Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Stone Bridges to Ski Hills

Today we went for a drive into the Pindos Mountains with Andreas, Irene and Andres Carillo. The Pindos are a mountain chain that extend from north of Greece down into the Peloponnesian Peninsula. The aren't extremely high mountains but right now they are snow covered and they had large areas of pine forests. We drove through a town called Pyli which means "gate" because this town is the gateway into the mountains and also into the valley from the other direction.

On the far side of the town there is an ancient stone bridge. This bridge was built between 1514 and 1527 and until the 20th century it was the only passage across the Pinlieos River from Northern Greece into Thessaly. Travellers and caravans would use this bridge to cross the river. It is unusual in that it has a very high arch and would have been technically difficult to design and build in those days. There are hiking trails into the mountain on the other side of the bridge.
The EEL (Environmental Ergonomics Lab) reunion at Pyli: Andreas Flouris (Ph.D. 2008), Stephen (Big Boss EEL), and Andres Carrillo (M.Sc. 2006).
It's been a very long absence, but at last here's a new handstand picture! Check out the wicked bridge on the right too. That's the start of the climb up to Elati and the ski hill beyond.

We drove up to a small ski resort in the mountains but decided not to snowboard today. The weather was beautiful though, warm (11-12C and sunny). We hoped to stop at a small hotel with a good view of the valley but were unable to get there with the snow-covered road.
Instead we stopped at another small village on the way back, called Elati. Elathos  means pine tree in Greek and above the village of Elati is where the pine forests are located.  We went to a cafe where we all had decadent hot chocolates before the drive home.
 Thirty-two different decadent hot chocolate flavours - even more than the 31 Baskin-Robbins ice creams!

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