Up the Koubourianitikos river
Matsouki to Leondito
The water of the Koubourianitikos river was running clear. If it had been raining upstream, it would be brown and muddy. Alan was still worried: “We’ll get wet and have to wade up to our waists…” We were staring out at the desolation of the Acheloos dam, with its vast earthworks, pylons and a tunnel to divert water down to the fertile plains of Thessaly. I couldn’t wait to escape. So we headed up the river, crossing again and again, not bothering to take our boots off, the water cool and soothing on our feet. All was peaceful, with not a house in sight – until the sound of a church service broadcast by loudspeaker boomed out from the Spilias monastery on the cliffs high above.
After crossing the high pass over the desolate mountains above Matsouki, it had been an easy walk through the hamlets along the Acheloos river, past the Mesochora Dam and signs protesting “No Acheloos Diversion”. We were now well into autumn, the summer visitors had gone and even the few guest houses and cafes were no longer reliably open: it depended on whether the owners had more pressing business elsewhere. Supper at the occasional café or guest house was usually a family affair, with ourselves the only strangers. After the meal, all would gather round our maps to advise on the proposed route.
Route: Matsouki, Tzourtzia (aka Aghia Paraskevi), Gardiki, Athamania, Armatoliko, Mesochora, Kali Komi, Petroto, Leondito.