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Greece 2003

Aghia - Igoumenitsa

Leg details

June 13 - June 27, 2003
Aghia - Kamari - Kanali - "Transamazonica" - Ovrios ("Little Paradise") - Zagora - South cost - Volos - Makrichori - Olymp - Prioni - Olymp - Petra - Olymp - Kokkinoplos - Livadi - Elassona - Trikala - Elassona - Deskati - Kalambaka - Ambelia - Panaghias Chrisinou monastery - Klinos - Krania - Paleochori - Glikomilia - Stournareika - Vlacha - Geladaria - Stournareika - Vathirevma - Polineri - Mirofilo - Paleochori - Ambelia - Hiking tour- Vourgareli - Theodoriana - Paleochori - Anthousa - Matsouki - Christi - Katarapass - Metsovo - lake Aoos - Igoumenitsa - Ferry to Italy - Ancona - Switzerland

Leg map (klick on map to enlarge map)

June 13, 2003

Aghia - Kamari - Kanali - "Transamazonica" - Ovrios ("Little Paradise")

Today we get up early taking advantage of the cool morning.
It's 7 AM and already 24 °C warm.

We pack up quickly as we intend to go to the beach at the ocean.
Unfortunately, we don't find the correct way and continue driving south.
Goal is now to reach Kanali via Kamari.
We get quite heavily lost and finally rest at a chapel for breakfast.

Shortly after we stay at the village square of Sklithro und ask the residents for the way to Kanali.
Even if we don't understand them, we understand that we have to return and follow the main road.
The road gets bigger after each intersection until we reach the main road to Kalamaki.
We follow the road over a ridge (nearly 1000m altitude) into the main valley, to Kanali and over the next hill to the sea.

The way to the beach is quite narrow and reminds us more of a "Transamazonica" than to Greece.
The forest is so dense it is more of a jungle.
Lianas grow and it has a lot of waterholes and soft patches on the track.
We imagine, it could be tough to pass this track during the wet season.

In middle of the jungle we find a meadow big enough for a whole "Krauer group" to camp.
(For the "unaware readers": Martin Krauer was our tour-guide on the Tunisia trip; See more under Journeys --> Tunisia).

Finding the way isn't easy at all. Despite GPS and 1:50'000 maps we select twice the wrong way.
Even the map is of good quality it deviates up to 400 m against GPS, which makes navigation a game of luck and trial on error.

High above the sea we espy a beach at the blue water.
That's exactly where we want to go!
But there's still a long way to go (doesn't look like on the pictures) and we indeed manage to take the wrong way a few more times .
Around 4 PM we finally arrive at Ovrios beach.

A small stream flows through the romantic bay into the sea.
We call it "Little Paradise", which best describes what it really is ...

First of all, we all have a swim.
The water is enjoyably warm, so even Susi stays in it voluntarily for quite a while!

A local resident shows up, surprised to see us here and asks how we managed to find this place.
He says, that it is even for the locals it is very difficult to reach this marvellous place the way we came.
We are a fair bit proud ....

He also tells us that there will be a long weekend ahead in Greece starting tomorrow and that this lovely place will be hopefully crowded over the next 3 days.
So we decide to leave tomorrow again.
What a bummer!

After dinner and the usual dish washing procedure there is once more time for a swim.
Eating half of a water melon then tops up our water balance.

In spite of the remoteness of the place 2 Cross-Bikes and a Mazda-UTE pass by and follow the way we came from.

It's getting dark and a beautiful full moon illuminates our little paradise.

June 14, 2003

Ovrios - Zagora - South coast

The sun forces us to leave our tents already before 8 AM.
Breakfast is taken under a tree as it is already too hot in the mozzy tent.

After 10 we are ready to go.
Courageous Peter drives over the sand to the other side of the beach.
Beside of one soft spot it turns out to be easy.
Susi chooses the way through the stream but lacks of momentum in the steep sandy part right after.
But she also manages the challenge.

On the other side of the bay we encounter that the road is paved nearly down to the beach.
No wonder everybody and his dog is coming here for the long weekend!

We continue further on a gravel road to Zagora, where we go shopping for the long weekend, drink a Coffee-Frapée, send SMS's and do our regular phone calls.

On route we find this interesting display of fruit- and vegetable-preserves.

Around noon we start heading south.

Arriving at the South coast region Ruedi wants to look for a good camp already at the first beaches.
After an odyssey through the local olive groves we find the first beach, which is in fact not a beach but a steep coast.
The camp site at the second beach doesn't look all to promising.
A lot of fishing boats and nearly no room for camping.

We drive around the South strip and right at the first possibility to the beach

After jolting a few meters over the beach, we find a marvellous small meadow right at the ocean.
We decide to camp for the weekend.

Before we can go for a swim the first group of Greeks arrive and settle down just a few meters away from us.
By and by cars arrive at the beach near us and as well as 2 other groups settling behind us.
Soon we camp as close as on a camping site.

And our neighbour's wife is constantly nagging her son .....

The sunset is beautiful, but unfortunately heavily disturbed by the neighbour's nagging monster.

The neighbours keep us awake with their chatter and music but finally quieten down just before 11 PM .....

June 15, 2003

South coast

At 6 AM action starts beside us as the men leave in a boat.
We stay in bed since we have nothing planned for the day.
We get up at 8 for a comfy breakfast.

The nagging woman next "door" again constantly bitches at her child.
So we decide to leave for a more peaceful place.

There are lot of beaches like "ours" but either they are not accessible or already crowded .... as to be expected on a long weekend when the weather is beautiful.

We decide to drive to the end of the road shown in the map and then to determine if we go for a beach at this coast or if we leave for some other place maybe inland.
The marked end of the road on the map emerges to be the real end of the road and we have to turn around.

Shortly before the end of the road we find quite a big beach with only 3 cars.
We drive through their camp and settle down in the far rear part of the beach.

For the rest of the day we do nothing else than sweating.
It is so hot, we do not even have lunch.

But it is wonderful: no jangling, nagging, snubbing creature around - so peaceful!

The photographers go deer-stalking.
Peter finds a praying mantis.

When it finally cools down a bit, we start eating dinner.
At 7 PM dish washing has also already been done.
Heidi and Peter need another swim and shower after playing badminton.

At a short briefing we determine it to be too hot for us at the coast.
Tomorrow we will leave for the Mt. Olymp further north.

June 16, 2003

South coast - Volos - Makrichori - Mt. Olymp

Shortly before 8 AM we get up and pack our car as far as possible as long as they still stay in the shade.
Eating breakfast and packing the rest has to be done after the sun is up.
We sweat accordingly.

Around 10 we cross the Greek neighbour's camp again back onto the road continue our journey.

On our way north we pass the adventurous truck of a local chicken deliverer.

We choose the fastest way through Volos und on the motorway.
Near the exit Makrichori we have a Coffee-Frapée break in the shade of old massive trees at 34 degree.

We decide to stay on the motorway until close to the Mt. Olymp where we intend to sleep at our "bear place".
On our first trip to Greece we were visited at this place during the night by a fully grown brown bear ... wasn't all to pleasant ...
Unfortunately the track is too heavily washed out and we would have had to repair the track for at least one hour.
We were not in favour for this kind of fun today.

So we drive to another place nearby that we also already know from our previous visit two years ago.
There we enjoy ether a shower (warm) or a bath in the stream (cold).
We pack up our backpacks for tomorrows hiking tour at the Mt. Olymp just before a thunderstorm forces us into our cars.

At 20:30 Ruedi still fails to find the GPS tracks, is frustrated and shuts down his PC.
Finally the rest of the group is "allowed" to go to the restaurant in the near village.
There nobody speaks any English, German, French, Spanish, Italian .... so we are invited to the kitchen to select our food from the grill.
Several things sizzle on the barbeque.
We order by" finger pointing".
The meal is very good even we don't really know what it all is.
Only Susi's meet can definitely be defined as "something that once had wings".

After 10 PM we stroll back, prepare for the night and go to sleep.

June 17, 2003

Prioni - Olymp - Petra - Olymp

Wake-up call is very early today (at least for Peter): We already climb out of our tents at 6:40.
Shortly before 9 we leave towards Pironi where we leave our cars at the end of the road.

We first hike a fair bit back on bitumen before branching into a walkway down to the monastery.

There are a huge number of monasteries all around Greece ..... in all possible conditions .....
Unfortunately we can't visit the ruin as it is being restored right now.

