Filiates, where we eat breakfast at the wayside.
The temperature is at chilly 15 degrees, in the sun however it is wonderfully warm.

The morning fog slowly lifts and we enjoy a superb view of the mountains at the frontier to Albania.
We keep on driving towards Kamitsani where we choose the "white-green" road in southern direction.

We are delighted of the splendid brooms (genista).
Beside the brooms many other plants and trees are blooming beautifully.
The plant book we had especially ordered for this trip did unfortunately not arrive in time and now most likely lies at the post-office in Illnau.
So you will have to guess yourselves what plants we found and took picture of.
And the bird book ... well, that also lies, that is to say, in the book shelf at home ...

Interesting rock formations and inter-bedded stratas fill us with enthusiasm from the beginning.

The Greeks use stones for many purposes ...
Although it is a slightly unfamiliar way of doing traffic markers even for us Swissies it is clear that this bridge should not be used anymore.
So.... where is the problem?

During lunch we "palefaces" must take care not to get a sun-burn in the strong Greek sun.
There is no shadow since one of the many fires burned down everything around here.
However, nature recovers quickly and the flower splendour is enormous.

We cannot find Haravgi and search the way towards Vrosina.
But already even before reaching it we branch off again in direction of Leptokaria, drive on a gravel-road to Rizo and then into the heights of Mt. Kasidiaris.

There we take the mountain road until we find a steep dirt road which ascends to a saddle.
It is so steep that Susi would have preferred to leave the car.
Fortunately she doesn't sit on the sloping side ...
We only drive up to the first turn, since we don't know whether there's a turning possibility further up.
We set out on foot because we want to go to the top in any case!

On the saddle we have a wonderful view, also in direction of the Vikos gorge.
Below in valley we discover a beautiful lake that cannot be found on our maps.
That where we want to go tomorrow.
Getting there looks quite easy.

On the "alp" we find a kind of wild sage.
Many others plants are blooming and insects are creeping and crawling about everywhere ....

All around us we see thunderstorms developing, above us a few pathetic Cumuli indicate only little thermal up-current.
In spite of that we decide not to stay up here for the night but to drive back and to search for something else.
After all, the risk of getting surprised up here by a thunderstorm is too big.

The downward road is still as steep, narrow and not a bit more confiding than when we drove up.
Susi means, driving up-hill it didn't look so steep .... however, she managed to stay in the car.

Soon after in a curve we find a place with a superb view.
We decide to stay here for the night although it is only 3 PM.
As it is stinking hot we seek shadow and beverage.
Here it has an incredible amount of gigantic flies with green eyes and also many horse flies.
Funny enough the horse flies are only annoying, the beasts with the green eyes, however, bite wholes out of the skin.
We escape into the Defender's fly tent, although it is even more sweltering in here.

Then we begin to settle and to prepare dinner:
Spaghetti: red (= with tomato sauce; for Peter) and green (= with Pesto; for the rest of the team).

Still during dinner, the tails of the near thunderstorms reach us so we move together under the Defender's awning.
Around 8 o'clock the rain is over and the sun shows up again underneath the near clouds adding up to a wonderful atmosphere with the mist in the valley.

We are visited by 2 police vehicles, but they leave us alone.
Apparently "wild camping" is no problem in these parts of Greece.

After we had our daily "picture-show" it is bed time.

We are disturbed a few times by other vehicles.
Looks as if we are have decided to stay in a quite popular place .....
Already booked!

June 2, 2003

Mt. Kasidiaris - Sitaria - Parakalamos - Ioannina

In the morning after the sun rise it is still quite cold.
The sky is blue but there are still some heap clouds left from yesterday's rain.
As the sun moves higher one can hear how the flying objects slowly wake up.
The buzzing and humming together with the sunlight comes closer and closer.
As soon as the sunshine reaches us the fly attacks resume.

We leave in direction of Mt. Kasidiaris.

On our way we meet these feathered friends.
2 offspring can be seen in the nest.

We continue over a few not very trustworthy bridges.
We all agree: with 18 tons we would not drive over this bridge!

