Save Epirus Project

Epirus is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe. It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea, stretching from the Bay of Vlorë and the Acroceraunian mountains in the north to the Ambracian Gulf and the ruined Roman city of Nicopolis in the south.

A rugged and mountainous region, Epirus was the north-west area of ancient Greece. It was inhabited by the Greek tribes of the Chaonians, Molossians, and Thesprotians, and home to the sanctuary of Dodona, the oldest ancient Greek oracle, and the most prestigious one after Delphi. Unified into a single state in 370 BC by the Aeacidae dynasty, Epirus achieved fame during the reign of Pyrrhus of Epirus who fought the Roman Republic in a series of campaigns. Epirus subsequently became part of the Roman Republic along with the rest of Greece in 146 BC, which was followed by the Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire.

Epirus is facing a threat with catastrophic consequences for the environment, livestock farming, crops, livestock farming, and the ever-growing tourist product. Exports of hydrocarbons (oil and gas) pose a threat to public health and a serious deterioration of the protected areas of Epirus.

Epirus is one of the few areas in Europe that has such healthy ecosystems. Epirus has the richest and cleanest water reserves in Greece, which are in turn at risk.

The inhabitants of Epirus respond to these plans, forming an opposition movement of thousands of people who raise the issue at local, national and international level. Greater environmental organizations in the country and Greenpeace have been actively involved in the struggle of the local community as well as in all the collective organs of migrant Epirus.

By supporting the actions and by actively participating in this struggle, we help to preserve for us and the next generations the hydrological center of the country, the national parks with the rare animal species, the products with quality characteristics and the hygiene of the people living in this place.

Say No to Oil and Gas Extraction!

At a time when fuel is coming to an end, it is absurd for such an intervention to take place in Epirus. You can get all the latest news, help, support and follow the Save Epirus Project at their Social media links.

Meet Gregorio


All images in this article are provided by our friend, Mountain Engineer, Ocean Enthusiast and Coffee Lover Gregorio Papageorgiou Anriquez, a Commander of the Merchant Navy, with an origin from Epirus and Argentina!

He declares that he loves the sea and travels with his motorcycle around the world, hence the plethora of his photos from all over the world. Support his passion by following his Instagram account.

Epirus Awareness Ride


Both founding members Angelo and Paris Baltoyannis are originated from Epirus, so our involvement is personal. All Mythical Routes contributors are genuine ambassadors of the Adventure Life. We love to wander with our adventure motorcycles traversing every corner of Greece, trying to capture the natural beauty and essence of our landscape and our culture.

We are planning an Epirus Awarness Ride this summer with riding, hiking, camping and other epic activites that we hope will showcase this natural treasure and help protect the future of Epirus.

Our Team

We are Mythical Routes, an Adventure Motorcycle Tour Operator, located in Glyfada/Athens, Greece. We are organizing motorcycle Expeditions that connect the most important archeological sites with each-other, giving emphasis on the riding experience. Our Adventures are gravel oriented on large displacement motorcycles and showcase the beauty and the hidden historical facts of the Ancient Hellenic World with the broader geographical meaning of the term.

Our belief is that only when you ride with a local you can see the true face of this country

In our Expeditions, you are always accompanied by one of our highly skilled Tour Guides and can be provided with a 4×4 Support Vehicle if required. When you visit Greece without your motorcycle, you can always Rent A Ride from us, fully prepared with everything needed to join our Mythical Expeditions.

 

FOUNDERS and tour LEADERS

Angelo Baltoyannis | MSc Architect, Urban Planner and Tour Leader (CEO)

Angelo has studied Architecture in Rome, Italy (Sapienza Università) and graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the National Technical University of Greece (NTUA). He has done postgraduate studies in Planning and Bioclimatic Architecture. Since 2003 he was professionally engaged in many established architectural/construction offices and in 2010 he co-founded ArchiCulture, an architectural office in Glyfada, Greece.
Alongside with his work, the passion for the adventure and motorcycling has been constant for the last 20 years. He has traveled all around Europe, participated in many national Trail Rides and co-hosted multiple non-profit Adventure and Off-road rides, like the March Moto Madness Worldwide Adventure Rally Greece and the Adventure Rider Rally Greece.
Last, from 2016 he is a KLiM & Enduristan Ambassador and being very passionate about adventure motorcycles, is engaged as an Adventure Event Planner and Historical Tour Guide for Mythical Routes.

Read more about the life and work of Angelo here

Paris Baltoyannis | Landscape Architect and Tour Leader (CFO)

Paris graduated from the Technological Educational Institute of Epirus, Greece (TEI of Epirus) as a Landscape Architect and from the Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Greece (TEI of Athens) as an Interior Designer. He has done postgraduate studies in the Accademia Albertina delle Belle Arti in Turin, Italy in Decoration and Scenography. In 2004-2005 he was occupied in the Environmental Administration of Municipality of Voula, Greece and then co-founded ArchiCulture in Glyfada, Greece.
Alongside with his work, the passion for the adventure and motorcycling has been constant for the last 15 years. He has traveled in many countries, participated in many national Trail Rides and co-hosted multiple non-profit Adventure and Off-road rides, like the March Moto Madness Worldwide Adventure Rally Greece and the Adventure Rider Rally Greece.
Last, from 2016 he is a KLiM & Enduristan Ambassador and being very passionate about adventure motorcycles, is engaged as an Adventure Event Planner and Off-Road Tour Guide for Mythical Routes.

Read more about the life and work of Paris here

tour guides and Staff

Vasilis Boudros | BMW Motorrad Instructor (IIA) and Tour Guide

Vasilis is serious Rally Expert with many National and Balkan Rally wins in the last decade. He is also a serious enduro rider, always searching for new trails and owner of the Enduro Training and Touring company Enduro Greece.

In 2019 Vasilis got an official partnership with BMW Motorrad Hellas and is an official BMW Motorrad Academy (IIA) Instructor and part of our New Riders training program. This way we can train any newcomer to the adventure motorcycle community and guarantee that he has obtained all the basic necessary skills to participate in our Adventure Tours.

 

Konstantinos Tsigaras | Interior Design Architect and Tour Guide

Konstantinos has studied interior architecture and graphics design at the Middlesex University and is currently working in the field of consulting and real estate. Konstantinos is a real motorcycle enthusiast and has worked as a tour guide assistant for Most Wanted Warehouse | Klim Greece for the last four years.

He is a communications asset, speaking Czech, English, Greek and Russian and is always willing to help in any way. He is definitely an indispensable part of any motorcycle adventure.

You can check out his LinkedIn profile here

Ioanna Biziota | MSc Psychologist and Communications Manager

Ioanna studied psychology at Bedfordshire University and completed a Masters Degree in the Metropolitan University of London. She obtained a certificate of professional competence in 2003 and since then she has worked for several multinational companies in Greece in the department of communications and public relations.

From 2016 she has been actively involved in the KMOP “Live Without Bullying” project that aims at preventing and combating school and cyberbullying.

From 2018 Ioanna has been a great contributor to our team, undertaking the task of communications, since we are spending more and more time freeriding the mountains of Greece.

You can check out her web page here

Thanasis Giortsios | Safety Expert and Support 4×4

Thanasis is our Safety Expert and 4×4 support vehicle driver and is always on our side when vehicle support is required. His long experience in 4×4s and cheerful character make him an indispensable part of longer expeditions.

Thanassis is also responsible for all camp-preparations. Builds the fire, secures the tents and preps the dinner. His skills do not end there! He is an enthusiast photographer as well, always willing to try something new just for that killer shot.

You can check his Instagram page here

 

Scientific Contributors

George Baltoyannis | Architect, Researcher and Historical Author

cv_georgeGeorge studied and graduated in the faculty of Architecture in Rome, Italy (Sapienza Università) and took part in many exhibitions (Margutta – San Luca – Artecom – Palazzo Delle Esposizioni etc.). He returned to Athens in 1970 and dealt with architecture as a freelancer and at the same time as an employee in succession at the Greek Ministry of Defense (Pentagon), National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and the Autonomous Building Officers Organization (AOOA).

With more than 30 years of Historical research on the relation between Ancient Architecture and Ancient Religion, George is the writer of the Best Seller books:

  • Dionysus Revelation (ed. Aldebaran – Athens 1997)
  • Acropolis through the blue eyes of the goddess Athena (ed. Aldebaran – Athens 1998)
  • Sacred Architecture (ed. Esoptron – Athens 2002)
  • Holy Sacramental Journey to Greece (ed. Esoptron – Athens 2005)
  • Sacred Astronomy (ed. Esoptron – Athens 2008)

Read more about the life and work of George here

Stavros Triantafyllidis | Dr. Geologist and Lecturer at the NTUA University

cv_stavrosStavros is a Researcher and Lecturer at the NTUA – Greek National Technical University (School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering). He will be adding a geological profile to all the mountains from which we will pass and provide GPS data information.

Stavros is also a rider, so he will be joining us for some field activities that will take him away from his work in the university.

 

Technical contributors

Alexander Haritakis | Videographer and Video Editor

Alexander has a bachelor in music performance from thames valley university london.As a musician he has toured with different bands around europe for many years.For the past 10 years he has been combining his music and sound engineering knowledge along with video editing and has produced several action sport videos and documentaries.

An avid enduro rider with 15 years of experience in dirt riding he combines all of these skills to shoot for the mythical routes team!

