Water

Water from stream in Northern Greece

Finding water was never really a problem. We carried up to two litres, or less if we knew there was plenty of water en route. Both the Anavasi maps and the Greek Mountains guide show water sources. Of course, they can’t always be relied on, especially in summer, when springs sometimes run dry. Occasionally we ran out, especially if we couldn’t find a campsite near a water source, but it was usually only an hour or two the next morning until we found somewhere to slake our thirst.

There is almost always a public water source of some kind in the villages, as well as near rural churches. Usually they are where the villagers used to water their mules, collect water and do their washing.  Occasionally, a local benefactor has donated a Rolls Royce of a drinking fountain, complete with a cup.

In the mountains, the shepherds have often made the springs safe for drinking. The simple way to do this is to stick a pipe far into the bank where a spring emerges, so that the water is taken from within the earth where it can’t be so easily polluted. It may  look like a drain but it’s fine to drink. My favourite one of this type was stuck right through a tree and into the bank the other side.

Water troughsWherever there are sheep or cows, there is always water somewhere, though the trough may be a little off the track and you have to look for it. Best to take drinking water from the intake pipe rather than from the trough itself. I love the traditional troughs made of hollowed tree trunks, though nowadays they are mostly metal like anywhere else.

Sometimes we had to take water from streams. This was fine if they were fast flowing, but if they were sluggish, then we used water treatment tablets. There is a small risk of giardia, an unpleasant intestinal parasite, especially where there are sheep. We used Micropur tablets from Boots, which take up virtually no space. The only problem was having to think ahead, as the treatment takes a couple of hours. Boiling water for a few minutes is the easiest way to treat it, so we usually used suspect water for cooking or tea, and kept our drinking water separate.

We always used old soft drink bottles to carry water rather than anything fancy. They’re very light and easy to replace. Alan liked to mix his water with iced tea powder, available in sachets, which gave him a sugar boost too. We both used rehydration salts if we started to feel dehydrated.

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