How can I describe an excursion, an exploration with words, without putting the thousands of wonderful pictures you have lived and shared with your company? But the effort counts and I will try to give as much as I can to my own experience! The day begins, in Erymanthos mountain, with a delay of course, since 3 of my 15 companions overslept at the scheduled departure time! The departure starts from the meeting point at a height of 1050m! We pass through the village in the morning and the weather is actually pretty cold, for the 16th of August, but the residents are having their breakfasts without caring for the extreme cold [that happens when you live in an environment that has an average temperature of 10 C’] and we climb next to the well-preserved stone-built school of the village. We find the path and start climbing next to the canyon which, although it has no water now, remains a great sight. About every 100 meters we mark the path and when needed, we make the necessary stops to inhale the pure oxygen and the wonderful smell of fir trees!
We are keeping on and on our way, we find places where sheep are sleeping [barns], items for their feeding and their water and of course an ax always waiting for the shepherd!
The trail continues under the deep shade of the fir trees and with the accompany of the bells of the sheep and goats. Although we lost the path for about 100 meters, the whole team keeps its humor and we continue unattained, without hearing the deserters who cry from their fatigue and distrust to the drivers! I’m kidding of course !
The climb continues and we finally reach the Astra Plateau at a height of 1500m. Here the group splits for a while, 5 of us go up to the castle (according to the tradition, once was a castle there!). The climb is not so easy because there are carpets of stones [rolling, making them very dangerous]. The top is accessible only on one side because the other is perpendicular to cliffs 50 and 100 meters high. During this time, one member of the company is flying the drone to capture the beauty of this area from above.
The team reunites in Kriavrisi [spring that runs all year round water from the … fridge, as it is barely impossible to hold your hand in there for more than 10 seconds!]. Some of the group visit Agia Paraskevi [stone built church on the Astra Plateau overlooking Zakynthos!], when the rest of us continue to see a waterfall 30m high! The instructions are to meet again in a hole in the mountain which was used as a hiding place for goods and people during the Ottoman domination and German occupation! Of course, while the rest of the team heads for the road, we pick a much harder road through steep cliffs and cliffs.
The jabs from the thorns of the mountain are repeated and thousands, but I have to say we get to pass through without a scratch! The group reunites once again and from there, our journey is smooth as we follow the road to the village. A little further down, at a spring, we stop to relax and rearrange our return to the village, where we meet another group that makes its walk. Eventually we get to the village tired but completely satisfied with the feeling of pleasure, having traveled over 10km and climbed over 500m vertical distance! The day is over and the only sure thing is that the feeling of moral satisfaction overcomes this fatigue by far!