You can check his work here

 

Alexander Ioannidis | Web Designer and Developer

cv_alexAlex is our Website Developer and the silent force behind the Mythical Routes website. We are constantly challenging him with new requirements of the MR website and he is always delivering!

Alex is a bicycle aficionado and a racer.

You can check out his work here

Tour FAQs

What time of year can I do a Mythical Routes Adventure?

The best time for Adventure travel in Greece is between the months of May to December. The routes can be done between January and March, but snow-pack in the mountains may keep you from doing the entire route as planned. Always consider that the Greek summer (June to August) is very hot and you might experience extreme temperatures, up to 38-45 degrees Celsius.

How long does it take to ride each route?

Most people average 150-200 km a day on mixed back-country / off-road motorcycle routes. If you can ride 6 to 8 hours every day, then most routes would take 4-6 days to cover, with the exception of the Athenian Riviera tour (God of Atlantis), but it depends on road and weather conditions at the time.

What ancient Greek historical sites will we visit?

We are the most scientifically qualified and technically trained Motorcycle Adventure Travel Company in Greece. Our scientific team and Tour Guides are educated at least by a higher training institution and all of what we showcase is certified by public organizations like the University of Aquila in Italy and the University of Ioannina in Greece. Our cooperation with some departments of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) helps us built solid adventures based on facts and scientific knowledge.

In our Tours, we will be visiting all important Hellenic archeological sites, both famous Greek jewels and well-hidden ancient secrets.

Furthermore, our staff and guides are photography professionals and/or enthusiasts, and we are working closely with Nikon Greece. So, if requested, photography workshops or photography projects can be planned.

How difficult is the riding in your Adventures?

All our routes are designed with the average rider in mind, so there are no single-tracks. All routes can be ridden on any adventure and/or dual-sport motorcycle, from the KTM 690 Enduro to the BMW R1200GSA. Many of the tracks are in remote areas and reach a high elevation where road maintenance is minimal if non-existent. You can expect to cover sections of road with deep ruts, loose rocks, and other challenges. You may also encounter sections that have trees or branches over the road.

Enduro Training

If you are new to off-road riding on big adventure motorcycles, we can arrange for a single-day Enduro Training on the BMW F850GS or the R1200GS. You can also opt for a tarmac only tour, but you will be missing all the fun!

What motorcycle should I use?

Any adventure or dual-sport motorcycle that is road registered, carries a license plate, runs DOT approved knobby tires, is capable of carrying luggage for all the gear you will need and has a fuel range of minimum 240 km between gas stops is suitable for our routes. Keep in mind that for the most part, Greece has rocky soil, so well maintained and properly set-up suspension is required. You might have to cross a small river with very rocky soil, so weight distribution is crucial.

If your motorcycle is not ready or suitable for our tours you can always Rent a Ride from us. We can provide almost any motorcycle from the GS range, like the versatile F850GS Rally we are currently using as a Tour Leader Guide motorcycle, the mighty R1200GS Rally or the R1200GSA beast.

Rent a Ride

The GS range is perfect for Greece’s terrain featuring a high loading capacity, ease of use and top of the line rider comfort. Read about what is the best choise for you in our article Adventure Motorcycles.

What about accommodation?

We always provide two options for accommodation. A budget solution where you can visit many cosmopolitan locations for a walk or a dinner but have to ride back to a more isolated hotel location, or the all-inclusive luxury option where you always stay overnight in these cosmopolitan villages.

If you want to make the best of your trip to Greece, we believe that it is important not to miss locations like the one above.

How far between gas stops?

A mileage of 200 km between refuels will get you covered in the majority of the routes, but carrying extra gas safely in Rotopax canisters is always recommended since you could deviate from the route because of extreme weather conditions.

Is there water on the route?

There are many water sources along the routes, but carrying extra water is necessary. A Klim 2-3lt Hydration Pack that is provided in our all-inclusive package, will get you covered until the next water source. Some of these sources are marked on the route, but almost any running water found in Greece is suitable for drinking.

Is there cell phone coverage along the routes?

Deep inside national forests or mountain ridges, there will be long sections with no cellular coverage at all. Getting near any of the many villages will help you get rather good reception.

Where can I find the GPS tracks for each route?

If you are using your own motorcycle, GPS tracks for our Mythical Routes Adventures can be provided the day before departure. Any modern GPS unit capable of displaying a minimum of 500 points each is suitable for use.

In any case, if you are renting a motorcycle from us or using your own, there will always be leading Tour Guide that wil take care of navigation for you.

Do I have to camp?

As a general rule free-camping and Campfires are not allowed in Greece, but the majority of the Greek Adventure Community is doing it. In each of our routes, we have suggestions for free-camping locations or overnight stays in Mountain Refuges. Hotels are always the default option, except if the client requests the one night “free-camping experience”.

What about wild animals?

Greece is one of the safest countries concerning wild animals, with only a very small number of brown bears, wolves, and vipers. Also, 95% of snakes in Greece are completely harmless, but keep your distance just to be safe, since antivenom treatment is hard to find in remote areas. Safe food practices while camping is strongly advised.

Are the routes suitable for 4×4 vehicles?

Our routes, for the most part, are doable in ATVs and 4×4 vehicles with adequate tires and clearance. You must always keep in mind is that the trail conditions can change dramatically due to rain and flash floods which cause the roads to become difficult or even unpassable.

All of our Tours come with a leading Tour Guide rider and the possibility of a 4×4 Support Vehicle if required.

If you have any more questions, just contact us!

Adventure Motorcycles

Definition

We must first define the word “Adventure Bike“. A motorcycle can be attributed with the term “adventure” if it can help you live your Adventure. Your definition of Adventure that is. For some people crossing vast distances in relatively small time is an “Adventure”. For some “Adventure” doesn’t happen before they hit the trail (fire-roads mainly). Finally, there are those that just love the hard technical stuff.

ADV-04

Big Twins eat miles like cookies and carry weight without any problem

The main thing all these types have in common is the period of this Adventure. We are not talking for a 20km single track here. This is “Enduro” and not “Adventure”. So we have to consider bikes that have an emphasis on long-range performance. We would exclude any 250 cc bike because they lack the ability to cruise comfortably at higher speeds (especially carrying luggage) and can have reduced engine life if ridden frequently on the highway.

Experience

Another important factor is “Experience“. Some may be completely new to riding, while others have many years of experience on other types of motorcycles. A KTM 950 Super Enduro, for example, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

1280x820_traverse2017

One of the most versatile Adventure Bikes ever built

These days, there are a lot of different Adventure Bikes on the market to choose from and choosing the right bike for your individual needs can be challenging. For the not so experienced riders, choosing a large single cylinder bike might be the best way to go. A DRZ400, KTM 690 or Husky 701 would be great when the going gets tough and have excellent all-around characteristics. Same goes for the not so gifted in body height. On the other hand, if your Adventures are 70% road / 30% off-road, then a big V-twin would be a nice bet.

The must-have list

Considering all the above, a proper “Adventure Bike” is the one that takes you to new far away locations, lets you spend at least a night under the stars, makes your life easy when unexpected things keep coming your way (it’s an adventure, remember?), makes you feel alive and happy. So, a proper Adventure Bike should:

  1. Be able to carry all your gear. Camping gear, clothes, extra fuel, personal hygiene stuff, etc.
  2. Have good tune-able off-road suspension. The gear that you carry varies in every adventure ride you take, so should the suspension change.
  3. Have at least a 7500 km oil change interval.
  4. Have at least a 250 km fuel range (a 400-450 km range would be just perfect).
  5. Have 50-100 hp for off-road use. There is absolutely no need for 160+ hp behemoths in the middle of a forest!
  6. Be less than 200 kg fully loaded. This is really difficult to accomplish when opting for large cc twins, but in the world of Adventure-Biking, we all have to make compromises according to our needs, the terrain that we are going to travel and the gear that we want to carry.

Try getting out of this!

Always keep in mind that if you can not pick up your bike fully loaded in any situation, then it is not an adventure bike!

God of Atlantis

TOUR INFORMATION

Attica Region, Greece (Athenian Riviera)

May – November

5/5 Cultural Shock

Historic Landmarks

  • Acropolis of Athens (UNESCO)
  • Acropolis Museum
  • The Prison of Socrates, The Pnyx
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Temple Of Poseidon, Cape Sounio
  • Ancient Mining Laundries, Lavrio
  • Ancient Theater of Thoriko
  • Temple Of Artemis, Brauron

National Park of Sounion

Tour FAQs

Tour Packages*

Packing List

Enduro Training

Tour Starts/Ends in Glyfada, Athens

160 km Total Mileage (100 miles)

3 Days / 2 Riding Days

Intermediate Riding Skills

Gravel 0-10%

Min 2 Riders/Group | Max 8 Riders/Group

4×4 Support Vehicle Upon Request

Hotels only

Breakfast / Lunch en-route / Dinner

Spoken Greek / English / Italian

Athens Airport (ATH) Transfer*

GS Rentals

Photos from our Tours

From 240€/day* (6 Riders / F850GS Rental)

Brochure (coming soon)

On the southern edge of the Greek capital lies the alluring Apollo Coast, still defined as greater Athens. Its palm tree-lined esplanades and idyllic beaches dominate a unique slice of Mediterranean coastline with laid-back elegance, a history of jet-set glamour and the feeling of spending quality time on a Greek island.

This is the Athenian Riviera, starting from the port of Piraeus all the way to Cape Sounion along the coastal Poseidonos Ave, named after the god of the sea Poseidon.

One can enjoy a fully-fledged holiday in Greece, enjoy the Mediterranean sun and sea, visit some of the most important archeological sites, enjoy the iconic coastline ride, spend quality time in the most glamorous location of Greece and all without ever leaving the capital.

TOUR ITINERARY


This is a compact tour, with 2 riding days, full of beautiful images and rich in ancient Hellenic history and culture. The first and last days mentioned in the itinerary are the arrival and departure days; there is no riding on these days. The daily riding kilometers are approximate distances and may vary. Arrival time should be arranged before 3 pm on the arrival day and bear in mind the time difference between your country of origin and your travel destination. Please book your flights accordingly. Route and overnight places may change due to unforeseen events.

DAY 1: Arrival in Athens / Glyfada

We meet at the Athens (ATH) airport and head straight for motorcycle pickup. Early in the afternoon (depending on your flight) we arrive at Glyfada, Mythical Routes HQ. In ancient times, the area was a deme known as Aixone (Αἰξωνή) and was established as the heart of Athens’ southern suburbs, because of its prime waterfront location, rich commercial center, and modern business district. It has been described as the head-point of the ‘Athens Riviera’ and features some of Europe’s most opulent seafront residences, gardens, and extensive beachfront property, with a modern marina.

DAY 2: Ride to the center of Athens

We ride downtown to visit the most important archeological location in Greece and famous Unesco heritage, the Acropolis of Athens. We walk around the Pnyx and visit the Prison of Socrates. Our visit to the colorful center can’t be complete without visiting the Ancient Agora of Athens and a walk in the narrow alleys of Monastiraki where we can enjoy some typical Hellenic snacks.

The last visit of the day is a long visit to the Acropolis Museum and after a ride by the temple of Zeus in Athens we head back to Glyfada HQ for some typical Greek nightlife.

DAY 3: Ride to Cape Sounio and Brauron

We ride on the famous Apollo Coast, a palm tree-lined esplanades and idyllic beaches dominate a unique slice of Mediterranean coastline with laid-back elegance, a history of jet-set glamour and the feeling of spending quality time on a Greek island. We visit the iconic Temple Of Poseidon at Cape Sounio, the ancient Mining Laundries at Lavrio, the ancient Theater of Thoriko and our last stop is the Temple Of Artemis in Brauron.

This two riding-day tour is designed as a tarmac introduction into our adventures, but upon request can be upgraded into a 20% gravel tour, so that and you can ride through the Sounio National Park and practice your off-road skills in the Greek hard terrain. It is the perfect oportunity for some Enduro Training as well.

DAY 4: Departure from Athens Airport (ATH)

You can spend quality time in the most glamorous location of Greece and all without ever leaving the capital. Glyfada is packed with some of the capital’s best-known nightclubs, upscale restaurants, and shops. It could be argued to be one of the most “Americanized” of Athenian municipalities since an American airbase was located nearby until the early 1990s. The base’s population contributed in part to Glyfada’s character, leading to a unique blend of Greek and American atmosphere and cuisine. Although the base is now gone and the school relocated, Glyfada still retains part of its American flavor while continuing to offer distinctly Greek cuisine, entertainment, and nightlife. If you have opted for an all-inclusive package we will escort you back to the Athens (ATH) airport for you flight home.

Included Services

We can provide almost any motorcycle from the GS range, like the versatile F850GS, the mighty R1200GS or the R1200GSA beast. We are partners with the biggest BMW Motorrad dealers in Greece, so all rented motorcycles are carefully prepared and serviced with the highest standards and certifications available.

All of our Adventure Tours and Expeditions come with a leading Tour Guide rider and the possibility of a 4×4 Support Vehicle if required.

BMW R1200GS

BMW F850GS

Included Services (Full Package)


All our Full Package (all-inclusive) Tours include the following services:

  • Athens (ATH) Airport pickup
  • BMW R1200GS / R1200GSA / F850GS motorcycle rental (Requires €1000 refundable damage deposit)
  • Full Damage Coverage with €1000 exception (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • Third party liability cover by Allianz insurance (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • 24/7 Road Assistance (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • Unlimited mileage
  • BMW Alarm (installed)
  • Lead motorcycle Tour-Guide for all riding days
  • Accommodation in double/twin rooms in the most highlighted locations of each region
  • All Meals (Breakfast / Lunch en-route / Group dinner)
  • Architectural Guided tour in 1-2 archeological sites per day
  • Archeological Site Entrance-Fee
  • All Fuel cost
  • All Road-Toll cost
  • Provided Klim 3lt water hydration system
  • Provided Enduristan 7lt Tank-bag
  • Provided Enduristan 51lt Pack-sack
  • Provided Adventure Medical Kit
  • 15% Discount on any Klim pre-ordered item
  • 10% Discount on any Enduristan pre-ordered item

Not Included Services


There are many additional options that we can provide on demand in any tour package. The following options are not included in any tour package:

  • Flight costs
  • Travel/medical insurance (mandatory)
  • Single bed occupancy: add €20/day
  • DOT-approved Off-road tires: add €40/day
  • Basic Off-road training (1 day): add €200
  • Advanced Off-road training (2 days): add €450
  • Rental of Klim waterproof Gore-Tex Jacket & Pant with D3O protection: add €30/day (Requires €650 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of Klim ECE Helmet: add €20/day (Requires €250 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of Enduristan 2×30lt saddlebags**: add €30/day (Requires €160 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of BMW Vario side panniers***: add €20/day (No damage deposit required)
  • Enduro/MX riding Boots. For any arrangements please contact us.
  • Land Cruiser 4×4 Support Vehicle (for luggage and non-riders): add €400/day

To read more about rental equipment refundable damage deposit, support vehicle pricing and how to get 10-15% off Klim and Enduristan Gear Discount, read Rent A Ride.


Acropolis of Athens

As the rhetorician and satirist Lucian wrote  “… ascending to the Acropolis I flew over the cliff …” towards the land of Hades, the Necromanteion of Acheron, with the help of the psychopomp Hermes. On our right, we saw the Agora of Athens and on our left the Pnyx, where the assembly of the citizens took place (Ecclesia). After a while we were passing over the temple of Artemis Aristovouli, that was discovered accidentally in June 1958 during the construction of a small private house at the junction of Nileos Street and Irakleidon Street at Thission. In front of the small Greek temple, an engraved column was discovered dedicating the temple to goddess Artemis Aristovouli, the foundation of which was personally insured by Themistocles. Exiting the walls of Athens, we pass over the Gate of Piraeus, leaving to our right the Double Gate and the Graveyard of the Kerameikos.

Further down we came across the Sacred Lake (Lake Koumoundourou), to the right of the Reidi (salty sacred lakes used for cleansing), where during the celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis the honor guard of Athens awaited wearing black tunics. Leaving behind Mount Aigaleo, where Xerxes watched, to our left, the Battle of Salamis. And behold, Hermes showed me the vast ritual center of Eleusis bellow us.
It was during the month of Hekatombaion (July- August) of 415 B.C. and as we found out Alcibiades along with Nicias and Lamachus already were on board the Athenian ships alongside the troops on their way to Sicily. When the men boarded the ship, the usual prayers and toasts were performed with gold and silver cups, with the participation of the citizens. After the hymns were chanted, the ships reached the open sea. They descended along the eastern Peloponnese and bypassing the Cape of Maleas, just outside of Cythera, after having circled around Laconia and Messenia, ascended to the western Peloponnese, passing between Zakynthos and Cephalonia and Lefkada, heading to the north of Corfu, to reach across, Southern Italy.


Cape Sounio

Before we reach Brauron, I would like to narrate about some places that I see from the top of Mountain Hymettus, since I will be sitting here with my friend the Owl to gaze Attica, which we can see at a distance of 50 km from here because of the great clarity of the sky.

On my right side, I can see the Bay of Palaio Faliro where the port of Attica used to be, the only port of Athens in the Saronic Gulf. From this port, Theseus, the son of Aethra and Aegeus, was sent by the Athenians to Crete along with seven young men and seven young women as a human sacrifice to Minotaur. According to the myth, after Theseus killed Minotaur, he forgot to put the white sails to his ship while returning home and his father, waiting at Cape Sounio, saw the black sails instead and thinking that his son was killed, jumped into the sea and drowned.

Sounio, the place where king Aegeus died, is located in a straight line 38 km from the top of Mountain Hymettus, southeast of Attica. It is the exact place where an arrow from God Apollo killed the captain of Menelaus ship (the husband of Helen of Troy), on their way back to Sparta from the Trojan War. On the leveled top of Cape Sounio is located the Temple of Poseidon, constructed by Pericles in 444 BC, in the exact place of an older Peripteron temple destroyed by Persian king Xerxes in 490 BC.

The Temple of Poseidon is a Doric Peripteral style temple with (6) columns at the facades and (13) columns on the longer sides, so (6×13) that has a “code” based on the columns K(6)(1)(3)(4)(10), where (6) refers to HARMONY. It is said that the temple is aligned with the exact location of Atlantis where there was placed a bigger altar. Plato was often talking about this lost island and since then everybody was trying to find it. I know a lyric about Atlas, the son of Poseidon and Kleito.

“And the high columns on which the Earth
he is holding,
At the starry dome they end and the spheres they brace
And the spheres they brace”

On the smaller hill northeast of Temple of Poseidon, lay the ruins of the Temple of Athena Souniada that was worshiped since the very early years as protector of the City of Athens. In this exact place, Menelaus conducted a ceremony for the Captain of his ship, Fronti.

