Monday, 5 May 2008

Pilgrimage from Vasiliada to Aetos 03/05/08

Somehow we managed to sleep in till 9am this morning. I don’t know how it happens :)

Quickly packing up the tents we are on our way. The next town is only 5-6kms away so we figure we can still get there for breakfast. Ten meters down the road we get the surprise of our life…bear tracks!!! Like really BIG bear tracks!!! The paw span is about 15cms! This inspires me and I keep my eyes peeled for the real thing…

It turns out we are not quite at the top of the mountain like we had hoped, and still have some climbing to do. Just as the road forks a car shows up, the first one we have seen all morning…it looks like we are in luck. Asking for directions he points the way and we set off, still searching for bears.

The track is perfect and we get treated to some gorgeous views, including some of Kastoria and the lake, and probably even stretching as far as Albania. But sure enough like all good tracks it soon ends…right in the middle of nowhere! The main problem is that the mountain is now nearly vertical and it still doesn’t look like we are near the top.

There is nothing left to do other than knuckle down and start climbing! It is a nightmare. For every step up we slide half a step back…and then still have to stop and rest every 20m. And I mean literally every 20m!!! Still no bears but following us up is a Cookoo bird merrily chatting away…


I think God is trying to tell us something :)

Finally, totally exhausted we drag ourselves on to the summit. Looking around it appears that somehow we have managed to climb the highest point of the highest mountain in the whole area! Idiots!!! :)

So it is 1pm before we finally set off down the mountain to Lechovo. It isn’t long before we are once again reunited with our road and by 3pm sitting in a café drinking ouzo, totally knackered!

We wanted to make at least 30kms today but there is no way that is happening. After studying the map we agree that another 15kms is realistic, and so it was…

Around 7pm we stagger into Aetos, absolutely starving. We have a huge meal and then ask around to see if anyone rents out rooms. We think we are in luck as the restaurant owner says she does, but at €40 we figure we might as well camp…

Just as we are about to leave Sabine remembers that I have been talking about staying at Church parishes and monasteries for the last week, but always forget about it when we need a place to stay. Asking the old guy at the table next us where we can find the church in town he gets really excited and starts making sleeping gestures saying “church, church”.

We smile and nod…

It turns out the church is located back where we walked in to town, and the guy offers to give us a lift back. Lucky he did because we would never have found it otherwise, it looks just like a house…

What a great place to crash for the night! It isn’t the parish or the monastery, but the actual church!

Not being very up to date on etiquette when sleeping in a church I choose to set myself up in the foyer next to the door. Sabine on the other hand decides her sleeping place is smack bang in the middle of everything in front of the alter…right under Jesus :)

But with a name like Hellfaier, who is going to argue with her anyway ;)

No comments: