Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 100 – A trip to the north

Giorgo has invited me to make his house my center of operations, but I wanted to go north, so I said goodbye to him for a couple of days, intent on exploring a little of mainland Greece. It was a simple day, in which I drove a lot through incredible mountains. I had always imagined Greece as gentle, rolling hills, but in reality it is a very mountainous country, with Alpine-like valleys and towering peaks. This makes for very windy, slow roads, and for an attractive setting for the hundreds of monasteries that perch in impossible ways at the base of the cliffs. I visited the monastery of Megalopolis in a very curious way: I had been following a bus full of kids and all of a sudden I found myself in the parking lot of the monastery. There was no indication anywhere that this was a touristic stop, but all the kids and a few teachers started heading for the entrance, so I did likewise. A stern bearded priest “welcomed” the group with a neutral stare and, since no one told me otherwise, I followed the group through a guided visit (all in Greek) of the main church and the grotto behind the monastery.

At some point I had to get out of the Peleponese and cross the Gulf of Corinth, through a most beautiful bridge (later I found out that it has claims at being the longest suspended bridge in the world). Very neat, but very expensive, at $15 toll each way.

I followed the west coast all the way to the Gulf of Ambrakikos, looking for a place to camp for the night, but to no avail. I did find a few camping outfits, but all were closed until June 1, so with all my honors I had to go back to Amfilohia, where I found a small hotel to spend the night. Here is a picture of the look outside my window.

No comments: