Written by Bill Economou
Translate by Theodoros Grekos
North Evia – St John The Russian – Drimonas Waterfalls
It is Sunday morning and we are on time at the meeting point, for another excursion with the T-Motoriders.
Many members had already gathered and the magnificent weather was providing the circumstances for yet another successful ride.
That Sunday our destination was Northern Evia. We would visit the church of Saint John the Russian (“Agios Ioannis o Rossos”) situated at the village called Prokopi, then we would go for coffee and doughnuts at the famous “Aleksiou” (caffeteria-restaurant) and we would end up at the “Drimmona waterfall”, a few minutes outside the homonymous village
We began the trip with many new people in our group, that we had not traveled with ever before, but also with a non-experienced rider, who was riding his Street Triple for the first time outside Attica.
Three kilometers after the new Chalkida bridge, after the traffic lights, we followed the road to the Northern Evia axis (Chalkida-Edipsos road).
We passed through Nea Artaki and the Psachna wetland, where the ebb-tide had already made its presence noticeable.
Between the wetland and Psachna, after the two traffic lights, we followed the path on the left, aiming to go through a “circuit” of endless consecutive turns of approximately 30 kilometers. The wide left turns were succeeded by tight right ones, which were followed by left “U” turns. The same scenery again and again!
Despite the fact that it was after 11 o’clock am, humidity was present at some shadowy parts of the road. It was there, where extra caution was needed by all of us.
Before 12 o’clock, the last member and the “broom” in front of the chrurch’s yard. In 1930 a temple in honor of the Saint began being built. After its completion in 1951, it hosted the Saint’s Holy body.
According to history, “Agios Ioannis o Rossos” was born in 1690.
He participated in the Turkish-Russian war (1711), which lasted 7 years and resulted in thousands of Russian soldiers being held captive by the Tatars. Among them was the young, at the time, soldier John. The Tatars sold John to a Turkish cavalry officer, Omer Aga from Prokopio of Asia Minor, a city that was built on an altitude of 1.200 meters, 60 kilometers far from Caesaria, Kappadokia.
Many soldiers renounced their orthodox religion under the threats of the non-Christian Turks. They were tempted by the gifts and the promises of the Muslims (Agarins).
Omer appointed John as a stable boy. John’s living conditions were very harsh. He was sleeping at his master’s stable, with the animals whose care he was in charge of.
He would barely eat, wore poor clothes and was forced to walk without shoes.
Wishing to honor John for his services, the Turk offered to improve his living conditions. But John denied and kept on taking care of his master’s animals and living in the stable. “Agios Ioannis o Rossos” lived the rest of his life working during the day and praying during the night, until May 27 th of 1730, the time of his death at the age of 40.
During the Hellenic-Turkish population swap in 1924, the holy remains of “Agios Ioannis o Rossos” were transferred to Neo Prokopi of Evia. The place where the Greeks living in Asia Minor’s Prokopi settled.
After paying our respects we left the church heading for coffee at the famous “Aleksiou” cafeteria, which is situated a few kilometers away, on the way to Agia Anna.
A well known destination to all motorcyclists, because after the whirling road, you can drink you coffee and rest a while, before heading back.
Most of us ordered Greek doughnuts with chocolate. Of course, they may be called like this, but for the…taste experts, what is served is “svigos” (a kind of puffed pastry). Actually, fried “svigos” is something like “loukoumas” with plenty dough, but is not suitable for fasting since it contains butter and eggs.
Some of the T-Motoriders had to work in the afternoon and others had other obligations. So, 4 motorcycles took the way back early.
The rest of us headed for the waterfall.
Our destination has two choices of approaching. Our choice was to approach it from “Agia Anna” and return from “Osios David” and “Limni” of Evia.
The distance from Prokopi to the waterfall, through Agia Anna, is approximately 40 kilometers. The alternative route, through Limni and Osios David, is around 50 kilometers.
The Drimona waterfall is a site of endless natural beauty.
The beautiful waterfall is situated at an altitude of 620 meters, 4 kilometers far from the Monastery of Osios David, following the route that begins from “Rovies”. The ride continues through an environment that is full of vegetation.
There are two stories of where the particular area’s name derives from. The first, is that it took its name from the thick, full of oak (“driss” (δρυς) in Greek) trees forest surrounding it.
The second one, is that the name derives from the Greek word “drimi” (δριμύ), as in the severe (δριμύ) cold in the area during the winter months.
We parked our motorcycles at the parking area and we followed the designated paths leading to the waterfall, occasionally supporting ourselves with the ropes and wooden bars during the descend. After all, the very well prepared paths are ideal for hikers.
There, they will also find signs about the different species of trees and bushes of the surrounding area.
The river “Sipias” creates a majestic spectacle flowing its waters on the dream like waterfall. The water falls in loud noise and impulse from 15 meters high in a crystal lake surrounded by rocks and forest. This plant-full lake is of great ecological importance due to its thick fir forest that surrounds it and is combined with the rare beauty of the black pine trees.
Enjoying the spectacle, we took photographs with the beautiful scenery in the background.
Short of breath, we hiked back to the parking area, where we took a commemorative group photograph with our loved ones (our motorcycles of course!). Slowly, we started heading back.
The road until “Limni” of Evia was a real riding pleasure.
We filled our gas tanks just before the junction with Limni and we continued on our way back.