We laid out our sleeping bags in the porch of the Monastery of the Lifegiving Spring (Zoodochos Pigi). It had started to rain as we left Metsovo that afternoon, so we were glad to sleep under shelter, and where the surrounding fence would keep out the dogs. The little Byzantine church was locked, but roses bloomed in the courtyard and there was a wheelie bin at the entrance. I’d chatted briefly to a shepherd rounding up her flocks nearby, who told me that there were still regular services, although nobody lived there any more. We fell asleep to the sound of owls calling across the mountains. It was good to be back on the trail again.
Then, in the middle of the night, Alan got up for a pee, making his way outside the monastery precinct. All of a sudden, he was caught in a powerful spotlight, lighting up the whole courtyard. A siren started to wail. He crept back to his sleeping bag round the back, trying to avoid triggering the alarm a second time. The noise soon stopped, but we lay there wondering when an angry priest or the police would roar up out of the darkness. But nothing happened, and we gradually fell back to sleep.
It was still quiet when we left at dawn the next day. I lit a candle and made a small donation in the offerings box by the church. As we walked on up the mountain, we laughed as we thought of Alan in his underpants immortalised on CCTV.
The route: Back on the E6, fairly well waymarked. Nightmare walk out of town, down towards the road tunnel leading to the motorway, then veering off through the crash barrier along the old road to Anthochori. From there, it was much more pleasant walking along dirt roads. Water at the monastery. Kilometres: 9 Ascent: 270m Descent: 391m Map: Anavasi 3.2 /4.2 South Pindus. The paper maps are on the same sheet, back to back, but the digital versions are separate.
Facilities: All town facilities at Metsovo.