We cannot find the lake that is shown on our road map.
So we proceeded via Sitario to Parakalamos, turn there into a small dirt track heading south and near Riachovo reach the lake we saw yesterday.

It seems that the lake has not been there for a very long time as we find a map at the wayside showing how to get there.

We eat lunch in a bright deciduous forest.
There are many wild Lilies close by.
It would make a great campsite but it is only lunch time so we head off again.

Travel continues to Ioannina, where we look for the EOT (Hellenic Office of Tourism ), as we require information regarding the Vikos Gorge.
The address that we have is wrong.
Once we find the office we find that the office hours are 9 AM - 1 PM only.
So we go shopping in a Super Market and head north around the Ioannina lake to Mazia and branch off to Kriovrisi.
We noticed a small white street on our map which we then also find.

The track is covered with coarse gravel and not very heavily used.
The road is covered with big stones; some parts of the road are half buried.

Hmmm ... here it is too narrow and there it goes down damn steep!

Here we even have to use the saw to clear the road!
Wow, how exciting!
At last we can use the "big boy's toys"!!!!

After the highest point at roughly 1050 m we start looking for a suitable camping place and at about 900 m altitude find a pretty clearing where wild thyme grows.
As soon as we stop, we are assaulted by millions of flies that besiege our aerials and tyres.
The beasts love grease.

While Susi and Heidi prepare rice with fruit-curry for dinner and Ruedi and Peter drink some Greek beer:
Peter, our beer-freak, comments: Mythos beer isn't by far as good as Hellas Pils .... bear this in mind please!

June 4, 2003

Ioannina - Dikorifo - Elati - Kipi

As we want to visit the EOT and would not like to find closed doors again we already get up at 7.30.
It is rather fresh with only 14 degrees (during the night it was even only 12 degrees!).

Nature definitively already got up before us.
It already hums everywhere.
The fly screen enables us to have an enjoyable breakfast.

Peter is less lucky after a small trip into the forest ....

After breakfast we continue following the track and loop back to Ioannina.
On route we find this beautiful stone-bridge.

At the EOT we get the required information, but no maps.
Good 1:50'000 maps that include GPS grids in Greece are sold at newspaper kiosks and in stationary stores.
We decide to head north over Mt. Mitsikeli to Dikorifo.

More by coincidence we find the right entrance into our track.
Rapidly the track climbs up into the mountains.

Halfway up the ascent we find a shadowy spot on the wayside where we unpack our lunch.
Shortly after, an 80-year old man comes past, wearing long, heavy trousers and surrounded by many flies which don't seem to bug him at all.
He instantly feels comfortable with us and chatters in Greek for close to half an hour.
Out of that we only understand very few words.
He offers us some of his lunch: genuine self-made goat cheese, wrapped into an already often used aluminium foil.
The cheese has such a strong odour and taste that we want to give it back to him.
But he simply refuses.
In return we gave him some of our Swiss-Chocolate.
Most likely he doesn't know what it is and stows it into his breast pocket.
He then gives us his mobile number and tells us to call him next time we are in Ioninna.
To be able to continue our journey at all we started packing up.

The further we go the steeper and more exciting it gets.

View down to the tip where we had lunch.

At the highest point of the pass we decide to follow the left track which turns out to be a cul-de-sac.
It ends after about 2 km on a pretty alp, which is however, a bit too exposed, taking the current weather situation and the risk of thunderstorms into account.
So we decide for the descent and drive through Elati towards Kipi.

We know Kipi from our first journey to Greece.
The river below the bridge has much less water than when we were here the first time.

At the bridge we take the ford over the river and stay in the meadow on the river-bank for the night.
Studying the map is duty today since we want to go out bush tomorrow.

After a refreshing bath at about 18 degrees water temperature soon there is supper time.

The campground "Kipi I" unfortunately is relatively noisy since there is traffic on the road through the whole night.
We decide to find another campground for tomorrow night.

June 4, 2003

Kipi - Ioannina - Kipi

Today we decide to have a lazy day.
We get up even after the sun, enjoy breakfast followed by reading, fixing electronics, working on the PC.
Around 1 PM we finally start looking for a new place to stay overnight.

We are astonished to see that the river we had our bath in yesterday is now completely dry.
Even our small pool is gone.

We want to test some small tracks we found on the map yesterday and drive towards Kipi.
There after a turnoff we find a good spot for camping, a bit secluded and near a small fountain house.
We mark it "Kipi II" on the GPS and continue driving.

At the next turnoff we get some action due to a mud-hole.
Yeah - finally the cars look like real off-roaders.
Peter slithers crisscross!

Afterwards the track leads through bushes over a meadow to a creek.
Crossing without our bridge-elements or without filling the deep holes in the middle of the stream is not possible.
For reasons of time we decide to explore this track at a later time.

We have seen enough for today and return to the main road, not missing any puddle or mud hole.
Peter does better this time.

Then we set out to Ioannina, where Ruedi intends to buy a new battery, since without it, the fridge is out of order.
Surprisingly we find a matching battery, but no open restaurant for diner (at 6 PM).
We buy some vegetable and fruits on the roadside, in case we don't find a restaurant, and drive back to Kipi.

On our way we stop at the "pancake-rocks" near Kipi.
Heidi and Peter again have to climb the outermost part of the rocks.
We dread to watch them, because the gorge is rather deep.

Write after we take a bath under the bridge with 3 bows near Kipi, before we go for diner in the restaurant in the village.
The grilled cheese is splendid!
It is the best we find during the whole journey.

In the dark we easily find the previously GPS-programmed spot "Kipi II" where we soon go to bed.

June 5, 2003

Kipi - Vikos-Gorge- Kipi

Getting up at 7 AM isn't a pleasant task as it is dank and cold.
We move the table to the sun and have an extensive breakfast.
We have to gather a lot of energy for our trip through the Vikos-Gorge.
Then we bundle our back-packs and off we go!

We decide to start our hiking-tour at the camp "Kipi I".
It will be a one-way hike so Ruedi und Peter bring the Toyota to the end point and return in the Defender to the starting point.

Ruedi and Peter leave around 10 AM towards Vikos.
Heidi und Susi have plenty of time to study the maps, collect wild peppermint and to construct their ingenious "peppermint-tea-leave-drying-unit".

Since both 1:50'000 scale maps are in the ladies' backpacks, the men have to use the larger scaled 1:200'000 maps.
They drive a small gravel-road through Elafotopos and promptly get lost.
Shortly before 11 AM they park the Toyota in Vikos, inform the wives about their delay and return back in the Landy.
Connectivity with mobile-phones is fantastic in the whole northern part of Greece, even out bush.

Around noon we start our walking tour in Kokoros.
The first 1.5 km up to the bridge below Vitsa are on a nice hiking trail, mainly in the shade.

Then the track continues in the river bed, deeper and deeper into the gorge.
The rock walls rise higher and higher.
After about 2 hours at the top of the gorge we see the small building of the Vikos-Gorge lookout.

The rocks get increasingly larger.
It looks more and more like rock climbing than hiking.
The rock formations are gorgeous.
Over and over again we are amazed about the freaks of nature.

One hour later we find a water hole where we plan to have lunch.
Tadpoles, frogs and even snakes cannot disturb Ruedi, he wants a bath first.
The water is however classified as slightly cold.

From now on we can walk on a track along the river bed and come past a magically bedazzled moss garden.
Beside interesting flowers we also find a spurge hawk caterpillar (Hyles euphorbiae).

We follow a good hiking trail along the river for about 5 km followed by a steep ascent to Vikos.
After we already received a few rain splashes in the gorge we got into heavy rain during the ascent.
Quite wet we squeeze ourselves into the Toyota, drive to Ruedi's Landy and return again to the camp at "Kipi II".
Thanks to the solar shower we enjoy a warm shower.

Shortly after a "red-pasta-dinner" we fall asleep.

June 6, 2003

Kipi - Monodendron - Kalpaki - Aristi

Today again we only get up long after the sun has risen, as we have a clothesline full of wet gear which has to get dry first.
After breakfast and lots of housekeeping we leave shortly before noon for the "Kipi-loop", the small white road we already inspected two days ago.

The first mud hole is managed gloriously today.

At the stream we begin throwing stones into the deep so we do not get stuck when crossing.

We manage the firs creek without any problems.

There's much more to be done at the next ford. it is muddy all around.
After Ruedi disengages the hand break it works significantly better ....

Nevertheless, he only manages this part after several tries and we place several rocks under the wheels.
Here the 3.5 tons of the car come into play.
The meadow doesn't look too pretty afterwards .....

Peter manages the part easily with enough momentum (and less weight of course).
The track continues through forests and headland.
Nature is beautiful out here.

Before crossing the next creek, we have to wait until a little water snake hops off.

With our map we find the way to the well-spring.
The stone layers can be seen again very nicely.
We fill our solar showers and almost also fill a little fire salamander into the shower!

There are a few more "patina" generating parts on today's journey ....

After today's adventure we drive on to Monodendron, where we eat a good Moussaka at a restaurant.
Then we proceed to the lookout point above the Vikos-Gorge.
Looking down a few hundred meters without any barrier or handrail makes us very dizzy.
Directly below us we see the pool where we took our bath yesterday.

On the way back we stop at the nice "sandwich rocks".

It is sad to see that the Greeks spread their rubbish everywhere.
If you are not careful enough when taking pictures, you'll see it on every photo.
it is such a pity!

We also see a display panel listing all the stone bridges and animals (incl. bears) of the area.
One should have much more time to explore all these nice things.

As it is already late when we continue travelling and take the main road to Kalpaki.
On our way north we soon branch off to the right taking a small road towards the pass to Aristi.
About one kilometre below the pass we find a nice meadow where some kind of a "big mammal" has taken a cow apart (the bones still lie around).
A superb view is our entertainment during diner.

June 7, 2003

Aristi - Konitsa - Armata - Dhistrato

The sun starts shining at around 7:30 and it gets warm soon.

Today our photographers find, beside the ordinary flowers, a reptile.
Unfortunately the green lizard does not want to have his picture taken and disappears into the bushes where it can't be spotted so easily.

We continue our way through Aristi and visit the bridge at the end of the Vikos-Gorge.
It is very touristy with pick-nick places, campers and bridge lighting.
Since about everything is forbidden there and the water is too cold for a swim we soon continue towards Konitsa.
There we can top-up fuel.
Even though we don't find a food-store we continue travelling east.

In Armata we find a saw mill, built completely out of wood and renovated with EU-money.
We would have loved to see the saw mill in action.
Later we find out the reason for the big basin at the lower end of the water-tube:
the water whirls around in the bowl and is used to wash carpets.

The lizards lie in the midday sun and don't take notice of us tourists.
How right they are.

We continue on a gravel road until Dhistrato.
From the other side of the valley we try to figure out where our next track starts.
The opinions differ a lot.

We decide to follow Peter's idea, branch out into a small "yellow road" at the last switchback of the village.
A woman in her vegetable garden doesn't look at all surprised, so we assume that we are on the correct track.

Soon we find ourselves in the middle of a dense forest.
The view is breathtaking.

Already after a few kilometres we find a beautiful small alp where we discover an ideally flat spot for our camp: for once we call it a day early at around 5 PM.

On the mountains on the other side of the valley some snow residues can be seen.
Accordingly it gets cold right after sun sets.

June 8, 2003

Dhistrato - Confluence 40°N/21°E - Vovousa

Wake-up call at 6.30: a few locals dispose of a car in the forest and continue their way with a second car.
We get up at around 7 as we have a long day ahead of us.
Due to the many flies and mozzies we have breakfast under the mosquito tent again.

We take off with the goal for today to reach confluence 40°N/21°E.
We want to participate in the "Degree Confluence"-game where the goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location.
The pictures and stories will then be posted on the web.
Confluence 40°N/21°E ( ) had not been done so far (it was finally reached 2004 by Bulgarians).