Further north from Cape Sounio is located the rocky mountain Merenta (614 m), mountain Olympus (487 m) and mountain Panio (648 m) and among them Lavrio with its rich soil that brought great prosperity to the city of Athens, through the extraction of silver and lead, and allowed Themistocles and the Athenians to create a powerful fleet.

Going back to the Bay of Palaio Faliro, we can see the place where Menestheus started with his fleet the voyage towards the Trojan War, and at this place, the Long Walls of Athens used to end. Further down from Faliro we can see the area of Ammos where Thucydides, the great historian from the 5th century BC. was coming from. Every year the women of that township were celebrating Thesmophoria, a mystical fest about Euphoria and Vegetation.

Continuing my visual journey from the western seaside of Attica to the south, I can see the area of Agios Kosmas, across the old airport of Athens, where were discovered the ruins of the Cycladic citadel from the Copper Age (around 2.300BC.). During the historical years, it is said that the wind brought here, from Salamina, the wrecks from Xerxe’s fleet. Further down the road, where it branches towards the region of Vari, excavations brought in the light the remains of the Ancient municipality of Aixoni.

On the way to Vouliagmeni, we cross Cape Zoster (or Laimos Vouliagmenis). There we find the Temple of Apollo Zoster, Artemis and Leto. According to the myth, in that area, Leto felt that the time of her childbirth was approaching and unbound her belt, despite the fact that that goddess Hera was hunting her and had forbidden any kind of help towards Leto. Hera convinced the dragon Python (the earth-dragon of Delphi) that the child to be born would deprive the Oracle of Delphi from him and for this reason he had to kill Leto. On our way to Varkiza, we pass through Vouliagmeni Lake with its sulfurous water that is suitable for skin diseases and rheumatic conditions. Further down, in Varkiza Bay, we can see the three little islands of Apollo, Artemis, and Leto on which exist corresponding Altars.

On the north side of Vari, just after the town’s cemetery, there is the Cave of Archedemos (Nympholyptos Cave). Nympholepsy was the belief of the ancient Greeks that individuals could be possessed by the Nymphs. Individuals who considered themselves nympholepts would display a great religious devotion to the nymphs. It is a unique landmark with carved statues from sculptor Archedemos of Thira, wherein the 5th century BC, he transformed the cave to a place of worship of the Nymphs, Apollo and Pan.

Further down the road south, we come across the region of Anavyssos where Kroisos Kouros, an interesting marble Kouros (Ancient Greek: κοῦρος) statue was found. He functioned as a grave marker for a fallen young warrior named Kroîsos (Κροῖσος). The free-standing sculpture strides forward with the “archaic smile” playing slightly on his face. The sculpture is dated to c. 540–515 BC and stands 1.95 meters high. The inscription on the base of the statue reads: “Stop and show pity beside the marker of Kroisos, dead, whom, when he was in the front ranks, raging Ares destroyed”. The statue is now situated in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

From Anavyssos we proceed to the National Park of Sounion, established in 1979. This is a very interesting historical area of 35.000 acres with Geological and Paleontological foundings. From there we reach Sounio and after that Lavrio as we have mentioned above.

North of Lavrio exists the ancient municipality of Thoricus, one of the 12 municipalities of Attica, that was the Industrial Centre of Lavrio mineral mines of and on this area there have been discovered two vaulted tombs of the Mycenaean Age. Continuing our way north, we cross the area of Keratea where, on the southwest side of Mount Panio is located the Cave of Pan, with stalactites and stalagmites and a beautiful lake about 950 square meters for a visitor to sightsee.


Brauron

The port of Prasia (Porto Rafti) is next to Keratea and it was of great importance for the city of Athens because it connected them with Cyclades islands. From this port begun all the celebration ceremonies of Apollo at Delos.

At that point, we are next to the Archeological area of Brauron.


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113th Olympic Games

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Delos
  • Epidaurus
  • Olympia

4/5 Culture Shock

Total Length TBD km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

Packing List

Lodging

Rent A Ride

Service

Brochure (coming soon)

We were learning about the news of Alexander from the Olympian Zeus, without Hera knowing. 2.000 Indians had been killed, the two sons of Porus among them. Porus riding his richly decorated elephant continued to issue commands and Alexander was admiring him, trying to save his life, but his old horse Bucephalus collapses in fatigue. Afterward Alexander treated Porus like royalty and gave him his kingdom back to rule and while he was ready to march to the depths of India, his army was unwilling to follow him.
Father Zeus himself had faced similar circumstances when Hera, Athena and Poseidon tried to chain him. Thankfully the goddess Thetis sent Aegaeon (Aegaeon and his brothers Gyges and Cottus are described as huge monsters with a hundred arms, also named Hecatoncheires) to rescue him. Of course Zeus does not intervene in the case of Alexander, pretty much like in the case of Heracles, because he has to solve his problem on his own, otherwise what kind of demigod would he be?
All this is fine, but look we was seeing Syros again and then Kea, on our right side this time around, while on our left we could see the island of Thermia or Ophiussa Thiramnia (Kythnos), known for its healing springs. It was the prehistoric home of the Dryopes. When their land, Dryopis, which was a region of Oeta and Parnassus, was taken over by the Dorians, they fled to Euboea, Argolis, Thermia and Asia Minor. This island too was an ally of Athens.

There the temple of Poseidon emerges on our right; that is why there were so many dolphins in the area. They say that this temple is turned in such a way that it faces towards Atlantis, where the god had a great altar. Plato used to talk about this lost island and then everybody tried to find it. I know a verse about the son of Poseidon, Atlas, whom he had with Cleito.

And the tall pillars on which the earth
he lifts
reach the starry dome and support the spheres
and support the spheres.

But there we are finally in Argolis, which was named after the son of Zeus and Niobe, Argos. It was the prehistoric residence of the Dryopes. Nearby, a mere seven kilometers from the Saronic Gulf, is the Sanctuary of Asclepius.

Epidaurus

Hospital Center of Greece

So we entered the temple of Asclepius, a work by Theodotus, in 380-375 B.C. The god, made out of gold and ivory, was sitting on a throne, with his trusted dog on his right and the snake on the left. Leaving the richly decorated temple, a work by Thrasymedes, Hectorides and Timotheus, we arrived to the Tholos or Thymele, which had three circular zones at its base under the floor. A white stone in the center covered the entrance to the crypt. This was a work by Polykleitos, the nephew of the sculptor Polykleitos and it took him 30 years to complete it (360-330 B.C.). A very beautiful project! We stood there and admired it for a while. In the meanwhile we went in the crypt of the labyrinth, where the tomb of Asclepius was.
We departed leaving behind us (on the right) mount Arachnaio, through the Phryctoria of which the Myceneans were informed about the fall of Troy. This route to Olympia was a totally different route because we was passing over cities lying between Myth and History.
We were passing over Tiryns, the most ancient acropolis of Myceneans which Homer calls it “Walled”, with its cyclopean walls, built from boulders of ten tons or more; like lifting an elephant and placing it on top of another one. Placed on the top of the acropolis was the palace of the anax, who held worldly and priestly offices, with the typical throne room where the hearth was in the middle of four pillars representing the elements of matter.
Further to the right there was Midea, which was built by Perseus and was the homeland of Alcmene, the mother of Heracles. We were passing over Argos on our left, the Homeland of Perseus who was its hero and the son of Zeus and Danae, the daughter of the king of Argos Acrisius. Danae was impregnated by the god, who had transformed into golden rain. What an imagination this god has, we thought. Argos, which means “plain”, was the most ancient city in Greece, and was inhabited by the Pelasgians, with its acropolis being Larissa. This city had lost its prestige when Tiryns and Mycenae were built, which were located 14 kilometers to my right.
Mycenae was the most famous city of prehistoric Greece. Homer calls it “rich” and it was a pioneer in the financial and cultural life of Greece, mainly in the 13th century B.C. Their king was the well-known Agamemnon, the leader of the campaign against Troy, whose daughter had to be sacrificed in Aulis, but was rescued by Artemis who made her a priestess in Tauris.
From the left we had passed Lerna, where Heracles performed his second labor, killing the Lernaean Hydra, a spawn of Typhoon and Echidna. Just a few kilometers away from Lerna, lies Nauplia (Nafplio), which was founded by the son of Amymone and Poseidon, Nauplius. Passing by mount Artemision, where there was a temple of Artemis, we were now entering Arcadia, the inhabitants of which, whom we meet constantly, were called Pelasgians.
I had been through Oenoe, the city of Oeneus, who met his doom there by his brother Agrius, and we were passing by Mantineia which was founded by Mantineus, the son of the king of the Arcadians, Lycaon. Lycaon was the son of Pelasgus and the Oceanid Meliboea or the Nymph Cyllene according to others, who succeeded his father on the throne. In a distance of about 10 kilometers to the right there was another city founded by another son of Lycaon, Orchomenus, while on our left, in a distance of 15 km we could see Tegea , a rival of Mantineia, which was founded by Aleus, son of Apheidas, who established in the area the worship of Alea Athena, thus uniting the inhabitants of his region.
After we left the sacred mountain of Pan, Hermes, Dionysus, the Maenads, Artemis, Atalanta and the Dryads, and mount Mainalo, we entered among the cities; Methydrio, a bit further Orchomenos and to the left the town of Schinus, where Atalanta used to put anyone who wanted to marry her, through a race as a test, Hippomenes won with the aid of Aphrodite. After passing from the ancient locations of Theisoa, Teuthis, Melenai,Heraia and Frixa, crossing the rivers of Ladon and Eurymathus, we reached Pisa.
Pisa is located east of Olympia and was in the forefront of the performance of the Olympic games. Its inhabitants founded Pisa (Pisa) of Italy. It is the place where Pelops and Hippodamea, the daughter of the king of Pisa Oenomaus, who was the son of Ares and one of the daughters of Asopus, Harpina, ruled. Oenomaus who was negotiating about his daughter’s wedding, would compete with the aspiring grooms in chariot racing. But he always won and took the life of the suitors, until the time when his daughter fell in love with Pelops. With the help of Hippodamea and malicious intent the axis of her fathers chariot broke and he died. So Pelops married Hippodamea.
Pelops was the son of Tantalus who ruled over Phrygia. Tantalus was the son of Zeus and the daughter of Cronus, Plouto. He killed his son Pelops, cut him in small pieces, cooked him and offered his meat to the gods. The gods realized it and restored him to life, Tantalus on the other hand was sent to Hades by Zeus and was sentenced to suffer from eternal hunger and thirst. Pelops was the one who organized the Olympic games. When he died, his remains were transported from Pisa to Troy, during the Trojan War. Later when the games were in decline, Heracles came along, delimited the precinct of “Altis” (Grove) and dedicated it to his father Zeus: he even built 6 altars for the twelve gods of Olympus and a shrine for Pelops. I learned about all this before I sat on the roof of the temple of Zeus.

