As indicated in previous post (December 11, 2021), my journey in Greece from Dimitsana onward continued as hike mostly on feet, with myself as only company. An imprecise map helped me define Adritsaina as next ‘goal’, and I had the sun, time and a compass as lead. The Arcadian hills grown with small greek oak trees were hot and dry. The day passed without meeting any bipeds, and only a greek turtle crossed my path.
After mid-day, I had to take care not to get over-heated, but some rivers provided refreshment at times.
In hammock of Bardaki (Μπαρδάκι) I was invited – when filling water bottle at local pump – to have retsina and tomato salad in plenty olive oil on the veranda. The hospitable folks advised a cool moment at nearby river Alfeios.
After passing through Andritsaina, and after following a small path through the hills, I came close to a temple with just a few visitors. Some supportive structures had been raised, as an early step towards conservation. It is now an Unesco Monument, and restoration would start in 2001, with a tent (hood) placed over the temple remains. This Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae of Phigaleia has been raised in 5th century BC. In retrospect, the photo is unique with respict to point-of-view.
At the end of the next day I came to a place, where several big rectangular boulder stones had been neatly arranged providing a plateau to camp. I had arrived at the ancient site of Lycosura (Λυκόσουρα) with the temple of Despoina. At the nearby village an elderly lady had the key to small historic museum, with some big antique statues, and a lot of dust. The entree did cost two drachmes.
From there the trip continued on feet or by hitch hiking or bus, via Megalopolis to historic Argos, Mycene and coastal city of Nafplion. On the quay outside this city, several young people camped and took a swim in the sea, not bothering to put on cloths between dives. Several times during the day, a ripple of unrest traveled along this quay, when a police officer came to tell nudity would be punished.
From Nafplion, a regular buss service brought tourists to ancient Mycene.
From Nafplion an easy walk along busy motorway brought me to ancient Argos, with its huge amphiteatre.
Ancient Argos amphitheatre
In the city of Argos, a funeral service was hindered by the defect of historic funeral coach.
Small garages are scattered all over Greece, like here near Nafplion.
By ferry a short visit was brought to Spetse, the island where the book “The Magus” by author John Fowles is situated. By taking some distance to the tourist crowds, – talking about 1978 – at almost all places something of rural Greece could be found. I walked a few miles from the port, and near the lighthouse I got permission from the guard to camp with my little tent, after having accepted the offer of a glass of ouzo and some fresh tomatoes.
From Spetse another ferry brought me to Pireas and a bus to Athens, and that is where this story ends.
In July 1978 Jaap, a study pal and mountain hike companion, and I made a journey in Greece. We had trekked in several mountain regions since a few years. After arrival in Igoumenitsa by ferry from Brindisi (Italy), we hitchhiked south to Amfilochia in the back of an open truck.
The next day brought us to Patras, a city with a history of thousands of years. Already inhabited in prehistoric times, it was an important centre in the Mycenean era. After one night camp there, we continued east to small coastal village of Diakofto.
From Diakofto runs the “Odontotos Rack-railway” to Kalavrita. It was built between 1885-1895 and climbs steeply along a distance of 22 km. We followed a path besides and sometimes on the track, that rises in narrow cleft between steep rocks. At times a viper fled from being trapped on.
Ano Lousi lies on plateau at 1100 m altitude. From here we followed the road to Kata lousi with about as many cars or trucks passing as flocks of sheep.
Near the evening we arrived by foot in the small village of Kastria. We explained our whereabouts, to what appeared to be the village elder, and soon were invited to have a glass of ouzo with several most older men at a table. Later, we were invited to join a party planned to visit the cave that had been discovered nearby, a few years earlier, by a shepherd who had lost a sheep. The party would take ‘William’, a former villager who had emigrated to the USA twenty years earlier, and who had just returned for a visit, to the site, and us alongside.
No ticket counter of parking for busses, yet to be seen. We were able to enter the cave for about 300 m, with the guide using an old mining-lamp (Davy lamp) and then were stopped by lakes. Nowadays, walking bridges have been created to gain acces much deeper.
We hiked further to Klitoria and then to Dafni. On the outskirts of the small village of Dafni, there were more than ten threshing circles. These may have been created two thousand years ago… and are located in areas where the wind blows.
