Ioannina 3rd July 2011
Sun 3 Jul 2011 17:52
39:40.67 N 20:50.64 E Elevation 475m
We finally left Parga. It’s a really pretty town with lots of old streets, beautiful beaches, and villages in the surrounding hills with storks’ nests (now with babies) on telegraph poles. We had a couple of attempts to climb the mountain at the back of our campsite, but kept finding ourselves in deep scrub guarded by the biggest spiders’ webs imaginable. So no mountaineering. We did visit a Necromanteio, an eerie place where the ancient Greeks communed with the dead, apparently Odysseus came here during his adventures. But in the end we got fat and lazy, it was all too easy and seasidey, going to the beach for a swim every day, lying in the sun. We have had a surfeit of baked aborigines (see photo) I know it sounds loony, but the novelty did eventually wear off (we were there for 8 days), so we have put ourselves back in travel mode.
So, we got up early this morning and packed up. It’s getting really hot here now, so doing stuff early in the day makes sense. We’ve had a short drive to Ioannina, inland from Parga, and gateway to the Zagororia, a group of ancient villages in the Vikos National Park. It’s Sunday and everywhere is closed, except the trinket shops on the tourist street outside the old town. But the old town is lovely, totally unspoilt, in a peninsula that sticks out on to the lake, with a wall all around. There are Roman ruins inside, but the wall was build in the 18th/19th century by the Albanian Ali Pasha, whom we’ve come across before, in Parga. In the middle of the lake is an island (we probably won’t go) that houses the building where, as an octogenarian, he was shot by the turks. There is a hole in the floorboards that the fateful bullet passed through, and his head was paraded on a spike around Istanbul. We’re sitting now on the lakeside having finished dinner, and everything has gone pink in the sunset. Unusually in this campsite, there are 2 other 4x4 trucks with roof tents (usually we’ve only seen massive German campervans). We have had a little chat about the benefits of roof tents versus separate tents, like ours, think it’s swings and roundabouts.
Tomorrow we are going to try to sort out some hiking in the national park, which has a gorge (the Vikos Gorge) which is “probably” the deepest in the world.