Olympia

Sports Center of Greece

We would have stayed longer in Olympia, if I hadn’t received a new order from Zeus, a pretty sad one this time around. It said that Alexander would die in the 13th of June of 323 B.C., and that we should receive him from the Psychron Cave (Diktaio Andro), where his soul would be delivered by the primordial eagle of Zeus. Zeus knew everything before it happened, but he loved Alexander very much and wanted him by his side in Olympus, to gaze from above his beloved Macedonians. The life of Alexander grew even shorter, as time moved on, in the age of 33 years old.
So we drove south, by the Bouleuterion. In a while we would leave Alfeios behind us and found ourselves at mount Aphrodision, where Demeter had her sanctuary. We were descending towards the mountain range of Alivaina (Minthi) and suddenly we was on mount Lykaion, after we reached the temple of Apollo in Bassae.

Zeus’s Homeland

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Ideo Andro
  • Diktaio Andro

3/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 400 km

5 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

35% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

Packing List

Lodging

Rent A Ride

Service

Brochure (coming soon)

In mount Lykaion Lycaon, the son of Pelasgus who was a violent king in Arcadia, offered Zeus the flesh of a child alongside other dishes, Like Tantalus did. So Zeus transformed him into a wolf and sent a deluge to destroy the human race. Customary human sacrifices to Zeus Lycaeus, whose temple was near the temple of Apollo were performed on this mountain. Further along the way I come across Lycosura, the most ancient city in the world, founded by Lycaon, the Lykaia date to the Mycenaean period, between 1398 and 1294 B.C.
The son of Lycaon, Phigalus, had founded Phigaleia, a city we had passed on our right. It was the place where king Lepreus died by the hand of Heracles because he had provoked him. It is also the place where Eurynome, the daughter of Oceanus and Tetis, who was a mermaid, was celebrated. On our left we had passed from the city Alifiera, where it was said that Athena was born from the head of Zeus. Slightly above there was the city of Melainai and then Maratha and Boufagion, but also Gortys.
Gortys was named after the son of Stymphalus, Gortys. Stymphalus was the husband of Ornis and father of the Stymphalian birds, which Heracles killed near the lake Stymphalia, under mount Kyllini (Ziria), the birthplace of Hermes, the psychopomp son of Zeus and Maia, who was a daughter of Atlas.
Beneath Gortys, Vrenthi near Trapezous and Trikolonoi which were founded by the eponymous sons of Lycaon. In Trikolonoi there was the tomb of the Nymph Callisto, daughter of king Lycaon who, had Arcas with Zeus. Arcas ruled over and gave his name to Arcadia and his first son was Elatus who founded Elateia and Phocis.
Bellow Trapezous, was the town the town Basilis and then Thocnia, which was founded by another son of Lycaon, Thocnus. Opposite Lycosura was Megalopolis, where they worshiped the hero Boreus who protected them from the Lacedaemons. It was in this city that the Furies (Erinyes) appeared before Orestes and terrified him. From there on the towns became more scarce as we were advancing towards mount Taygetus, so after a long time, on our left we passed from the town Peraithei, Asea founded by Aseas, the son of Lycaon and Orestio where Orestes waited, by order of Apollo to be tried in the Court of Cassation of Athens. Upon entering Laconia, I came across Pellana, on the shores of the river Eurotas, father of Sparta.

image XX

At a distance of 8 kilometers from Sparta (image XX) lies its sacred center, Amyclae, where the new god Apollo, competes with the hero of Megalopolis Boreus, for the love of Hyacinthus, who was the son of Amyclas. In this competition, Boreus changes the course of the discus in the contest of discus throw and hits Hyacinthus in the face, whose grave is now found In the Sanctuary of Apollo in Amyclae.
In this place Tyndareus, the father of Helen, Castor and Pollux and Clytemnestra, was planning the marriage of Helen, for the sake of whom the Trojan War was fought. She chose Menelaus, who would take the kingdom of Tyndareus after the death of Castor and Pollux.
Menelaus was the brother of Agamemnon and son of Atreus, the king of Mycenae, from the line of Pelops who organized the Olympic games. Agamemnon had married the sister of Helen, Clytemnestra and became the king of Mycenae. Iphigenia was the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra.
After this multi-sided relation, with various big problems, we were passing swiftly, having Therapnes on our left, where the palace of Menelaus and Helen was located. It was from here that the two lovers, Paris and Helen left, taking with them her son Pleisthenes, the mother of Theseus Aethra, slaves and plenty of gold. After passing between the towns Krokees and Geronthres, we proceeded to the Myrtoan Sea, over the town Epidavros Limira having cape Maleas on our right, to where Heracles had pursued the Centaurs and killed the Centaur Chiron, the son of Cronus. That is why the pediments of the Parthenon depicting the Centauromachy face this way.
We had to fly for another 200 kilometers to the Psychron Cave. It was there in a cave that Zeus had been born; we would wait there together with Amalthea, the goat who had raised him, for the soul of Alexander.

Diktaio Andro

The Manger of God

What is Mythical Routes

Mythical Routes is an idea, a project started in 2017 by two brothers, an Architect and a Landscape Architect, both passionate Adventure Riders, trying to combine the scientific knowledge they had acquired, with their passion for exploration and the best way to do that, the motorcycle.

Their personal journey through Myths and Time started back in the ’90s while helping their father with his historical research. Using old army maps they were connecting important archeological sites with each other, only to realize that the ideas their father was working on were more than theories. They were becoming scientific facts, just before their own eyes!

Trying to understand the Construction Aliments of Ancient Greek Temples and the Connections that existed between them, we thought that the best way to visit all the important and remote archeological sites was with our adventure motorcycles.

This website is an interactive instrument of knowledge, that will help spread the ideas and facts of Ancient Greek Architecture and modern Hellenic Adventure Lifestyle throughout the international adventure community.


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ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Dion
  • Delphi
  • Brauron
  • Delos

4/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 1050 km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

Packing List

Lodging

Rent A Ride

Service

Brochure (coming soon)

Dion

Religious Center of Macedonia

Religious Center of Macedonia

Wandering over Pineios, the brother river of Acheloous, we beheld Larissa, a prehistoric town, the founder of which, according to some myth, was Larissus, the son of Pelasgus. Its first king was Aleuas, the ancestor of the Aleuadae. In the Persian Wars they followed Xerxes, but in the Peloponnesian Wars they sided with the Athenians.
Alexander had with him 1.500 Thessalian horsemen, whose reputation as battle worthy was well established and rivaled the Macedonian cavalry; their leader was Calas, son of Harpalus.
Pelasgus from Peloponnese conquered Thessaly, which was at the time called Haemonia, together with his brothers Achaeus and Phthius, driving away its savage inhabitants. Thus Achaia, Phthiotis and Pelasgiotis were formed. This entire region of Thessaly, was in prehistoric times a lake, around which the Centaurs lived.

After a short while, I would be flying over the land of the Achaeans, which was formerly called Phthia and was the land of Achilles. His father Peleus was king in the city of Phthia of Thessaly and was descended from the lineage of Zeus, while his mother was the goddess Thetis, daughter of Oceanus. Thetis, out of respect for Hera who had raised her, had denied the advances of Zeus. So the god was pressuring her to marry Peleus. Thetis, in her attempt to escape, consecutively transformed into fire, water, wind, a tree, a bird, a tiger, a lion, a snake and finally into a squid, but Peleus following the advise of the Centaur Chiron, managed to make her his wife.
Achilles, this young lad of the Achaeans, fell dead, struck by the arrow of Paris of Troy, with the help of the god Apollo who guided the arrow to his vulnerable spot, his heel. Alexander had offered sacrifices at the tomb of the hero and took with him the shield of Achilles, who was his ancestor from his mother’s side Olympiad, before he embarked on his great campaign.

We passed swiftly over mount Orthys and after a while we could see the town of Lamia, named after Lamos, the son of Heracles and Omphale. It was the land of the malians, in the Malian gulf, where Ceyx the son of Eosphorus a friend and relative of Heracles was king, who also helped the hero drive away the Dryopes, who resided in mount Oeta and mount Parnassus, pillaging the neighbouring areas.

