Grammos: The Last Stronghold
Kastoria to Kefalochori
“The village mostly survived the Italian and then the German occupation, although the neighbouring village was burnt to the ground and we had to flee into the mountains. But what came later during the Civil War was worse. The village was bombed, the church destroyed, and minefields laid all around. The children were evacuated first, over the border to Albania, and finally the rest of the population fled.”
We spent the night in Slimnitsa, talking to two of those who had fled as children.
As we walked on to Grammos through the deserted and peaceful mountains, it was hard to imagine the terror and despair of those times. From Grammos village, we climbed up to the Dragon Lake among the peaks, and realised our planned route was still snowbound. Thanassis, another child of the left wing diaspora, led us out along an alternative route, looking like an Old Testament prophet with his staff and dogs.
Route: Kastoria, Dipotamia, Slimnitsa, Grammos, Aetomilitsa, Kefalochori