Grammos peaks with melting snow

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

Gentle rolling hills and villages: easy walking on Dipotamia road
On the way to Dipotamia
Dog roses and green fields on the road to Dipotamia, like an English spring
Just like the English countryside in springtime
Veryan and Alan beside the Aliakmonos river
Picnic lunch on the way to Slimnitsa
Large bear print in the mud
First bear print, but not the last
Handful of houses at Slimnitsa hamlet
View towards Slimnitsa hamlet
Old stone church with traditional slate roof, Slimnitsa
Slimnitsa church
Track through deserted forest and Grammos foothills
Path from Slimnitsa to Grammos
Blossom and tall trees along beautiful track from Slimnitsa
Slimnitsa to Grammos. Mostly easy walking. on forestry tracks
Deep turquoise dragon lake below Grammos snowy peaks
Dragon Lake
Thanassis, our guide on the path from Grammos to Aetomilitsa
Too much snow for the planned route to Aetomilitsa. Thanassis kindly showed us an alternative.
Snow covered path, Grammos, with scree above and below. Hard to cross.
Tricky crossing: path blocked by scree and hard frozen snow.
Easy walking through alpine meadows of Kiafa pass, avoiding deep snow of Grammos peaks
Path to Aetomilitsa
Summer village of Aetomilitsa below Grammos mountains
Aetomilitsa village

Travelling Slow

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