At the stream we enter the official and well known hiking trail which will finally bring us back to the cars.
A lot of people are brought by tour busses to the end of the road from where a path starts that normally is walked down to the next village.
We prefer hiking uphill against the crowd.

The trail is in good condition and often we have a nice view to the Olymp.

At a beautiful place at the stream we pause for lunch.
Peter holds his foot in the water and instantly gets a cramp in the cold water.

Nevertheless, Heidi and Ruedi have a short bath, Susi und Peter go on strike.
The water is too cold, coming directly from the top of the Olymp.

We continue our ascent enjoying the marvellous Alpine scenery.

After 2 PM we return to our last camp intending to take a bath there, but the camp is full of Gypsies.
So we directly continue towards Petra.

We want to follow a small track marked with green line (scenic road) on the map.
Without problem we even find its starting point!

We follow the track to an intersection with is marked with its GPS coordinate on the map.
Our GPS shows remarkable different coordinates than the map.
It makes us a bit insecure, as the map is usually "only" inaccurate by max. 500m.
Later we see a note on the map telling that the positions are partially intentionally wrong for copyright reasons.
Could really be true as other GPS coordinates on the map proofed to be very precise.

We now follow the road with the green line on the map.
Unfortunately there is no view down into the valley.
The trees are too high and too close to the road.
Often we have to drive very slowly because we are touching the branches.

At the highest point at the turning point of the road in the valley we look for today's camp.
We don't find anything nice or romantic until we drive a fair bit back, where we park at the roadside having a nice free view to the peaks of the Olymp.
Not a single car will drive by during our stay.

Soon after sundown it gets uncomfortably cold and we reach for our sleeping bags.
Two days ago we were lying at the beach with 34 °C!

June 18, 2003

Kokkinoplos - Livadi - Elassona - Trikala - Elassona - Deskati - Kalambaka

Even though Susi had the intention of a sleep in, Ruedi already gets up a 7:30 and at 8 he decides, also the other members of the crew will have had enough sleep by now!
So we pack up and at 10 we are already on the road again.

We add a small loop on a little track before arriving in Kokkinoplos.
Right before the village we take a small road to the west: A beautiful Alpine track.

We find a bank full of forest-strawberries.
We collect a lot of them for a long awaited "Birchermuesli".
Unfortunately the berries end as mush in Heidi's fridge, so a small desert is all we get :-((

Before Livadi the sky looks not only cloudy but very dark grey.
We decide to directly approach the already known camp at Meteora where we will have to wash our clothes once again.

We already know Livadi from our first journey where we got heavily lost.
This time we are prepared and very cautious.
We proudly find the right way through Livadi, find the right exit and also the correct first branch after Livadi.
In the lowlands after Livadi faith caches up with us and sends us crisscross through the countryside until we find back to the paved road that we had been looking for.
We choose the south-route via Elassona and Trikala.
In Elassona we somehow end up on the yellow road which we then follow to Deskati.

Nevertheless we already arrive around 7 PM at the camping ground in Kalambaka near the Meteora monasteries.
While connecting the power cable Ruedi looks for the 230 V~ plug converter but doesn't find it.
Susi then finds it in the same plug we left it the last time we were on that camp.
Amazingly nobody has taken the adapter.

We enjoy the warm shower and afterwards stroll through the village for dinner.
Again we order backed cheese, but it isn't as good as the one we had in Kipi.

June 19, 2003

Kalambaka - Ambelia - Monastery Panaghias Chrisinou

Today we take it easy.
The trees on the campsite give some good shade, so it doesn't get hot in the tent.
After an ample breakfast Ruedi has to geo-reference the South-Pindows maps and Peter has to import them to his GPS-Connected PDA.
The women do the washing.

All of a sudden, we see a strange animal walking over the floor.
It looks like a huge grasshopper.
Its length is about 7 cm (no kidding!).

Due to our cosiness we nearly forget to checkout of the campsite before noon.
We easily manage shopping before 1 PM and also buy some nice fruits on the way before heading south on a large dirt track.

After several tries, we find the right way through the river and also the continuation of the dirt track.
We don't find the turnoff to the small track we are looking for.
All we find is a dry river bed which is not navigable.

