Greek Journal Part XII

Greek Journal: 5/13/2005-6/8/2005

Summary: DenverLondonAthensLeptokaryaLitochoroMt. OlympusLitochoro Kalambaka (Meteora) IguominitsaCorfu TownCorfu TrailIguominitsaZorganian Villages, Vikos Gorge and Mt. AstrakaAthensLondonDenver

 

6/2/2005: On the Corfu Trail, Corfu: Today we decided to do some local exploration by sea via paddle boat. We peddled our boat about 2 miles out along a narrow peninsula that extends from Agios Georgios in to the sea. Finally located an inviting deserted beach and landed our craft. After a refreshing swim hiked up a small sand hill behind to beach to discover that the island was no more than 40 ft across at this point and there was a matching sand beach on the other side. There is a path from the mainland that runs the length of the peninsula to a small cave church dedicated to Agios Stylianos the patron Saint of children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timoni Beach south side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timoni Beachs north and south (north on left and south on right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though we still had a couple of days left on the trek, the extra days we had spent along the way due to my bum foot and just because we wanted to, had eaten up enough time that if we wanted to do some more traveling we had to leave Corfu. Our original reason for coming to Greece had been to hike the Pindos Horse Shoe in northern Greece, so we decided to hop the bus back to Corfu town and take the ferry back to the mainland in the AM.

 

6/3/2005: Monodendri in the Zagorian region of the Pindos Mountains, mainland Greece.

Hard to believe that this morning we were leisurely walking about and shopping in Corfu town and now are in some of the most rugged and unexplored mountains in Europe. After a leisurely breakfast and some shopping in Corfu Town we caught the ferry to Iguomenitsa (1.5 hrs), rented a car and drove to Ionina and then north in to the Pindos Mountain range.

Traveling in to Pindos Mountains you see an entirely different side of Greece. We have been to the urbania of Athens, appreciated the ancient ruins of the Acropolis, hung out with the gods on Olympus, mellowed on the island life of Corfu and now we were heading in to a mountain range which during WWII rivaled the Russian front for brutal winter weather and surpassed any front for rugged terrain.

Our destination was the Zagorian region which is known for both natural wonders and unique architecture. The architectural style has been preserved and reproduced for hundreds of years and utilizes finely cut lime stone blocks quarried from northern Greece and Albania. The bridge work over the rivers is world famous. Some of these bridges date back 1,000 years are still used in there original and unmodified form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triple bustressed Zagorian bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me standing on top of the 700 year old Kokoros bridge. No glue and no cement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a little wandering found our way to Monodendri, one of the hand full of Zagorian Villages that are still inhabited. At one time there were 48 villages scattered through this area of the Pindos. All of the buildings were constructed in the same style from the same lime stone and to this day all new construction is done in the same style with lime stone blocks and slate roofs. We found a beautiful lodge called the Zarkada Manor House that was located in the center of town and only steps from the 5,300 ft drop in to the Vikos Gorge.

 

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