25-29 of June, 2010

Tymfi is a very varied mountain in the far north-west corner of Greece. The main ridge is really spectacular and surrounded by two very impressive gorges: Vikos and Aoos.

Day 1: Monodendri & Oxia

Morning bus from Thessaloniki to Ioannina, and then a bus to Monodendri.
We started out by walking to the Aghias Paraskevi monastery.


View from Aghias Paraskevi monastery towards Meghas Lakkos gorge (a side-gorge to the Vikos gorge)


A fat green lizard (the largest lizard in Europe)
crossed our path. It was a female, as the chin was not blue.


The path continued after the monastery to a cave


An easy path, but not suitable for
people that are afraid of heights...


We returned to Monodendri to eat in our hotel restaurant.
Then we hitched a ride to the Oxia viewpoint, planning
to walk back to the village.


View into the mighty Vikos gorge.


The Vikos gorge runs from right to left (for about 12 km)
and the canyon in the middle is a side-gorge called Meghas Lakkos.
The view was just inbelievable...


There was supposed to be a marked path back to Monodendri, but we couldn't find any markings. Just two signs on the car road...
But we managed to find an old well-preserved "kalderimi" that was excellent!


Day 2: Monodendri - Vikos gorge - Mikro Papigo


Descending into the Vikos gorge


At the bottom of the gorge.


The rich vegetation inside the gorge is lush and exotic.
It felt like a forgotten world of pristine nature.


A huge clinging plant


The clinging plant from below






Very impressive vertical walls...


We saw plenty of birds, some species that we had never seen before.


One of few "tricky" parts of the easy trail...


The Klima spring


Fancy a swim?
The springs at Voidoimats was a paradise...


More interesting vegetation...


Flowers of all sizes, shapes and colours...


Wild oregano. We also found mynth, thymes, and several other herbs


Arriving at Mikro Papigo village.
Here we saw an old woman herding a group of goats.


The village felt like it was still an active farming village.
It was very picturesque with the mighty Astraka cliffs as a backdrop.


Beer and dinner at a restaurant


In the evening we camped and made tea from herbs that we picked ourselves.


Day 3: Mikro Papigo - Astraka hut - Gamila peak

Ascending throug pastures and cedar forest


The Astraka hut. This is the only mountain hut in Tymfi, and it's perfectly situated for exploring the alpine part of the mountain.


The Astraka hut is visible on top of the ridge in the background. A dog from the hut followed us, as we hiked towards Gamila peak (2497 m)


The limestone carst was full of interesting formations


Astraka peak and grazing cows


These patterns were common in the rocks


A very hostile landscape...


Sharp rocks


Spring flowers at high altitude


Gentiana flowers


Still snow


This photo is taken from the saddle just below Gamila peak.


Gamila peak in the background


Gamila has an amazing shape. Very easy to climb from one direction, but impossible from every other...


Click to view panorama


A large bug...


This cave was full of ravens.
As we approached the birds escaped further down into the deep.


It started to rain, thunder and hail. We pitched our tent in a meadow and prepared some dinner.

The dog refused to leave us. With the rain and cold we wondered if it would survuve the night. So I walked it almost all the way up to the Astraka hut and left it there. I returned to the tent only to find the dog 10 meters behind me... It stayed outside our tent all night and survived well :)


Day 4: To the Stomio monastery

We woke up in perfect weather.


Astraka peak (2436 m)


Walking towards the Drakolimni lake, the clouds started to grow


A camouflaged frog


Drakolmni lake with Gamila peak in the background


Click to view panorama


A tiny salamander


The lake turned out to be full of them


A salamander catching a fly


A hanging pine on the rocks...


A chamois got surprised by us and started to run away. I filmed him with my video camera - I will put the film here soon :)


This is where we will walk down




It looked almost impossible, but the trail was not difficult






Now the trail entered some very nice forests, with cliffs towering above


"Pepparmynta" in Swedish...


While standing here I thought I heard a grumpy noise.
A bear? We listened and heard a large animal walk away from us
in the forest below, perhaps 50 meters away...


Bear spillings? We know there are bears in the area.
So it could very well had been a bear that we heard...


Upside down?


Greek mountain tea!
We have nevery found this plant in the wild before.
It is famous all over the Balkans for its healing powers :)


A gigantic pine tree.


Looking up towards Gamila peak


A glimse of the Stomio monastery


The monastery is situated at an amazing spot in the Aoos gorge.


A view of the impressive Aoos gorge from the monastery


Another view from the monastery of the surrounding wilderness


A big fat ugly toad near our campsite...


Day 5: Stomio monastery - Konitsa


This day we just walked slowly for about 2 hours,
following the beautiful Aoos river






The old bridge near Konitsa


Finishing off with a meal and Retsina in Konitsa!