So, we take the lager road to Ambelia and there the small dirt track up the hill.
The track is small, gets narrower and narrower and sloping towards verge.
It is quit challenging for the drivers as the cars occasionally slip.

On top of these challenges a thunderstorm is approaching.
We try to leave the steep tracks as fast as possible and to get back to the wider dirt road which would bring us back to Ambelia.

The rains starts shortly before we are back on the wider track.
That one is also already slippery but it has a shoulder and is not sloping.
As the rain carries on and gets even heavier, driving is getting uncomfortable and dangerous.
Down in the valley the rain looks to be even more intense.

We decide to stay overnight half way down just beside the lost Monastery Panaghias Chrisinou and park on the forecourt.

Camping on a former church square might not be a bright idea since the church looks to be still occasionally in use.
We park nearby on a flat area and install our tarps and tents.

The rain stops around 5 PM and we finally eat some lunch.
Shortly after at 7 PM we are fed again.
Dessert: Kaiserschmarrn with vanilla creme.
For the layman: Kaiserschmarrn is an Austrian speciality: cut-up pancake with raisins, covered with icing sugar.

On the spot where we are staying it has a lot of grasshoppers.
Somehow, they believe it is flooding and flee in their thousands to tall plants and up the church wall.

The fog over the valley looks fantastic.

The evening allows once more astonishing pictures to be taken.

Since it is very clammy, we find ourselves in the sleeping bags soon after.


June 20.2003

Monastery Panaghias Chrisinou - Klinos - Krania - Paleochori - Glikomilia

Today Susi is at fault: She wakes us up at 6.50 thinking it is 7:30 o'clock.
Peter nearly couldn't cope with it ....

After breakfast we are already at 9:30 on our way.
No wonder after such unforgivable misbehaving!
Since we don't find the first branch-off to Klinos we take the next road further down.

After Klinos the road rises again until we drive mainly in the fog.
The few sights we get in between the waft of mist look very promising.

After a small part of paved road we continue again on a small track (one with the green stripe on the map).
This is indeed today's challenge as the track had been used by big trucks to drag timber.
Partially the grooves are too deep and we cannot drive in the lane but on the tracks shoulder.

Halfway we meet the grader fixing the road.
What a bummer!
The track is now less bumpy, but the holes in it still quite deep.

In Krania we change to another small track towards Paleochori.
Also there we get into the fog.

We stop at a known well but we only find a plastic tube with a small trickle.
It seems to be it, but is not feasible to fill up the water tanks.

But here we see interesting two layered rocks.
Look as if the upper part once flowed over the lower layer.

After Paleochori a paved road brings us down to the valley, where we want to look for a campsite beside the river

On route (shortly before 2 PM) Heidi, Susi and Peter express their which to eat lunch.
Ruedi believes there would be good places at the river bank.
First we meet a funeral right beside the church on the one lane track.
We have to wait until the people all pass.
Then we look for the way to Monastery Taxiarchon.
Close to the monastery we agree that the dirt track would be too steep to drive back, should rain fall.
We go back.
So we start looking for our camping spot on the river further down.
Ruedi insists, that eating lunch now is no good practice since we will find our bivouac within a few minutes.
The track along the river is crossed by many small creeks which is a problem for Peters tow-bar as he touches ground on about every crossing.
To that effect we move on very slow.

Exactly 20 Minutes past 3 PM the crew mutinies: We want lunch now!

300 m after the place we eat lunch we find a nice campsite under the trees directly beside the river :-)).
Unfortunately the riverbed is dry on this side.
Only a small rivulet flows here.

We setup camp and Heidi and Peter start reading books.

Since the water is not flowing right beside of our camp, we start redirecting the river, so we get the right sound during the night.
One our late also Heidi and Peter join to help.
2 hours later work is completed and the water dabbles nicely before the "house".

Next is taking a shower and preparing dinner.
Some sheep herds are passing by.

Later on, the idyll gets slightly embittered as a heavy garbage-truck bails its full load onto a sandbank in the middle of the river.
The motto is: "The next flood will wash the rubbish and our problems away....."
Amazing in these days!
A few days ago, we saw a lot of people taking a bath further down the river.

After the daily photo-show we tiredly fall into our sleeping bags.

