The Lousios gorge really appealed to me, after visiting the Gorges du Verdon in March, I was keen to see how this gorge would compare.
I headed for Karytaina, a small village by the river Alpheios (the longest in the Peloponnese), the Lousios is a tributary of the Alpheios. Karytaina is built on the side of a hill and is reached via its climbing meandering road, which spews out fantastic vista after fantastic vista.
The village is watched over by the ruined, long since deserted, 13th century Frankish castle, which last played a role in the Greek war of independence. But for now, it just seems to stand, waiting and watching…
I walked the short distance to the castle, whilst the ground is quite slippy in places (yes, we are back to slippery stones again) and some of the steps tricky to traverse, a platform has been added, which makes easy work of the steep ascent. At the time of my visit, there was no entrance fee.
The views of the countryside from the castle ramparts is breathtaking and worth a quick stopover to take them in.
As usual, I visited a local taverna for refreshments, where the reception was warm and friendly, unlike their drinks which were icy cold. I could have stayed all afternoon drinking in the views of the countryside, but alas, I had but one objective, to experience the Lousios gorge.
During my conversation with the taverna’s owner, I asked for directions to the Lousios gorge. I was told it would take me about 20 minutes to reach Ancient Gortys and whilst the road was narrow and uneven, it would be passable if I was careful.
I set off and it wasn’t long before I passed Kokkoras bridge, it seemed rude not to stop and take some photos. The Kokkoras bridge is situated at the southern end of the gorge and are the only photographs I took of the Lousios river and gorge.
I followed my instructions for Ancient Gortys, after a few wrong turns, several miles of driving on tight precarious mountain roads that funneled me though small village after small village, I reached the correct road. The road was indeed very narrow, steep and uneven, it wasn’t really appropriate for a motorhome, but I’m always up for an adventure and the motorhome is yet to let me down. I reached the end of the road to find it blocked, as I viewed the carpark on the other side, I realised I was on the wrong side of the river. With nowhere to park, I proceeded to reverse up the very same narrow, steep uneven road.
The frustration of seeing my destination, but not being able to reach it was mounting. Both Google Maps and my Sat Nav were playing up in the mountainous terrain. I know at this point I should have headed for Dimitsana, a traditional set off point for the Lousios gorge. But in my head I saw me struggling to navigate its narrow streets and this was a big turn off. As I drove back to Karytaina I realised where I had stopped at Kokkoras Bridge, would have been the perfect spot in which to explore the gorge, unfortunately, several cars had eaten up the available parking spaces and I was forced to continue.
The views of the regional landscape were comparable to those in Provence (Gorges du Verdon), but because of my failure to really explore the Lousios gorge, I am unable to offer an informative comparison. Sometimes, somethings are just not meant to be. But little did I know that my failure at Lousios gorge was leading to me to one of the jewels of the Peloponnese.
Jusqu’à la prochaine fois.