Once the introductory meal at Dionysos, with members getting to know each other, had concluded, Graham gave a brief overview of the itinerary for the days ahead. It was noted that the spring had been late this year but there would be a diversity of species including fritillaries, orchids and tulips to discover. The trip would enable MPG members to experience the natural beauty and the biodiversity of the area. This included the Pindus mountains, Vikos Gorge, wildflower meadows, forests and amazing rock formations, plus visits to traditional villages, cultural monuments and institutions. The area has a strong cultural heritage and identity with Sarakatsani people who historically have lived in a degree of isolation in the Pindus mountains.
Monday 29 May
Monodendri – the village in which we stayed – is a starting point for trekking paths into the Vikos Gorge. After a short bus ride we arrived at Oxya to start the walk through the Stone Forest. This is an amazing spectacle of limestone formations located among a forest of oaks and maples. There are natural formations of huge slabs of limestone rocks stacked up on top of each other. A very impressive sight created over thousands of years.