Cyclamen spilled down the banks of the Lousios, prolific as the primrose drifts of my childhood. Below, the fast flowing waters of the river gleamed pale turquoise. An unforgettable sight.
We had lingered late at Ancient Gortys, watching the sun rise out of the early mists, letting the condensation dry off the tents, and exploring the ruins. There hadn’t been much for breakfast – toasted (stale) bread and coffee. That’s the problem with making decisions as you go. We should have stocked up with more food in Dimitsana.
The path led out through the ruins, past massive stone walls, and then along an old irrigation channel, high above the river. At times, it was a scramble, and I watched a little nervously as Alan managed with only one hand. Beyond the cyclamen, the path was lined with the glowing yellow cups of sternbergia, like giant crocuses.
At last we came to an old stone bridge, and the start of a five kilometre slog uphill along the road to Karitena. I do hate walking along tarred road: it’s so unforgiving on the joints. Alan’s knees were aching, as well as his hand, and so were Lani’s shoulders by the time we reached the little town, snuggled beneath the old castle on the peak.
The route: Well-waymarked path from Ancient Gortys, though occasionally a bit of a scramble. Tedious final stretch along the road to Karitena. Water from the Lousios river. Kilometres: 9. Ascent: 439m. Descent: 267m. Map: Anavasi 8.5. Menalo.
Facilities: Karitena is smaller than Dimitsana, with only a few guest houses, tavernas, cafe, shop and bus service. Several were seasonal, and the shop was only open in the afternoon when we arrived.