On the left we could see the land of the Locres, where the battle of Thermopylae took place in 490 B.C., in a narrow passage between the mountain and the sea near Anthele, where the representatives of the 12 tribes of the Delphic Amphictyony convened in the spring (here).
The Dryopes, whose name derives from the word “Drys” (Δρύς=Oak in Greek), were, as it seems, the first inhabitants of the Greek Peninsula. Dryops, their hero, was the son of the river god Spercheus, brother of Achelous and Peneus, who directed his waters into the Malian gulf. Spercheus was also the father of the Nymphs of mount Orthys. The father of Achilles, dedicated his son’s hair to this river, so that his son would return safe from Troy. The mother of Dryops, was the daughter of Danaus, Polydora. The land of the Dryopes was taken over by the Dorians and the Heracleidae, and thus it was renamed to Doris, after their hero Dorus, the son of Hellen, brother of Aeolus and grandson of Deucalion and Pyrrha.
Shortly we would be arriving in Parnassus. We would stop at Delphi, as guests of Dionysus, and then head to Delos, following the instructions of the Olympian Zeus.

Mythological Park

From Mythology to History

From Mythology to History

Roaming around at Delphi we observed this strange world of the Greeks, where one tribe dedicated votive offerings (oblation) for its victory against the other, without any problem; an offering of the Arcadians for the victory and plunder of Lacedaemon with Epaminondas in 369 B.C.; an oblation of the Lacedaemonians for their victory at Aegospotamoi in 404 B.C. and the destruction of the Athenian fleet; a bronze horse of the inhabitants of Argos for their successful invasion of Lacedaemon in 414 B.C.; opposite the Athenian Treasury for the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., the treasury of Syracuse for their victory over the Athenians in 413 B.C.
One can go mad roaming the votive offerings of Delphi, because through them, each tribe saw its victory, but also its failure. Joy and sorrow at the same time. So I wandered if there is another people in modern day, or if there will ever be one in the future, which will accept its failures next to its successes, raising statues in both cases. The point is that this way one becomes wise through experience, so no tribe destroyed the oblations of the other tribes.

Delphi

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

We would now continue our journey to Delos. We passed again from mount Helicon and entered Boeotia. The primeval and antediluvian land, where the Ectenes of Ogygia (Boeotia). Ogyges was a native king, the son of Poseidon and Alistra; the deluge which covered Boeotia happened during his reign. On the left, in a distance of a few kilometers from our route, I was amazed to see towns like Mideia (Livadeia), with the terrible oracle of Trophonios which was consulted even by Croesus, with the fountains of Oblivion and Remembrance, just like the Necromanteion. The oracle also cured psychological illnesses by using sudden psychological breakdowns. The Minyan Orchomenus with its eponymous hero, who had three daughters, Leucippe, Arsippe and Alcithoe, who were punished by Dionysus because they neglected to partake in his celebration. Leuctra (Battle of Leuctra) where the Thebeans defeated the undefeated Spartan army. Further to the back Chaeronea, where Philip II with his son Alexander defeated the allied Greek forces in 338 B.C.; the men of the Sacred Band of Thebes fell in this battle. Thebes of Cadmus, a town built since the bronze age, the scene of countless myths and tragedies of Aeschylus (“seven Against Thebes”), of Sophocles (“Oedipus the King”) and Euripides (“The Phoenician Women”), which out of hatred for the Athenians allied with the Persians and was defeated in the Battle of Plataea in 479 B.C.. Later it was destroyed by Alexander in 336 B.C., slaughtering 6.000 of its inhabitants.
Many memories are on this part of the route, some to be happy and some to be sad about. But there, on our right lies the city of Megara with the many colonies, Megara Hyblaea in 730 B.C. and Selinunte in Sicily in 628 B.C. Astacos in 722 B.C. Selymbria in 716 B.C. Chalcedon in 684 B.C. Byzantium in 660 B.C. and Heraclea of Bosphorus in 550 B.C.. The Megarians were forced to migrate because their territory was diminishing by the Athenians, who took Salamis and Eleusis from them, and the Corinthians who grabbed the area of Geraneia, cutting down their state by one third. A land in the narrows between Attica and Peloponnese, which became the theater of conflict between Sparta and Athens, between the Dorian and Ionian tribes, during the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 B.C.)
But there, we entered Attica, near the town of Eleutherae, where from the worship of Dionysus comes to Athens. From the smell of the sacrifices we understood that we were nearing Eleusis.

Acropolis of Athens

Route in Spacetime

Route in Spacetime

Seeing the Parthenon I remembered that Alexander had sent 300 armors there after Granicus with the inscription “Alexander of Philip and the Greeks, minus the Lacedaemonians, from Asia inhabited by barbarians”. The issue however still troubles me, who was his father Philip or Zeus? Leaving the Acropolis we pass by the Theater of Dionysus, The Auditorium of Pericles, the Olympion (Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens) where the tomb of Deucalion was located, exiting from the gate of Aegeas, over the river Ilissos rich in water which had its springs in mount Hymettus. On its banks the shrine of the Muses was erected, the fountain Callirhoe, the shrine of Demeter where the minor Mysteries of Eleusis were held. There, the platanus of Socrates. At this place they worshiped Pan, Achelous, Heracles and the wind Boreas, who from this place abducted Orithyia, one of the daughters of Erechteus and took her to Thrace, where he resides.
Athens, what a city, which 9.000 years ago fought off the invading Atlanteans, as Plato would say, who was now in Hades since 347 B.C. A strange city with thousands of philosophers and many schools. All of them are there in the Agora; the Sophists, Cynics, Megarian philosophers, Pythagoreans and the Physiologists. It is very difficult to mention them all, with their many differences, seeking the Truth.
What are we” and “where do we go” was their unsolved problem, which only they thought of, while the “barbarians” led a life without much thought. Thus Zeus was laughing at their problems. He kept murmuring, “look at what man is capable of thinking” and kept saying again and again “this is not good, because I foresee that in some distant future, they might abolish me, like I did to my father Cronus, and he to his father Uranus“. Because he remembered the conspiracy of his wife Hera. I often heard him say “these Greeks are restless, even after the deluge they remain the same“.
What problems do the gods face, I was thinking. But there, we were riding over mount Hymettus, on the right of its peak of 1.025 meters, where there was the statue of Zeus Hymettus and the altar of Rain Zeus, together with his son Foreseeing Apollo, he who predicted the rain so much needed by the Basin of Attica. On the left, in a distance of 6 kilometers we could see the temple of Braubronia Artemis.

Brauron

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

In the morning we start our journey for Delos. As soon as we are in open sea, on our right we see the island of Keos (Kea), named after the mythological hero Keos, where the Carians, Pelasgians and Leleges had first settled. The Carians are an antediluvian people of Attica of pelasgian descent, Car was the son of Phoroneus who decided in favor of Hera in her dispute with Poseidon over the Peloponnese. The Pelasgians are an antediluvian people of Arcadia; their primogenitor was Pelasgus, the father of Lycaon who succeeded his father while his mother was the Oceanide Meliboea. The Leleges were an antediluvian people of Laconia, with Lelex being their first king succeeded by his son Myles.

Kea in historic times was inhabited by Ionians who are a prehistoric people of Attica and Northern Peloponnese. Ion was the son of Xuthus and the daughter of Erechteus Creusa and descended from the line of Deucalion. The brother of Xuthus was Dorus. So they are populations emerging after the deluge.

After a while we was passing by a barren island (Gyaros), which as Hermes used to tell us, someday after many years, would be turned into a prison for political prisoners. We soon remembered that this did not exist in Athens, because they exiled politicians by “ostracism”, or forces them to die like Socrates. After Gyaros, on the left, we noticed the island of Andros or Andreus, son of Eurymachus, one of the suitors of Penelope who was killed by Odysseus, when he returned to the island disguised as a beggar. Others say that Andreus was the son of Anius, who himself was also a son of Apollo and ruled over Delos during the time of the Trojan War. The mother of Anius was Rhoeo (Pomegranate), who descended from Dionysus, through her father Staphylus. The Carians, whom we mentioned earlier were the first inhabitants of the island, followed by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Creatans, Pelasgians and the Ionians. In 480 B.C. it sided with the Persians, while in the Peloponnesian War it allied with Sparta.

Before we reached Delos, we found ourselves between two islands, Syros on the right, which was initially inhabited by the Phoenicians and later the Ionians and was part of the first Athenian League. While on the left was Ophiusa (Tinos), with the many snakes and the famous temple of Poseidon and his wife Amphitrete, who is the queen of the sea, a daughter of Doris, one of the daughters of Oceanus and Nereus, who had the ability of transformation. The Nereids (sea waves) come from him (Nereus). Ophiusa was also an ally of Athens.
As we were reaching Delos, we noticed on the left behind the island of Apollo, the island Mykonos, named after the son of Anius. Its last inhabitants were the Ionians, led there by Hippocles, the son of Neleus and father of Phorbius.

