...Athens By Taxi



Below follows a testimonial written by a former client.

"A couple of hours from Athens near the very center of the Peloponnese is Lousios Gorge. For those spending a little extra time in Greece or who simply want to see some of the natural beauty of the country in addition to the ancient sites for which it is justly famous, this is an alternative. It is so remote it was a stronghold for the Greek language and religion during the Greek War for Independence. Monasteries and churches seem to grow from the cliffs that define the gorge. It is possible to hike the entire length of it (about three miles/5km) or just a portion of it.

The day begins with several hours of driving and once out of the confines of Athens the road begins to rise and wind through the mountains. Mountain meadows overflow with wildflowers like Scottish Broom and walnut trees and bee hives fill in the landscape.

The first stop is the small town of Dimitsana. While its picturesque streets might be worth a stop anyway, one of the real joys here is arguably the world’s best baklava. The product of all those flowers and bees and walnut trees has been turned into something extraordinary and well worth a stop at the small café.

On the outskirts of town there’s a small museum at an old watermill that used to function as a tannery and manufacturing site for gunpowder. It’s worth a quick look just to understand a bit more of the history of the place.

A little further is a small chapel that offers stunning views of the gorge. If you don’t want to hike the entire length this is also a good starting point for the most picturesque part of the trail. The gorge is nearly a thousand feet deep with a small but swiftly rushing river at the bottom. Much of the trail is downhill. However, it varies from dirt, to gravel, to rock, to cobblestone worn smooth by generations of feet. It is sometimes wide, sometimes narrow and can be steep in a few places. It is not a difficult hike but it is far better done in hiking boots or at least good athletic shoes rather than slick soled sandals.

Not far into the walk is the Monastery Agiou Ioannou Prodromou. Take the fork to the right and climb. At the end is a 12th century monastery clinging to the cliffside. A sign at the entrance warns that men in shorts and women in any kind of pants are not allowed inside. However, the monks have provided. Neatly hanging on pegs just outside is an array of pants and skirts to be borrowed for the moment. Inside the church it seems cool even on a hot day because it is literally built into the rock. Its walls have the remains of frescoes.

Backtrack down the trail and continue the decent into the gorge. You will cross a bridge and end up on the other side then follow the trail past cliffs where signs point to caves once used by hermits. There is also a small stone pool set in deep shade where water is collected for the monastery. There’s a stone bench there and the cool water and heavy shade make the whole area very cool. The entire hike takes about an hour and a half at a reasonably steady rate although that depends entirely on how much time you spend in the monastery and how often you pause along the trail.

Near the end of it is a small 11th century chapel to St. Andrew and a bridge leading back across the river to a parking lot where you can be picked up. But before you do that go just a few steps farther on to see the small ruins of Ancient Gortys. It was a therapeutic center in the 4th century BC and along with an ancient gnarly olive tree it also includes the foundations of a temple to Asklepios, the Greek god of healing.

There’s a small taverna less than a mile away that has good basic food and house wine that is quite good.

The drive back to Athens again winds through beautiful mountain meadows."


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