Archeron River, Greece
Another side of Greece. Going to one of the seven gates to Hell.
Almost an hour away from Preveza, on the west coast of Greece, is the Archeron River. The river's delta is at Ammoudia and flows into the Ionian Sea. The source is near the village of Zoltiko in the Ioannina Regional Unit. You go along winding roads (the usual in Greece), through the town of Archeron, over a bridge, and into a parking area. Just find a place to stop that doesn't block others. Then walk down to the river.
It is humming with activity. There are vendors selling mountain tea, weaved bracelets, and trinkets on both sides of the river. And what can you do? Ride a horse through the water, raft, kayak, zip line and walk or swim in the river and camp. Somehow I never thought of camping in Greece. It must be delightful. Dry, warm, and a gazillion stars.
In Greek mythology Archeron is a river in Hades and the name sometimes refers to the lower world generally. Acheron, traditionally means river of woes. There are other rivers in Greece that have the same name. (Encyclopaedia Britannica). So we were walking to the gates of Hell. (We didn't get there.)
This was in August on a nice hot day, hotter than hell for me. That is the time to go because this river is so cold. The kind of cold where you step into the water up to your ankles and you can feel the cold pain all the way to your hips. (The background of this page is looking down at my sandals in the river. The water is mostly very clear.) It takes a few moments to get accustomed to the cold and then you go numb. And then you start to walk. The river is swiftly flowing and the bottom is mostly little rocks so remember your water shoes and bathing suit. You are walking in a canyon. There are lots of people walking, swimming, jumping off rocks into the pools. You seem to be able to walk a long ways. We spent about a half-hour there and did not ever see the end.
Next we went rafting. It was only about 5 euro per person and was a lot of fun. Not exactly white water rafting but fun enough for us. (Click here to see a video or go to videos) This is an easy way to see along the river and all the activities. At the end of the run, a van was waiting to take us back to the starting point.
Our day ended with lunch at one of the taverns along the river. Wonderful lamb ribs with, of course, Greek salad.
And one amazing, to me, thing was that the next day, I did not have any leg pain from slogging through the water. I guess the cold relieves any inflammation. Lots of people continually dunked themselves in so they knew that. Same as ice hockey players using the ice tank after a workout instead of the hot tub!
From Preveza there are two routes to go along to get to Archeron. One goes along the coast and one goes inland. If you go on the inland one it goes through Zalongo. There is an amazing and very moving statue at the top of a mountain dedicated to the Women of Zalongo. In 1803 these brave women danced and sang and jumped with their children into the canyon below to avoid capture. Take the time to climb the stairs to the top of the cliff where the statue is. It's an amazing view of the countryside but also makes me wonder if I would be that brave.