Delos

East Gate of the Gods (Life)

Mountain of the Gods

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Necromanteion
  • Dodoni
  • Dion

4/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 1050 km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

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Lodging

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Service

Brochure (coming soon)

Necromanteion

West Gate of the Mortal

West Gate of the Mortal

On the way to mount Olympus, we learned many different things. For starters, Alcibiades, was murdered in 404 B.C. and our opinion of him changed when we found out how much he had harmed his homeland, Athens. We found out about the destruction of the campaign in Sicily in 413 B.C., the death of Nicias and the annihilation of the 50.000 men, many of whom lived as prisoners in the quarries in Syracuse; about the surrender of the Athenians and the Thirty Tyrants imposed by the Spartans; about the march of the Ten Thousand in 401 B.C. and the death of Socrates, in 399 B.C.; about the hegemony of Thebes and the battles in Leuctra in 371 B.C. as well as Mantineia in 362 B.C., where Epaminondas was killed. Namely the whole collapse of the city-states, which was leading the country to a financial and sociopolitical crisis.
And yet, as things seemed dark in the Greek region, Philip II, the king of Macedonia appears since 356 B.C., defeating in Chaeronea in 338 B.C. the coalition of the Athenians and Thebians and thus putting things in order.
We were over the Athamanika (Tzoumerka) when Hermes reminded us about the murder of Philip II in 336 B.C. He then reassured us that everything will be fine, since – in his words – “Father Zeus has provided for the future of Greece. Alexander, the son of Philip II, will follow the advise of Isocrates, even though he died two years after that, in 338 B.C. The Greeks will unite under his scepter.” How strange a race are these Greeks, we thought, one moment they kill one another and the next they become brothers.

But there it is, the spot where the ArK of Deucalion landed (Ancient Greek flood myths), which I could see on my way to the Necromanteion, on top of the Athamanika.
Athamas was a son of Aeolus and grandson of Hellen, who was a son of Deucalion who was a son of Prometheus, namely of the cousin of Zeus. Athamas was the king of Boeotia and agreed to raise the young Dionysus, but Hera in her anger drove him mad and he killed his son Learchus, from his second marriage. It was he who in his first marriage with Nephele, fathered Phrixus and Helle. Helle drowned in Hellespont and Phrixus reached Colchis, creating the myth of the golden fleece.

After the murder of his son, Athamas was driven out of Boeotia and, following the oracle given to him in Delphi, he settled on this mountain giving it his name. It is the second most important mountain after Olympus. Euripides and Sophocles wrote their tragedies based on his myth.
The spot where the Ark of Deucalion landed, lies on the course from the Necromanteion to Olympus (point Δ); Jason, the relative of Phrixus passed from that exact spot, coming from Iolcos, to reach the Oracle of Dodoni. From Iolcos he embarked on the Argonautic Campaign, having first built the prow of Argo from oak wood he took from the Oracle of Dodona.
It is the next tallest mountain of Thessaly, after Olympus, and, as it seems, the waters of the deluge receded through the Necromanteion to Hades and from then to the Ocean of the Ancients which surrounds the Earth.

There, the ancient Metropolis (“Μήτρα” is Greek for Womb + “Πόλη” is Greek for City) which along with Trikke, Pelinnaioi, Gomfoi and Ithome, constituted the fortified square of the Thessalians. Metropolis was the center of the Thessalian Leauge with a powerful acropolis. This city took its name from Thessalus, who was a son of Haemon, who was the hero of the region which was initially called Haemonia. Haemon arrived here from Thesprotia.
At a distance of 116 kilometers from the spot where the Ark of Deucalion landed, to the right of my route, lies Iolcos, the inhabitants of which were Pelasgians just like the first inhabitants of Epirus, which was called Pelasgia, that is why Homer names the Dodonian Zeus Pelasgic. His sanctuary is located on the left of our route, at a distance of 20 kilometers.

Dodoni

Religious Center of Epirus

Religious Center of Epirus

We had traveled a fair distance from the spot of the Ark and we were still thinking about the creation of the human race by Deucalion and Pyrrha, who threw stones over their shoulders to create the humans. We were passing over the river Lethaeus and Lethaea came to my mind, the wife of Olenus, who were turned to stone because Lethaea was bragging that she was fairer than the goddesses. However I felt that this must have been the spot where Deucalion and Pyrrha were throwing the stones, because it is strange for the river to be called that, just a few kilometers from the spot where the Ark landed. Moreover just next to us is the location of the Meteora, the standing rocks up to 400 meters in height, that span in an area with a surface of 30 square kilometers.
This was the land of the Perrhaebians, a prehistoric people of Thessaly, which took part in the Trojan War. One of them Guneus, the son of Ocytus, was the leader of the Aenianes and the Rerrhaebians army, but also a suitor of Helen of Troy, that is the reason he joined the campaign. The Aenianes were also a prehistoric people residing in Dodona. They were part of the conference of the Greeks, namely the Delphic Amphictyony, founded by Amphictyon, the son of Pyrrha and deucalion, who lived in Phtiotis.

We were thinking about all of this while getting very close to Mount Olympus and suddenly we saw before us a huge mountain over the clouds covered in snow. It was the residence of Zeus and from there the god decided for the fate of Gods and men. We had already passed from the river Titaresius, where the Lapith Mopsus was born.
Mopsus was the son of Ampyx and Chloris, and joined the Argonautic campaign as a seer alongside Idmon, where they both died. Idmon was killed in Mariandyni, on the way to Colchis, by a boar and Mopsus died in Libya bitten by a venomous snake. The Lapiths were a prehistoric people of Thessaly and were related to the Centaurs, who initially lived in Perrhaebia. The Centaurs were monstrous hybrids, human from the waist up with the lower half of a horse, most of whom were driven away by the Lapiths, that is why we did not meet any Centaurs.
The further we distanced ourselves from the son of Macedon, Pindus, after whom the whole mountain range from Grammos to the Corinthian gulf was named; maybe it was the death of that lad which darkened this side of our homeland. Because to the west is where the wild and mysterious side of Greece could be found.

Olympus is the most beautiful mountain and we love exploring it. It is a volume rising steeply from the surrounding areas, with 1.600 species of plants many trees, but also animals and birds, that is why the Muses, born from Zeus, gather here. It has plenty of waters, from the snow on its peaks, which when the sunlight falls make the area shine. That is why it was called Olympus which means “Full of Light” (Ολόφωτος). Down bellow on its base, in the area of Pieria, there is the Sanctuary of Zeus, founded by the first king of Thessaly, after he was saved from the deluge. Up there, on the altar of Zeus, every new year the kings of Macedonia offered sacrifices, in their month of Hyperberetaiaos (September-October) according to their own customs; when the sign of Libra appeared in the sky, which symbolized the justice of Zeus towards gods and men.

Dion

Religious Center of Macedonia

Religious Center of Macedonia

Roaming Olympus through the mountains and plains, we understood that the “present” was every moment we could feel the beats of our heart, because there the gods are eternal and time loses its meaning. Only down bellow did Alexander struggled with it, advancing rapidly to Asia Minor of the state of Darius. His victory in Issus in 333 B.C. made the Olympian Zeus very happy for his son, because Alexander won without his help. On the other hand the merciful god was very sad about the degradation of Darius. Fate played an ugly game with him.
We was ordered to secretly leave for Delos, because the celebration of Apollo was to be held there and the jealous Hera would not let Zeus go. Leto, the darling of Zeus, found sanctuary on the barren island of Delos, which flowed endlessly on the sea. As a reward, the god stabilized it on four pillars forever and changed its name to Delos (bright, overt) from Ortygia, because it was the place that the god of light Apollo (Sun) was to be born.
We started traveling again in the company of Hermes who had to transport other souls to Hades, that is why he would pass again from Delphi, to ask Dionysus, who was replacing Apollo, if he had any orders from the god of light, before he would depart again for the hyperborean people.
Dionysus was a very peculiar god, because he had a difficult childhood, having Zeus for a father. The jealous Hera was trying to kill him. His mother was Semele, the daughter of Cadmus and Harmony, who was thundered by Zeus when she asked him to show himself to her with all of his might.
He was the god who discovered the vine, but Hera drove him mad and he roamed in many places in this state, like Egypt, Syria and Thrace. From there he left and reached as far as India, conquering many peoples. I did not forget that the god and my traveling companion had received soothsaying lessons from Apollo, that is why I believed him.
Through these and other hardships Dionysus decided to remain close to the humans, that is why he was a beloved god and was celebrated everywhere. So the god created the theater and, where comedies, tragedies but also the satyrical drama were performed.

Land of the Dead

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Eleusis
  • Sanctuary of Cabeiri
  • Delphi
  • Necromanteion

5/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 1050 km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of Parnassus, Oiti

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

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Lodging

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Service

Brochure (coming soon)

Acropolis of Athens

Route in Spacetime

Route in Spacetime

As the rhetorician and satirist Lucian wrote  “… ascending to the Acropolis I flew over the cliff …” towards the land of Hades, the Necromanteion of Acheron, with the help of the psychopomp Hermes. On our right we saw the Agora of Athens and on our left the Pnyx, where the assembly of the citizens took place (Ecclesia). After a while we were passing over the temple of Artemis Aristovouli, that was discovered accidentally in June 1958 during the construction of a small private house at the junction of Nileos Street and Irakleidon Street at Thission. In front of the small Greek temple, an engraved column was discovered dedicating the temple to goddess Artemis Aristovouli, the foundation of which was personally insured by Themistocles. Exiting the walls of Athens, we pass over the Gate of Piraeus, leaving to our right the Double Gate and the Graveyard of the Kerameikos.

