This is a getaway story of how to spend a wonderful weekend in the heart of Peloponnese.
Tell someone in Greece you want to visit Pinios Lake and most probably they ‘ll think you mean the very famous Larisa’s River Pinios. Well, there is another not so well-known river in Peloponnese which actually forms an artificial homonym lake. It’s not weird people are not familiar with its existence as there is no touristic infrastructure anywhere near…
Although it could have, it has some nice views that a lot of people would admire, unless they had already seen other more picturesque lakes as Kerkini, Plastira or as we ‘ll see next..Ladona.
Not far from there, about an hour drive, get lost in the marvelous oak forest of Foloi and you will not regret it.
A most famous forest for hiking and mushroom hunting.
I was lucky enough to visit it at sunset which gave me tons of pictures of the sun rays penetrating through the trees, a shadows game.
There is a nice picnic area right before the Foloi village where you could enjoy a stop, eat, play, relax…
If that stop was after the forest as I passed through I would have spent the night there but it wasn’t so I chose to stop over near Ladonas River so I would be close to the lake the next morning.
The van was set on the river bank next to a kayak center and the mushroom soup was getting ready on the stove. Apparently, locals are not very used to visits from strangers during the night and they were intrigued or scared by this foreigner. They approached by car a couple of times without saying hello, or mostly they stood far observing this alien. Unfortunately, fear is contagious, so feeling uncomfortable by this unfriendly company, I decided to move to another place. And I am very glad I did.
I had heard of a lady, Kanela is her name (which means cinnamon) who was the hostess of a cozy tavern on the lake Ladonas, a painter and a farmer. She also used to organize festivals of jazz and blues music, people would gather and stay in tents on the lake, so I thought that should be a friendly place to park the van.
As I expected, the tavern looked closed for winter, or I thought so. Still, there was a light so I said “Hello, are you open?” and a nice lady opened the door and welcomed me by the fireplace, where we enjoyed some good wine. It turned out that this lady had a long story to tell about how she started up the truly cozy tavern by the lake, how she spent about 15 years in pure joy and happiness and how she was accused by locals for numerous things that resulted in the closure of the tavern the past 5 years. No need to say much about what I think; anyone who is familiar with the conservatism and malice of some people of the Greek country side knows.
She kindly showed me a nice place by the lake to park the van, -I had a great sleep out there and I just couldn’t wait for the sunrise to finally see the scenery!
As I expected it, it was indescribable. I enjoyed with Kanela a coffee in the sun and the constant change of the scenery, according to the sunlight.
I had never witnessed before such a continuous change of the colors of a place, so I kept shooting photos again and again.
A sit was getting noon I decided to continue my wondering, I passed by the Kyras Gefyri (Lady’s Bridge) and headed to the villages of Gortynia.
At the village of Viziki there is a gravel road that takes to Akova Castle, which actually doesn’t exist anymore but it is an interesting ride.
The most interesting village of Gortynia area is Lagadia. Still, I preferred to admire it from far while I enjoyed some scrambled eggs in a very very cold evening that gave me enough energy to get back home.