From Dafni the path led to Langadia, on the busy and touristic road from Olympia to Tripoli. A steep climb to a street 100 m higher brought us back in more rural village atmosphere and we were offered small flat grass plateau for the tent.
From Langadia we walked to Dimitsana, about 10 km south. This mountain village at 1000 m height, played important role in Greep revolt against the Turkish occupants. To our great surprise, a Dutch couple arrived soon after we installed our camp outside this village. The surprise became even bigger when they turned out to be neighbours of Jaap. No previous talk about respective travels had been made. The encounter was a pure coincidence…
The next day, our path did split, with – Jaap heading for Athens to meet family, and I continued my path alone. This will be part of 2nd blog.
“A road in France / forgot where and when. // That can happen when using analog film / in old Voigtländer camera.”
(one day later, using memory and internet: this is Rue Diderot, just entered from Avenue de Général Leclerc, Pantin, Paris. May 12, 2017)
Now, length plays a role. If you are 20 cm longer than me, you will have a different look.
No doubt, analog photography is different from digital. With digital photos I change little, perhaps enhace contrast somewhat, adapt ligth-dark a bit. Rarely major manipulation with saturation and such. But this Kodacolor film, in Voigtländer Vitoret (dating from early 1960s): different cake…
Along the same road, Avenue Général Leclercq, Pantin, Paris, there is the the entry of Parking has a guard house, with peculiar roof, or should I say: a sort of canopy?
Experience learns, a car might leave the exit at some speed…
After a while and a strech with the Metro (subway) we have come back to the Paris Center.
In 2017, people sat at a table for coffee, beer or glass of wine, and terror had decreased. No virus in sight, yet.
Indoors, no people smoked, so we had coffee inside. Looking through the window, I noticed a message taped to the glass. Everything else is background. All this happened May 12th, 2017
Today was different: it started grey and fairly cold. One year of 21st century pandemic, has certain effects. Dominant is the feeling of uncertainty. There are roadblocks at the border. Still, after six months with meetings by ‘skype’ only, the three of us met at small parking-place, to walk in the forest.
No kissing or hugging, we focus on nature, and some human acts.
One should not carve in skin of trees, but testimonies often are built on scars.
Going north, a logger had felled a tree and new life settled on the cut surface.
Tiny leaves left from autumn, have shadows imprinted on bark.
About fifty years ago, someone planted stakes on (and with a) purpose. One straight, the other leaning for support, joined with an iron nail.
Here, there is quietude, and the option to choose which way to go.
At another time, one may meet a fellow traveler on this earth, his/her shelter being a hole in the ground.
Someone took a token of belief, and by placing it in old tree trunk, fixed time and memory.
The clefts and riggles of bark of this birch tree surpass abstraction.
“Three of us is enough: not afraid of tension or to separate fields, and create boundaries”
text and images (c) Drager Meurtant, March 7-8, 2021
Only after crossing trenches / and brooks, and raising / fallen trees upright, // followed by rubbing out / the dirty ground from narrow eyes, // and by calling loud: “I’m alone!” // motion started behind / the bushes.
Slechts na oversteek van greppels / en kreken, en het rechtzetten / van omgevallen bomen, // waarna de vuile grond uit geknepen ogen / werd gewreven , // en door luid te roepen: “ik ben alleen!” // kwam er beweging vanachter / het struikgewas.
One thought, it is a goat, / fastened with ties and anxious, // the other believed to perceive / a superior power.
De één dacht, het is een geit, / vastgebonden en angstig, // de ander meende, een hogere macht / te ontwaren.
But something unmentionable / crept forward: “reason evades an explanation.”
Maar iets onnoembaars kroop / te voorschijn: “de rede laat zich niet verklaren”
The day of December two thousand and twenty, started with haze and drizzle, that kept some sort of lock over the day.
Still, face covered with mask in the train, we went to the city of Amsterdam, to visit the museum of photography ‘Foam’. Rarely do I make photos of photos. But there are other elements. My photos taken in the museum are given below, together with a few from the journey back home.
Now more than in earlier times, there is the need for refreshment of air within buildings.
The artist Jan Schoonhoven might have found inspiration.
Somewhat hidden, there is a call for connectivity, dating from more than half a century ago.
A crack in the window captures the focus.
Outside is different, but the view is still influenced. And strong light placed near historic facades of homes deviates the focus.
While looking outside through the train windows, images are mirrors of movement.