Walking along the railway track, Greece

May, 2016

On Sunday, May the 8th, I join hundreds of Greek hikers from all over the place, to walk from Zachlorou to Diakofto, along the “Odontotos”(tooth train) railway. This month, the 120th Anniversary of the train from Diakofto to Kalavrita (750 mtr above sea level) is celebrated and the opportunity is given to bring people by bus to Zachlorou in the mountains and walk along the railway, for around 4 hours, back to Diakofto. The weather is superb for a hike, not too much sun and a cooling breeze. The buses were fully booked and I was lucky to be on my own, as I just booked a few days ahead at the municipality of Diakofto and  “kiria Olga” told me she could “squeeze me in”. That meant a place right in the front of the bus, beside the chauffeur, from where the views were amazing! The road up the mountain is very curvy and narrow at times and my chauffeur didn’t wear any seatbelts and was constantly talking with a microphone in his hand with the girlfriend probably (or his mother……). I wished he had both hands on the steering wheel! This is the road to Kalavrita and we drove it in the past on various occasions, to let the children have some fun in the snow, as this area is a favorite ski resort also. Next week I will visit Kalavrita as well, but then by train.

In Zachlorou we are with many starting the walk, but on the way down, there are a few villages and some people decide to quit.

The first thing you notice is the overwhelming scent of herbs, especially oregano (rigani). People start picking bunches of different kinds and the yellow flowers are favorite, as they seem to make a good balsam for pains and aches and also as a tea for an upset stomach.DSC05214

The walk goes through the Vouraikos Gorge and the Vouraikos river is flowing along the railway track with numerous of waterfalls along the way. The beauty of the rock formations in stunning and reminds me from time to time of Meteora, in Northern Greece.

Although we are going down, it is not an easy walk, as you have to watch your step constantly. I admire a guy “at age”, who is walking as if he is going to church. In a suit and on normal shoes and so easy………DSC05164

Nobody informed me about the numerous of bridges we have to cross (6 or 8) and if I would have known, I probably never joined this hike! My fear of heights is of a concerning level and the bridges are simple from construction and the cliffs are steep! I try to concentrate on the “bum”of the hiker in front of me, as that level seems to be a good concentration point. It works for a while, until one of my “front hikers” decides to jump to the left. A tour guide starts shouting at him to go back and I am totally freaking out, as I lost my focus point! The good thing is that there is no way back, so I do have to continue and the last bridges are getting easier to cross.

In Mega Spilaion the “souvlakia” are ready for the hungry hikers and many take the opportunity to have a break. I want to go on. I even didn’t have one sip of water, as I don’t want to end up in the bushes……

I start following an older Greek guy, as he didn’t go slower, like most of the other hikers. His step is firm and we have a simple conversation. My Greek is not totally back on the same level, as 13 years ago. I knew the question would come; “where is your husband?” I told him that there is no husband. Stupid. I never should have said that! He got all enthusiastic and saw many opportunities, but after arriving in Diakofto later on, he suddenly was gone. Later, I saw him with a woman walking to the station. Probably, his wife! No, things didn’t change one bit in Greece………

4 thoughts on “Walking along the railway track, Greece

  1. I loved this story, Renee. I could imagine myself walking with you. Beautiful. Greece is a place I have to revisit.

  2. Weer een mooie aflevering van je avontuurlijke b!elevenissen.Je schrijft prachtig!
    stuur mij svp jeemaiol adres want dat been ik kwijt.

  3. Hi Renee. Wij zijn ook met het treintje naar boven geweest in de zomer. Wij waren toen ook een van de weinigen daar. Inderdaad heel indrukwekkend.
    Hebben daar op de berg ook een paar maal geskied.

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