After the first few bends we aim at our target using compass and GPS.
It is situated in the steeps at the opposite side of the valley.
In between, 400 m below, is a river.
As the bush on our side of the valley is too impenetrable we decide to drive down to the river and to try it from there.

The track is getting smaller and smaller and soon we have to clear the first rocks away.
There are increasingly more rocks on the track so we have to clean the way about every 200 m.
Various creatures live under the rocks, so one has to take care.

In some parts it gets so tight that we have to start using Ruedi's "big-boy-toys" again ....

About 4 km before the road ends at the river a rock slide has covered so much of the road that it would have been too risky to continue with our heavy cars.
So we turn the cars, eat lunch and continue by foot.
After about 2 km we can look down to the river.
The valley is very narrow near the river bed and the river carries a lot of water.
In addition the coordinate is about 150 m above the river on a steep dirt-slope.
It is out of reach for us with the gear we have.
Disappointed we stop the adventure and turn back to the cars.

A big animal left his marks in the damp ground.
We decide that it belongs to a bear and move a bit faster and speak a bit louder ......

After a short briefing in the shade we continue our journey to Vovousa.

Again, the road partially blocked and we have to clear a 300 kg rock.
First try is with the tow rope but does not work.

Finally, Ruedi may also use his chain and recovery straps (even more toys for the big boys ....).

More interesting parts follow.
We really enjoy it.

Already before Vovousa in a bend we find a nice campsite where we enjoy a warm shower and diner.

Because of the "big mammals" (called bears) the rubbish is hoisted onto a tree.
From now on we perform the Greek-style "flag-raising" ceremony every evening .....

June 9, 2003

Vovousa - Road-building - Pindos national-park - Kalambaka

At 6 o'clock it starts raining slightly and we discuss if we should be leaving.
Luckily for Peter the rain stops before we get to a conclusion and we all go back to sleep again.

We crawl out of bet around 8, do all the regular things and leave around 10.
Just before leaving Susi manages to get a splinter into her tow which must be removed first, so Heidi and Peter leave beforehand to clear the first rocks out of the way ....

... but they don't get far - just around the corner (about 300 m).
There, part of the slope has slid down and blocked the road with a heap of earth (about 10 m long and 1.5 m high) and the rootstock of a 20 m long pine tree.

After a short briefing we all agree that clearing the road would be easier than travelling back for 2 days, since there is no deviation what so ever shown on our maps.

After 2.5 hours of hard work we are ready.
Ruedi gives it the first try on our "road".
But the ground is too deep and soft.
He has to back out again.
We improve our work by adding rocks to harden the road bed and Ruedi tries again with more speed and power.
At the very top unfortunately the road is still too soft and not wide enough so our Defender slides into the rhizome resulting in a bent and scratched right fender at the back.
Well, that's part of the game ....

We improve our work further.
Doing so we find a fire salamander.
We are surprised that he survived the pressure of the Defender.

Now it is Peter's turn.
He does it with much more pace.
But even with Ruedi guiding him through he slides also unto the trunk and partially rips off his right back-fender.

After 15 minutes we cut enough wood from the stump that Peter can continue without increasing the damage.
Peter's tow-bar once more digs in and must be cleared.

We only got slight damaged fenders which are easily to be temporarily repaired.
And off we go again!

After 3 more cross-ways we notice that we cannot be where we think we are.
Even with GPS and the best maps available sometimes it is very hard to find the way, because GPS reception is very poor in the forest.
In addition the maps are most of the time off scale by up to a few hundred meters (but unfortunately not always in the same direction) even if they are correctly geo-referenced.

After our hard-earned lunch we return back to a cross-ways where we see some car-tracks and soon after we are on a wide road without rocks and other obstacles.

We follow the road through the Pindos national-park.
The park is very nice, but camping is not allowed.
The valley is quit narrow so we don't find any suitable place for a camp.
In addition the water changes and it gets quite cold.
Susi proposes to drive back to Kalambaka, to the camping near the Meteora monasteries.
We do promptly do so.