June 21. 2003

Glikomilia - Stournareika - Vlacha - Geladaria - Stournareika - Vathirevma

Wake-up call today is only at 9AM.
The sky is still clouded and there is no sight in the mountains.
This means extended breakfast.
Towards 10:30 AM the weather gets better and we start packing up.

Before noon we start our journey towards Stournareika. This time Peter does better and doesn't constantly smashes his tow-bar into the track so we can carry on much faster.
What all a lunch can do ;-)
In Glikomilia we once more are looking for a signpost but with some luck we find the right track directing south also without it.
Navigation in Greece is difficult.
The correctness and availability of signposts on 2. and 3. class roads is horrible even with the correct maps and GPS available, since also the maps are very inaccurate and sometimes wrong by several 100 meters.

The valley is very green with very dense forests.
A shepherd drives in front of us in his old HiLux until he finds his animals.

The dirt track continuously worsens as we drive further into the valley.
The track also gets wet and soft, but it stays drivable.
Shortly before the pass we meet a timber truck dragging tree trunks along the track.
Doesn't make the track any better ...

After a short break on the pass we continue to the sealed road near the ski-lift.

But already after a few km we branch off again to the dirt track towards Vlacha, a road very seldom used.
The road has many deep mud holes, the cars look great again!
We continue further on heading south-west.
Near Geladaria we find a signpost for Stournareika, but we take a smaller and less used track.

Navigation is again very demanding.
We partially drive on roads with no signs or of not much help which makes it difficult to decide which way to go on at intersections.

About 2 km before the pass a tree is blocking the track (Ruedi: A small tree this time!).
We decide to cut it instead of dragging it away.

Then the track becomes even smaller and steeper.
About 500 m before the pass the track goes straight up the hill and has a lot of wash-outs.
After prior inspection we decide to continue and it works out to be easier than expected.
One has to keep in mind that our cars are heavy loaded up to the rim which makes it much more difficult to cope with the terrain and there is an eminent chance of breaking a drive shaft.

On the other side a nice valley perfectly illuminated by the sun

We continue west over the pass and down into the valley. It is very narrow and we don't find no spot for camping.

The cows make themselves comfortable on the road and don't move. we have to drive around them.
Also the farmers still do a lot of things without machines.

After an hour we find a flat square below the main-road before Vathirevma.
Not very quiet bit it will do.

It has a lot of gorgeous spurge-caterpillars (or however they are called in English).


June 22. 2003

Vathirevma - Polineri - Mirofilo - Paleochori - Ambelia

As Heidi is already hunting around at 7:30 we go up with cold 12°C.
Sky is fully blue.

Before departure our dirty exhaust has to be documented first. The dirt is rock solid.

We leave around 10 AM direction west, buy fruits and vegetables on a mobile sales stand in Vathirevma and take the pass direction south to Polineri. The dirt track is well maintained and we get along efficiently.

We corner through the hills and see a river below in one of the valleys.
That's where we want to go!

Around noon we are in Mirofilo and decide to eat some fruits and to take a bath.

The water temperature is about 19° C. Susi only takes a small dip. It's too cold.
It's also quite shallow. Peter, Heidi and Ruedi let themselves drift for approx. 50 m but that's all of the glory.

After 1 PM we continue on paved road heading Paleochori. At Ambelia we top-up fuel, buy milk, yogurt and ice-cream.
Then it rises uphill, beginning on paved roads and later on, on dirt tracks.

After 2 km a huge tree is blocking the road.
Ruedi would like to push it off the road.
Since the hill is quite steep and the tree, even if broken into 3 parts, very heavy, the rest of the crew believes it to be too dangerous.
Ruedi once more cannot play around with his toys and is slightly pissed-off .....
We decide to go back and take another road with the same destination.

At 6 PM we are at an altitude of 1800 m.

There we find a gorgeous flower meadow, where we place our cars.
Shortly after we eat dinner.
Since the sundown is already after 7 PM, the sun will shine into our tents shortly after 6 AM next morning ....

June 23. 2003

Ambelia - Hiking - Vourgareli - Theororiana - Theodoriana

Sunrise is as expected right after 6 AM and it starts warming up our bones.
We still stay in bed. 6 o'clock is too early to go up!

