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Walking Pindos 2012

Walking Pindos 2012

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Published by andreworange
Anna Butcher's walking trip
Anna Butcher's walking trip

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: andreworange on Nov 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Areopoli23062LakoniaGreeceTel: +30 27330 52611Mob: +30 6937 772 996email: asimimail@gmail.com
Peaks of the Pindos and Jewels of Ioannina: 9-19 June 2012
The Pindos mountains in Epirus aremore reminiscent of Switzerlandthan the Mediterranean. Toweringpeaks, alpine meadows carpeted inflowers, mountain lakes, woodedvalleys and gushing turquoise riversmake for one of the mostspectacular walks in Greece. Thisregion is one of Europe’s last greatwilderness areas, and is home towild boar, wolves and even brownbears, as well as some rare birds andan abundance of butterflies andflowers.This is a challenging trek whichleads us along ancient stone mulepaths, across arched bridgesspanning deep river gorges and upto the spectacular snow-cappedpeaks of Gamila. We sleep in thetraditional stone guest-houses of theZagorohoria, where we will enjoydelicious home-cooking (superbmeat dishes and a surprising varietyof fruit and vegetables, consideringthe remoteness of these villages)and some interesting local wines.We then move down to the fascinating lakeside town of Ioannina, which still retains a distinct Turkishfeel (it only became independent in 1913), where we have free time to visit the mosques and byzantinemuseums, take a boat trip out to the island, and shop for exquisite metalwork and jewellery. There isalso an optional excursion to Dodoni, site of the oracle of Zeus.
Day 1
There is a lunchtime flight to Ioannina from Athens with Aegean Airlines. This would mean youcould connect from an early morning flight from London. From there we have a one hour transfer toour charming guest house in Monodendri, on the edge of a beautiful village in the wooded foothills of the Gamila massif.
 Day 2
 After visiting a spectacularlysituated monastery overlooking theVikos gorge, we take a mule pathdown into the rocky riverbed, andfollow it upstream below soaringrock faces and pinnacles to thepicturesque village of Kipi. Herewe stay in traditional village rooms,and there is an opportunity to visitthe fascinating folk museum beforedinner in the village taverna. (6miles)
Day 3
Following a track through woods with occasional extensive views south, we continue on through thefoothills to Tsepelovo. The largest of the Zagorohoria villages, this marks the start of the Vlach-populated highlands. There is time to soak up the tranquillity of mountain village life beneath thecentral plane tree or explore the winding cobbled streets before dinner. (6 miles)
Day 4
We head off early for a long and demanding hike into the heart of the Gamila range, carrying our ownlunch and the bare essentials for our night in the refuge. Almost immediately leaving the tree line andwe walk on into vast deserted mountain uplands, punctuated with deep gullies, flowery alpinemeadows and the occasional shepherd’s hut. Arriving finally on a spectacular saddle at 2,100 m, wefind the simple refuge of Astrakas, where we spend the night in small dormitories with bunk beds.There is no hot water, but the bathrooms are spotless and there are plenty of blankets. Our tourmanager will carry up our sheet sleeping bags and a change of clothes for the evening. (11 miles)
Day 5
There is an optional morning’s walk over grassy hillsides to Dragon Lake, asmall glacial lake perched on the lip of the Aoos Gorge, teeming with newtsand unusual butterflies. Returning tothe refuge for our picnic, we thendescend to Mikro Papingo, apicturesque village of stone houses andcobbled lanes, set beneath the soaring“towers” of Astrakas. (6 + 6 miles)
 Day 6
Free day to enjoy a well-earned rest on the terrace of what is usually the favourite hotel of the trip,explore the charming villages of both Megalo and Mikro Papingo, or take a refreshing swim in theseries of rock pools which range in temperature from icy snow melt in the shade of the gorge to balmywarm in the sun.
Day 7
Today we walk down throughflowery meadows, forests of giantshrubs and past fairy tale rock pinnacles down to the springs of theVoidomatis river in the lower Vikosgorge. A steep and winding pathleads us up to Vitsiko, withspectacular views back up thecanyon where we enjoy a well-earned lunch under the village planetree next to the church. From therea lane contours the hillsides toAristi, where we spend the night inanother charming guest house. (8miles)
Day 8
A small (and very overgrown!)wooded path brings us back to theriver Voidomatis, where we willvisit a beautiful C15th monasterybuilt into the cliffs, and walk ashort way upstream to get viewsback to Papingo and perhaps seesome rare orchids, before lunch byan idyllic turquoise river pool. Wethen follow the river downstreamamong giant plane trees. Thebraver walkers can “cool off” inthe freezing waters en route.Emerging from the valley at anarched stone bridge, we then travelby van back to Aristi for our finalnight in the tranquillity of themountains. (7 miles)

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