Close to 7 PM we are again at the Vrachos camping, find some adjoining sites in the shade, amidst a group of Dutch.
We start washing our clothes, take a long shower with a lots of hot water and go out for a roasted Souvlaki-spit.
At 11 PM we lie in our sleeping bags and wait for the Dutch to be quiet.

June 10, 2003


Noise starts at 8, when the Dutch start departing.
Oh how quiet and peaceful is it out in the nature!!
Heidi und Susi do the washing and the housekeeping, Peter and Ruedi check the cars do some repairs.

We take a swim in the pool, pick cherries from the tree above the roof-tent and work on our PC's.

After a lazy day we dine out in the village (grilled cheese and Moussaka).
The daily "picture-shows" on our PC's end the day at 10 PM.
Tonight there are less people in the camp and besides some barking dogs it is quiet.

June 11, 2003

Kalambaka - Meteora Monasteries - Larisa - Spilea

After breakfast we first have to start Peter's car with our jumper leads.
His fridge used up more power during yesterday's hot day as the 55 Wh solar-panel was able to reload within 10 hours. We return to Kalambaka for shopping and around 12 are ready for more to come.

We drive to the Meteora Monasteries.
The Rocks remind us quite a bit of the Olgas in the Red Centre in Australia.

In the rock-crevices are hermitages and on top of the rocks dizzily high up are the monasteries.
One of the monasteries is very popular and well known from a James Bond movie.
Nowadays also the monasteries are connected to the sewerage.
In the early days everything was simply poured down the rock.

It is brutally hot between the rocks today; about 32 degree.
The sun burns down from the blue sky.
In addition there are many tourist coaches which stress us.

Due to this we refrain from visiting a monastery.
We prefer to climb more or less successfully in the rocks and enjoy the views.

Shortly after we leave towards Ioannina.
Susi wants to take a picture of the rocks from the western side.
Since the light is not as good as expected, we buy some fruits on a wayside shop so the trip was at least not fully useless.

Subsequently we drive towards Larisa northwards into the mountains where after Spilea we pitch our mozzie-tent to eat our dinner in peace and quiet.
We have Birchermuesli with our self-picked wild strawberries.
Afterward Ruedi geo-references the maps of Pillion and Peter writes the journal and shows us the "Tagesschau".

For the first time we see glow-worms by the dozen.
We nearly can't stop watching them.

June 12, 2003

Spilea - Mt. Ossa - Anatoli - Aghia

Today we climb the Mt. Ossa - by car.
Even though we only have a very not very detailed map, we surprisingly find the small track.

The drive takes us on a rutty way past flowering slops.
The photographers are again very busy.

On top of the mountain there is a completely demolished telecommunication base.

In one of the rooms we find a lonely calf and later on its mother outside of the building.
Both seem to live here completely alone, nobody is to be see anywhere.
The view is superb, even though it is a bit hazy.

It is almost unbelievable to see snow over here, right beside of the spring-flowers after having had over 30 degree yesterday down in the valley.

The flowers are unparalleled, so we have to stop for many photo sessions on our way back.

During lunch beside one of the many pools we enjoy the alpine flowers once more.

After the "descend" the journey continues through small and smallest villages.
Partially the roads are so steep that we are more sliding than driving.
It is nearly impossible to stop.

We easily find the road to Anatoli.
It is very hot and we are craving for a swim.
So we take the direct road down to the valley where we directly drive through Aghia to the shore.
The first beach is are already populated by several campers.
We don't care - all we now want is a swim.

While preparing diner we get a visit of the local police which writes down our registration plate.
They explain: "No Camping, cuccina mangare OK".

So we leave after diner, take the first steep road up-hill at Polidendri.
After 1 kilometre it branches of to an unused road to the left.
Even though it is heavily overgrown we follow it for about 400 m.
At first Peter cuts a few small branches to prevent his car getting scratched, but he gives up very soon.
In a narrow bend we pitch our tents.
After another beer and some cookies we go to bed.
2 birds sing lovely tunes throughout the whole night just a few feet away from us.
Nature again - beautiful nature.



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Last updated: Friday, 21.08.2020 10:40 AM

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