Title:Ireo Lake/ Travel experience

Κείμενο: Βασίλης Οικονόμου

Translated by George Bitsidis

Trips during winter time run basically around Athens. One of those was in December in a relatively close destination, Iraio or Vouliagmeni lake in the vicinity of Loutraki.

Classic routes in order to approach the lake go through Loutraki and Alepochori. We chose a third one following the outskirts of Gerania Mountain in order to reach the Corinthian Gulf.

A close course but with a level of difficulty as it was proved.

Leaving the highway to Corinth we entered Megara and followed the small signs to Mazi in order to reach the peripheral road.

The route there  was twisty enough with close turns so you could not get much speed. We started our ‘’dance figures’’ in order to avoid many pot holes that were found across the road. The scenery around us was beginning to excite us. Green was the main color in our eyes… valley and a mountain in the distance.

We started climbing Gerania Mountain. It makes you wonder how is it possible to have such beautiful landscapes nearby and not have visited them. The view through the woods kept us full of emotions. The altitude reached 1.000m.

Under the steep slope you could see the houses of Alepochori. To our far right we could see Cithaeron Mountain. It was like a view from an airplane. Thus Gerania Mountain justifies it’s name because in mythology cranes (gerani) escorted Megarus here in order to avoid Defkalion’s cataclysm.

After entering Mazi village we turned left to reach Aegirouses. The road was a steep downhill with lots of moisture, leaves and rocks from recent landslides. Fortunately  the weather was good in relation to the past days where there was a lot  of rain.

The heavy rain of the previous  days showed when we followed the road nearby the sea  towards Schino where on our left  we saw the forest and on our right the sea. Islands in the Corinthian Gulf. Unfortunately, when we left  the village  we realized Much debris that was on the road created small bumps. Our driving had become more careful. The sunless corners had moisture thus couldn’t let us  cherish the serenity of the sea.

In Agia Sotira, we initially chose the right path leading to the sea towards  our destination. We could see the Alkyonides that there was a dirt road with lots  of mud. Not risking getting into trouble, having already seen what the bad weather had caused up to that point, we returned a bit  and chose to climb the mountain, by the tarmac  towards Schino.

The changing landscape from mountain to sea and vice versa was something amazing.

The higher we climbed the more we felt like cranes flying above the trees.

The downhill from Perachora to the lake was sunny and much more open so it gave us the chance to ride our bikes a little harder. It’s as if another god lives there.

Without realizing  it we left the mountain reached the sea and in front of us was the lake. To be exact it is a lagoon sizing 2 to 1 km, since at one point it is joined with the Corinthian Gulf.

..Iraion-Vouliagmeni Lake..

Well known nowadays with both names. During earlier times it was narrated as Eschatiotida, then Gorgopis. The name Gorgopis due to  the mermaid daughter of Megareos and wife of Corinth Gorgi, who was devastated by the news of the death of her children, fell into the lake Eschatiotida and drowned.

Mythology is found in almost all our excursions and gives both a different aura and another feeling.. We learn some things we might never have sought to read.

We continued the road alongside the lake to get to the lighthouse and the archaeological site. The redevelopment works in the area, with elegant paths and information material to everything highlighting  the best way both the remains of the temple of Hera Limenia, next to it the old temple of Hera Akraia, and  the Lighthouse.

The lighthouse in Accra Melagkavi or Faros Ireon leads ships sailing in Corinth and move to the port and the canal of Corinth. The Lighthouse stands imposingly for years there. It was first opened in 1897 and used oil for its energy. During World War II the Lighthouse remained unused.

In 1947, during a reconstruction of the Lighthouse network, it was put in use again using oil for energy. In 1982 the lighthouse was electrified, replacing oil machinery and is working as Monitored.

No words can describe the view from that point; my photos seemed too few to capture the splendor of the scenery … in one direction you can see up to the entrance of the Corinthian canal and in the other, over the Corinthian Gulf.

We were laughing and joking and  Mr. Dimitris Pagoulatos of the Association of Mountaineers and nature lovers  came , who was near the Lighthouse with his friends.

An excellent man with vigor and great humor who gave his own touch to taking photos.

Like children who go on a school trip, one by one we followed the trail to find our bikes but we constantly kept turning our heads to absorb what we could from the beauty of nature.

Fortunately the route to Loutraki was short because apart from the coffee which was needed, we had a meeting with four other team members who, due to work commitments could not follow the whole program.

Coffee by the sea with the sun warming us was the best way to end a short getaway that offered us so much joy  on a Sunday morning during December.