For the past three weeks the weather pattern has been sunshine and a bit of heat until midday and then cloud and rain. It was a pattern that didn’t sit well with most here, as we are finally looking forward to warmer days and good weather for forays into the flowering forest. Nevertheless, I am happy about the water that has poured lately because it is very useful and important for nature, just before summer. One of these sunny mornings Athena and Ilias and I decided that we needed a walk in nature and an exploration of the wider area.
First stop, Roino, a village which is located below the Aydin peak and which we later realized should not have more than 30-40 inhabitants. The name of the village is a sonorous anagram of the word Oreno. It is located at an altitude of 1100 meters and is 4 km from the main road after Vytina and 19 km from Tripoli. We stayed there very little as the village looked deserted and the cafe in the square was closed.
The square was very sweet and under the big plane tree there were two big signs with directions for the hiking trails that go through there. I really want to go back to this village and walk the path to Aydin peak and other places I marked on the map. Mainalo is so beautiful and I think its exploration can never stop, there is always something new and that something is different every season of the year!
Next stop a historic village, Piana, which is located near the ruins of the ancient city of Dipia. Her name is associated with the mythical god Pana. The square is dominated by the church of Saint George, which is in the architectural style of a three-aisled basilica with a dome and has two imposing stone bell towers. Its perimeter courtyard offered us a panoramic view of the natural landscape.
In the square, the owners of the “Panas” tavern told us a few words about their village and encouraged us to walk the beautiful path in the plain of Piana that reaches the sources of the Elissonas river. The so-called cave of the god Pana is located on the mountain above the springs of Elissonas and which bears the name “Pianovouni”. This area of Phalanthos takes its name from the indomitable and fertilizing god of vegetation and life. The local legend says that the cloven-footed God Pana resides in this cave and with his torch fills the beautiful ravine of the springs of Elissona with sounds.
Starting for the sources of the river we thought it would only take 20 minutes, as we had been told, but in the end it was more, around half an hour. The waters of Elissonas spring from the springs at the foot of Pianovouni and give life to the few inhabitants of the area who cultivate the land or raise their animals. A significant part of the water of the Elissons springs is utilized for the water supply of the residents of Tripoli. Around the middle of the plain of Piana, the waters of the river disappear into the earth and it is believed that they reappear in the area of Megalopolis. Twelve stone watermills for grinding grain and six watermills for washing clothes used to operate along the beds of the Elissonas river. We came across some of these buildings, some in good condition and others in dilapidated condition.
The tavern dog kept us company throughout our hiking trip, although he seemed to have trouble stepping on one of his feet. We didn’t know his name, so we called him Zeus. He was a really reliable mountain companion, he stopped when we stopped to rest and kept a good tempo the whole way and of course he knew the trail. The vegetation was mostly scrubby and various scents of herbs and flowers wafted through the air.
When we reached the springs we enjoyed the coolness and the sound of the river. Elias and Zeus took a dip while Athena and I rested on the rocks. And that’s when it started to crumble. We didn’t sit there long as we were worried about the rain getting heavier. The vegetation near the river was more like a rainforest and the light rainfall made this feeling even more intense. Little blue butterflies danced flying around us at that point.
On the way back we decided instead of crossing the path, to go through the dirt road that is for cars. There, after sadness and anger, I can say we faced large amounts of garbage thrown on the slope next to the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes! How is it possible that the inhabitants of the area thus pollute their very place, which beautifies their lives and nourishes them?
We then met a couple driving down the road and I stopped them to ask them questions about littering and express my disapproval of the phenomenon. They explained to me that in the last two years this habit has stopped and the truth is that they didn’t look proud at all…
I think there would be some value in getting a group of citizens together to pick up the trash. Although the most ideal thing would be for the municipality of Tripoli to do something, as it is difficult to drive there for pedestrians and only a few vehicles do not arrive to collect the garbage, and moreover I can understand that this is not the only point on the mountain that the residents they act this way…
While we were caught in the midday rain, a few minutes before we entered the village the sun was testing our endurance and we stopped in the shade provided by the trees, had a drink and talked. When we reached the square we went straight to the fountain for cool water, and sat in the shade created by two over-aged plane trees.
All this happened last Thursday, before the three days of the Holy Spirit, during which I had another unique experience… But you will read about that in the next article, very soon!
Until then, hugs to everyone!