Headlights of Kalavryta train coming out of narrow rocky tunnel on rack and pinion rails

Beware the trains!

Diakopto to Karitena

Walking along a railway line isn’t easy, especially when the sleepers are laid at irregular intervals and never seem to fit your natural stride. I was following the E4 again, this time from the Gulf of Corinth up into the mountains of the northern Peloponnese. Trains still ran on the single track from Diakopto to Kalavryta, through tunnels and over narrow bridges. There wasn’t much room to pass, and I looked nervously behind as I climbed. Later on, we walked another stretch of the old railway down to Kalamata, now long disused, as it zigzagged through empty country.

It was now the end of October, with people wishing each other “Happy Winter” in the villages, just as they’d wished us “Happy Summer” when we’d started our walk. We were dodging torrential rain, stopping for a whole week while floods devastated the country, with cars washed away in Athens. But the rains brought the autumn flowers, with masses of cyclamen, tiny narcissi and crocuses along the paths, and near our campsite at Ancient Gortys, the only classical ruins we visited.  

The E4 along the railway from Diakopto to Kalavryta
Looking down from the Chelmos foothills to the fertile plains below.
Planitero village, with Mount Chelmos, third highest Peloponnese peak
Ancient plane forest below Planitero
Autumn crocus
Near Klitoria: green and fertile after the first winter rains
Path to Dhara
Holly oak: an improbably prickly shrub. Don’t wear shorts in this area!
Path from Vlacherna to Levidhi
Through the Menalon mountains: from Alonistena to Dimitsana
Traditional water trough from a hollowed tree trunk
Good waymarking, though it was sometimes hard to distinguish between a path and a stream bed.
Church near our campsite at Ancient Gortys
The Asclepeion at Ancient Gortys: the only classical site we passed.
Ancient Gortys, Lousios valley, Peloponnese
Along the Lousios river
So many cyclamen!
Lousios River
The path led along an old irrigation canal. More flowers!

Travelling Slow

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