The heat of the sun forces us out of bet after a short while.
There is ample breakfast as we want to hike up to the top of the near hill.

9 AM we move on, uphill as far as we can drive.
A first small rock we are able to pull away.

Further up is soon the very end of any driving: There are too many, too big rocks blocking the track.
We put on our hiking boots and off we go to the top.

After 500 m we reach the end of the road, so we would not have driven much further anyway.
We walk through gorgeous flower meadows.
The photographers could stay here for ever and a day ....

We find some peculiar rocks having spherical inclusions.

Having such nice weather and such a good sight one is clear: We have to go to the top.
We ascend slowly and enjoy the superb views.

Even though we walk on the ridge, there are still rocks lying around as in a scree.

The top on 2290 m still doesn't offer a full 360° view, but at least 300° are visible and the outlook is gorgeous and worth any drop of sweat.

We enjoy the well-deserved rabbits and cakes on the mountain top.
Unfortunately we cannot stay for long as a thunderstorm is approaching and the way downhill will be partially steep and slippery when wet.

After our descent we return to last night's campsite and wash ourselves with the freezing-cold spring-water.

We curve downhill and take lunch near a mobile-antenna.
Since the fallen tree is still blocking the road (and Ruedi still not allowed to remove the obstacle) we take again the deviation thru Vourgareli, where we go shopping again at the local gas-station.

We would like to drive northwest via Theororiana over a pass.
The mountains here are quite high and impressive.
More and more clouds appear and it is rather cool.

Half way up to the pass a local lets his daughter ask us in English where we intend to go.
After our explanation, he informs us that the narrow road over the pass is still closed for another month.
On the picture above one can see where the road would go .... it's a pity!

So we decide to look for a camping spot further down in the valley after Theodoriana.
A gravel-pit is not very inviting.
But a provisional track used to build a new road, just beside the river, is more to our liking.
Only later we notice that the dump of the nearby village is just opposite the river.
Again, they dump all the rubbish into the river and the whole slope is full of coloured plastic bags.
We don't understand it at all!!
As it doesn't smell from the dump, we don't really care.
But the evening bath in the river is cancelled und we wash ourselves using the bush-shower.

Our lovely wives make pancake and maple-sirup for dinner and shortly after we are in the lala-land.

June 24 2003

Theodoriana - Paleochori - Anthousa - Matsouki - Christi

Next morning life starts very early at the building site mand catapults us out of the snuggly sleeping bags
After breakfast we start at 10 AM northwards.

We stash water on one of the many wells they have all around Greece.
The Greek government's intention is to catch all the water from all the fountains and to make it accessible to the public. The country has lots of water at least in the northern part.

This church has a very special bell tower indeed.
Look like they run out of money before completion ....

We also pass this tidal barrier.
It was completed 1995 but never used afterwards.
The locals have been resettled further up the hill when they started building the dam, but now they start returning down into the valley again.

It's getting constantly hotter.
At the bridge to Paleochori, which is currently inhabited by cattle, we branch off and go down to the river.

A bath in the river is the go now!
It's the same river we already took a bath on the 22. of June.
Up here the water is a few degrees colder than a few days ago further down.

Susi hops into the water only for a picture.
(Right after we find her in the warmest jacket she could find ...).

Soon after we drive uphill.
Behind every pass there is a next chain of mountains ahead of us ....

Around noon we reach a pass where the road is strewn by crickets.
Peter first tries to drive around them but failed.
Nature is brutal.
Crickets eat their injured colleagues even before they are dead.

Before Anthousa we take a small track over the hill.
The landscape is very imposing, one drives one the ridge most of the time.

Later on, on the side of the alpine road on about 1800 m, we eat lunch:
Birchermüesli with a lot of self-picked strawberries.

We take the road via Matsouki, and hope to find a camping spot on about 1400 m but on this altitude, it has a lot of cattle and herdsmen, so we descend down to the valley.

We pass a monastery that is actually built into the mountain.

Around Christi it is very hot and Heidi starts suffering again.
We looking for a camp, but have to go a few villages further.

