Sunday, 3 June 2012

1st day in Greece

Changed our watches forward an hour to Greek time. The websites all say Igoumenitsa is a boring town so we headed north straight away into the mountains which were higher and more impressive than we had imagined. We left the freeway as soon as possible, even though the only traffic on it was trucks form the ferry. Headed up and up on a road deserted apart from roaming flocks of sheep and herds of goats guarded by dogs.

Headed for the Zagori Region of the Northern Pindus. The Zagori is made up of 46 stone built villages of which we visited three, Kipi,Vitsa and Monodendri. Can’t say we were greatly impressed by the villages themselves but the scenery is incredible and the rivers are spanned by old stone bridges dating back to when donkeys were the main mode of transport.  The best was the 3 span Pokidi Bridge near Kipi. Wandering tortoises were a road hazard.

Visited the Vikos Gorge which is claimed to be the deepest in the world at 990 metres.

Then we headed further and further up into the mountains till our late lunch stop at a taverna in Metsova, a very picturesque ski town.  Onward higher and higher past snow topped peaks and over the Katana Pass at 1690 metres. When we descended the other side we discovered why we had been the only vehicle on the road – the signs the other way said the Pass was closed! The only hazards we had come across were some subsided sections  of road that were a bit bone shaking but the Honda had no problems handling it.

More winding roads to Meteora and the village of Kastraki where we have an ensuite room at the Rex Hotel for 40 euros including breakfast and garage parking for the bike. Bought a bottle of local red wine from the shop across the street which is the explanation for any gibberish and/or spelling errors. From our balcony we have a view of one of the rock monoliths that we have come to see with their rock monasteries.  It is just 200 metres away from us.

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