Further down we came across the Sacred Lake (Lake Koumoundourou), to the right of the Reidi (salty sacred lakes used for cleansing), where during the celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis the honor guard of Athens awaited wearing black tunics. Leaving behind Mount Aigaleo, where Xerxes watched, to our left, the Battle of Salamis. And behold, Hermes showed me the vast ritual center of Eleusis bellow us.
It was during the month of Hekatombaion (July- August) of 415 B.C. and as we found out Alcibiades along with Nicias and Lamachus already were on board the Athenian ships alongside the troops on their way to Sicily. When the men boarded the ship, the usual prayers and toasts were performed with gold and silver cups, with the participation of the citizens. After the hymns were chanted, the ships reached the open sea. They descended along the eastern Peloponnese and bypassing the Cape of Maleas, just outside of Cythera, after having circled around Laconia and Messenia, ascended to the western Peloponnese, passing between Zakynthos and Cephalonia and Lefkada, heading to the north of Corfu, to reach across, Southern Italy.

Eleusis

Ritual Center of Greece

Ritual Center of Greece

A lot of people started gathering from the surrounding area for the great celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries in the month Boedromion (September-October), when the sign of Virgo appeared which symbolized Persephone. The celebration would end when the sign of Libra appeared, which symbolized the decision of Zeus for Persephone to return to the palace of Hades; thus nature deadened.

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

The mystics arrived in a ritual procession and no uninitiated were allowed to cross the courtyard. In Athens Alcibiades and nine more were denounced , for the amputation of the Hermai and for the parody of the Eleusinian mysteries and were called to be tried. Thus Alcibiades , abandoning Nicias and Lamachus in Italy, fled to Sparta of King Agis II. The Athenian court, as I was informed later, sentenced Alcibiades and his accomplices in absentia to death.

After this short tour in the Shrine of Eleusis, I was forced to resume the journey to the Necromanteion under the obtrusive pressure of Hermes. The Messenger of Zeus also had other orders from the father of the gods and men and was in a hurry to take my soul to Hades to be tried.

So, following the course, we passed over Erenia where the grave of Autonoe, the daughter of Cadmus, was located, who had come here from Thebes as soon as she found out about the death of her son Actaeon by the hand of Artemis, because he beheld her naked bathing in a spring. Further along the way we came across Aigosthena, where there is the shrine of the seer Melampus,the son of Amythaon  and Eidomene. Melampus was called this way because when he was born, his mother forgot out of oversight to put his feet in the shade.

Further along the way we flew over the mountain of Cithaeron, which took its name from the king of Plataeae and we saw it on our right. They used to say that Cithaeron advised Zeus , when Hera did not give into his embrace, to construct a female statue and wrap it in an overcoat. Then Cithaeron dispersed that Zeus had kidnapped Plataea, the daughter of Asopus, to make her his wife. The jealous Hera rushed and grabbed the overcoat and saw the statue. Then she laughed and reconciled with the god. So every year in Plataeae they celebrated the marriage of Hera to Zeus.

After a short  while, we found ourselves in mount Helicon, the mountain of medicinal herbs, which was the home of the Muses (Valley of the Muses). Here there was a shrine of Zeus and the spring Hippocrene, which was struck open in the rock of the mountain by the hoof of the winged steed Pegasus. Between Cithaeron and Helicon, to the right in a distance of 17 kilometers from our course and to the northwest of Thebes, in a distance of roughly 6 kilometers, there was the town of Cabeiri. They say that from the army of Xerxes, those who remained with Mardonius and enter the sanctuary of the Cabeiri, out of disrespect and to loot, were driven mad and were killed in the sea and precipices. The wrath of the Cabeiri was unmerciful for the uninitiated and the irreverent.

Sanctuary of Cabeiri

Religious Center of Thrace

Religious Center of Thrace

We have already arrived on the mountain Parnassus, which took its name from the hero of the area, the son of the nymph Kleodora and Kleopompus, through the intervention of the god Poseidon. Parnassus had founded there the Oracle of Pythos, which was later taken over by Apollo.

We found ourselves here during the period when the god Apollo was preparing for his journey to the Hyperboreans, mythical people who lived “beyond the North Wind“. During his absence, his place would be occupied by Dionysus, the celebrations of whom start with the harvest of the vine in the month Metageitnion (August-September); namely during the period, when the constellation of Crater appeared in the sky, which was used for the mixing of wine with water (Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater).

Delphi

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Leaving Delphi behind us, we entered the lands of the Locres Ozales and passed over Amfissa, which took its name from the daughter of Macareas, son of Aeolus, who incestuously joined his sister Canace. Then Aeolus threw their child to the dogs and ordered his daughter to commit suicide. But also Macareas killed himself when his passion became known. The first inhabitants of Amfissa were the Cyclopes. During the Peloponnesian War it joined the coalition of Sparta. Its inhabitants perform some mysteries which are said to be about the Cabeiri.
Bellow us was the river Daphnos (Mornus), which took its name from Daphne, a demigod of Sicily, who was son of Hermes and had died at the prime of his youth; that is why the god was quite moved. The cause of his demise was his love for the Nymph Nomea, who never forgave his relationship with the daughter of the king, who deceitfully seduced him, after intoxicating him. Nomea enraged blinded him and the now blind Daphne sang mournful songs, until he fell from a rock and was killed. His father then took him with him to the Heavens.
On our left, bellow Amfissa, lies Mounea, the inhabitants of which offer sacrifices to the meek gods after sunset and eat meat before the sunrise. Moreover on our left, towards the sea, lies Nafpactos which takes its name from some Nymph. There is a shrine of Aphrodite there, where the widows ask the goddess for a second husband. Near the sea the shrine of Poseidon was located and a little further that of Asclepius.
There is the river Evinos which was previously called Lykormas and took the name of the son of Ares, who fell in war trying to capture Idas, who had kidnapped his daughter. That is where Heracles killed the ferryman centaur Nessus who attempted to rape his wife Deianira. Heracles ended his life at the springs of Evinos, on the mountain Oeta near the peak, falling into the fire which Philoctetes had lit for the hero (Pyra of Herakles). The reason was because Heracles, after his victory against Eurytus, asked his wife for a new tunic, to establish a celebration for Zeus. However the tunic worn by the hero was drenched in the blood of Nessus and it afflicted his skin without him being able to take it off. Thus his wife, who had been tricked by Nessus, when she realized what she had done, killed herself and Heracles decided to throw himself into the fire. But a thunder was heard and the hero ascended to the Heavens on a cloud.
Aetolia, up to the river Achelous, is an isolated region, mountainous and with poor roads. Its antediluvian inhabitants were the Pelasgians and the Courites, who were identified as the Dactyl of Crete and the Korybantes, who were the first men born from Gaia. It took its name from the son of Endymion, Aetolus, who fled here from the Peloponnese because he had killed king Apis. The Athenians claimed that this tribe of the Aetolians was barbarous, spoke an incomprehensible language and ate raw meat, but was the largest in population. Despite this, they would create in Thermo the Aetolian Leauge and seize control of Delphi. Thermo is on our left in a distance of 15 kilometers, near lake Trichonida; the location of the temple of Apollo and Artemis. The town was filled with artistic treasures; most of which was a product of looting by the Aetolians, who had reached as far as Dion and Dodoni.
In front of us we can see the raging Acheloous, whom Heracles fought for the sake of Deianira. This river god is an untamed beast, son of chthonic gods, Oceanus and Tethys. Once, enraged because some Nymphs forgot him in their sacrifice near the banks, he suddenly flooded and drove them into the sea, creating the islands of the Echinades.
Further down we entered the land of the Amphilochians, who founded their city near the Gulf of Ambracia. Its name is taken from Amphilochus, the son of Amphiaraus, who was one of the suitors of Helen of Troy, that is why he participated in the campaign. After a while to the right we come across the great Corinthian colony of Ambracia (Arta), which was founded in 625 B.C. by Gorgus, an illegitimate son of the tyrant of Corinth, Cypselus. It takes its name from Ambracia, a daughter of Melaneus, who was a son of Apollo. The town was near the river Aracthus – who was a brother of the firstborn Achelous – whose springs were in Pindos, the great mountain range which includes the Athamanic mountains (Tzoumerka), on the peaks of which the ark of Deucalion landed, in the period of the deluge (the flood of Deucalion ended the First Bronze Age). It laid there on an altitude of 2.429 meters, 40 km to our right.
In a while we would reach the Necromanteion, in a sudden rainstorm which made us shiver even more than the course towards the unknown we were about to embark on. Hermes noticed this and, before we entered the entrance to Hades, he tried to encourage us. He is a good god, sweet tempered and we listened with devotion.

What is life, he told us, but a dream that you will relive in another body. If you were good, you will ascend and might even be reborn as a king. So do not shiver and try to understand the cycle of life. Down there you will see many good and evil people, but before all this you will meet your own, whom you loved and departed before you did, waiting for you.

However I have to deliver you to Charon and leave to bring more souls, this is my job. So here, take a drachma and give it to the ferryman to take you across, to the land of the dead.

Necromanteion

West Gate of the Mortal

West Gate of the Mortal

Among many others we also passed to the Palace under the gaze of Cerberus, feeling the invisible hand of Hades pushing us. Before we entered the dark tunnel, we took with us the sweet smile of Persephone which gave us courage. It was impossible to forget this slender lady with the long black dress, which fluttered like a wraith, without any air.

Leaving the palace of Persephone in the Necromanteion, we headed for Olympus, greeting the good lady. Persephone had great renown in the space of the chthonic gods, but the celestial gods respected her as well because she was a daughter of Demeter, as an intermediate union of the celestial and chthonic space. Hermes on the other hand, tirelessly made the trip Olympus (Dion), Delphi and Necromanteion, carrying the orders of Zeus.