Luckily, we find a road that leads into the river bed where we find a spot for the night.
Even though it is already after 6 PM we have an extensive bath in the river.
Here two rivers merge.
The water in the one coming from the narrow valley is bitterly cold, the water from the one flowing over a flat plain for quite a while already is warm.
The water at the junction is shallow and one cannot swim.
We lay in the water and enjoy the spa.
Afterwards we have showers as we are well aware that further up the road all the rubbish is dumped into the river.

The day ends with dinner and with watching today's new pictures on the PC's.

June 25 2003

Christi - Katarapass - Metsovo - Aoos-Lake

As we parked in the shade we can sleep in until 8 AM without getting boiled.

After breakfast we drive in the river bed back to the bridge to get some action pictures.

We take another bath before we leave.
Even though the water is not as warm as yesterday evening, we can still enjoy the spa.

Cooled down we head north after lunch.
One last view that shows our camp from way above the river.

The road is very narrow and has some nasty washouts.
As we are high up in the steep mountains it needs quite some courage to pass them.

The white road has a green line in the middle and is bumpy.
The views are stunning.

When we reach the pass around 2 PM to eat lunch, we can already see down the valley to Ioaninna.

Consulting the map, we see a large artificial lake at north om 1400 m altitude, west of the Katara Passes.
That's where we want to go.
We have read a magazine where they also camped at that lake.

We drive straight to Metsovo, go shopping and get an ice coffee.

After 5 PM we continue our journey.
We chose the northern route since the magazine describes it as being adventures ......
Now it is a 6 m wide gravel road and besides a few potholes in best condition.
At the dam of the artificial lake we find a nice rest area were we stay for the night.

After dinner we watch the clouds and the distant lightning before going to bed in Greece for the last time.

During the night we hear strange howling.
It seems to come from all over the valley.
We as well as Heidi are sure we heard wolfs, but Peter recons they are dogs, strange ones, but still dogs.
Ruedi is very excited and is nearly unable to sleep.
He constantly looks out of the tent and looks out for wolfs.
But even if they were wolfs we are too close to civilisation to be able to see them.
The animals would not walk just below the street light so that Ruedi can spot them .....
Also the occasional cars passing by does not help.

June 26 2003

Aoos-Lake - Igoumenitsa - Ferry to Italy

At 8AM we are already awake as we have to be at Igoumenitsa by late afternoon.

After breakfast and packing up, we say goodbye to the Greek hinterland.

We heading east.
At the westside of the lake there are divers in a dingy and lots of police.
Fortunately they cause no delay for us.

We reach the main road where we decide to see the Katara Pass before we continue towards Igoumenitsa.

Then we must drive towards Igoumenitsa, where we get cheap fuel for the last time.

Since we have some time left, we turn around and look for a nice beach we have seen on the map.
Ruedi reckons it is easier to find the beach by driving through a small village instead looking for it from the city side.
At first we hardly find the way through the village and afterwards it doesn't get any better in the flat agriculture area. According to GPS we have still 2 km to go.
The tracks get narrower and there are many closed gates on our way.
We give up.
Later on we read in a magazine, that we should have opened the gates to get access to the beach.

Instead we go now to the beach closest from town.
A flat sandy beach, the water warm as in the bath tub and lots of Greek people!
Never less we have a swim, also this experience must be made once.

After a final freshwater shower Heidi misses her glasses.
Unfortunately we don't find it anymore.
Ruedi helps out with one of his .... they fit quit well.

At the Superfast counter we get our boarding passes, head into town for shopping and an "afternoon tea", return to the harbor and queue up for boarding.
Relatively late we find out that we wait in the wrong queue.
But we are lucky and by pushing to the queue for "Camping on Bord" we still find a spot on board under the open sky.
In exchange for the unfriendly pushing and the good spot we get sprayed by sea water during the night and the tents get sprinkled by rain during the day.

June 27 2003

Ancona - Schweiz

On our arrival at Ancona the wetter is beautiful.

Peter reduces the tyre pressure (why ever he had pumped them up higher than usual) and we head homewards.
After 2 breaks we eat dinner at the Bellinzona rest stop.

Heidi and Peter plan to stop at the Disentis campsite overnight, but change their mind and also drive home today.
At the Gotthard Ruedi gets his glasses back, we say goodbye and are home around 9 PM.

We had a superb time in Greece and it is for sure not the last time we have been there.



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Last updated: Friday, 14.08.2020 4:30 PM

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