After a long time, we decided to have a tour outside Athens. The ominous weather forecasts were not enough to hold us out of our Sunday plan of ride. Trikala of Corinthos had been selected as a destination, as also the widen area of Zyria. The meeting point was at the gas station on the 30th kilometer of the National Road Athens – Corinthos. In this ride, 3 additional friends accompanied us: George N. (BMW 1200GS) and Fotis with Eleni (Yamaha TDM 900). En route and at the junction of Xylokastro, we also met George Z. (Honda VFR 750) from Nafplio, with whom we gave an appointment.
All of us travelled the 120 km of the boring highway till we turned at the junction for “Xylokastro – Trikala”. From there and on the –thin and relatively not good quality- road started climbing up, heading for the Kyllini mountain, also known as “Zyria”. From the very first kilometers after the junction, we were forced to wear rainproof gear. Our eyes were staring the snowy mountaintops of the nearby mountain, which we could barely see through the thick clouds.
We crossed some not-so-interesting settlements and villages in a terrain with low sprouting and olive trees. At about 1000 meters altitude, we reached the settlements of Trikala. Trikala are consisted on 3 different settlements (Upper, Lower and middle Trikala) which are considered as tourist destinations with a plethora of traditional housings and taverns. All of them offer a panoramic view which is amazing. At the end of the mountainous rocks, one can also notice the sea at the far end.
Following the signs for “Zyria”, we’ve reached Upper Trikala (1050m), the most familiar settlement of all three and by far, the one with the best view. We continued through a helix route where the first pine-trees appeared, that as we drove through, were replaced by fir-trees. After the Ag. Vlasiou monastery, we met the first snowy areas along the road. The scenery was fantastic! We stopped for a few photos and some of us grabbed the opportunity for a quick snowballing. In a nearby distance, there was an observation spot which offered a magnificent view of the snowy mountain.
We continued our route and after crossing approximately 35-40 km from the Xylokastro junction, we reached the tableland of Zyria skiing center. Of course, the skiing center was not opened, due to lack of snow.
None the less, the chalet was opened and fully crowded! By the time we came close to the chalet, the first snow starting to fall!! We rushed inside the chalet for a nice warm coffee, watching the outside view…
Weather was totally unpredictable, since from snowing we ended up with a nice sunny weather. So we discussed the possibility to follow a dirt road in good condition (even though the first information said that it was a newly asphalt road…) which ended up to Goura, crossing through the perimeter of the mountain Killini. Once we started our driving, it started to rain again. We followed the sign for Goura (at the junction just before the skiing center). The dirt road ahead started getting thicker and thicker and the route was in between an area full of fir-trees. We also came towards some areas of the road covered with snow, making us to go through the already stepped-in parts of the snow. After 2km –while it was already snowing for good- we reached at a point that we considered that it was impossible to proceed ahead. So we all ended up with a decision to return, in order not to get into “trouble”. Apart from the fact that the weather was unstable, the route was credible and passable. We promised to ourselves that we will end this up, sometime in the future…
We decided to try the local kitchen, at a nearby warm and nice taverna in Upper Trikala. With all the talking, joking and teasing, time flied without noticing it. In the meantime, the weather had already changed again. The sunny and clear sky gave another perspective view in the scenery.
Around 4:30pm we decided to start driving our way back. At the road that goes through the sea-side of Xylokastro, we made our last stop for a coffee, before starting travelling to Athens.
Zyria is a magnificent area, composing a very good destination for a one-day trip. The ones that do not have issues stepping on dirt-roads will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful trips, through thick sprouting and panoramic view. One can also drive across the mountain Killini (through passable dirt-road) and pay a visit at lake Doksis. Additionally, near the skiing center, there’s the small lake of Dasiou. All the above in just 140-150 km from Athens!
We wish to enjoy plenty of trips through 2009 and the one-day trip to Zyria to be the beginning for safe and beautiful kilometers, full of adventure. Happy new year…