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Acheron river

Trip Details

Trips inside Epirus
Date: Sat, 23/07/2011
Motorcyclists: Michael , Giorgos
Copilots: Stergiani
Photographers: Giorgos
Authors: Giorgos
Translators: Apostolis
Map: Trip map

Sightseeing map

In search for freshness, as summer has come for good, we decided along with Sterianni and Michalis to visit river Acheron, as an alternate form of walk and tourism. Acheron is located 74km southwest of Ioannina in the village Glyki, near Souli.
Acheron river, from the word achos( means sorrow), Acheron – without happiness,river of sorrow, is from the most well known worldwide not so much for its size but because of the metaphysical content of mythological information that carries in its waters. According to religious beliefs of ancient Greeks, Acheron was the son of Earth. However, during Titanomachy, Aceron gave water to Titans to quench their thirst and was sentenced by Zeus to stay eternally below Earth.   This river, the souls of the dead had to cross in order to reach the kingdom of Hades. Hermes brought the souls to Hades. From there, Charon, the old ferryman, took charge. The crossing from one side to the other was made by Charon’s ferry, who took as a fee a mite from each dead one. Charon led the souls through the river in  Lake Acherousia in the depths of which the kingdom of  Hades was. Crossing the river, it becomes perceivable why our ancient ancestors conjured up such a beautiful story. The eyes of the dead had to sate beauty and travel with the best recent pictures on their minds. Reaching Glyki, one has two choices about from which side you aproach the river either left or right, in both cases there are roads that lead to the sources. We chose the left side and the road led us to a parking where we left our bikes and begun  hiking.  At the place, many professionals are active and you can downhill the river with boat or take  a ride on horses etc.  Shoes for the river are necessary as without them it is difficult to walk on the river pebbles. You also need a bathing suit as it is hard to reach the point you get in the river and you don’t enter its crystal waters. After the shops, we crossed a narrow road, in the beginning it is paved,  then the landscape is completely natural and virgin and shaded by large planes.Until you reach the big source , on the river banks there are pedestals where, if you stand the cold water, you can dive..
The area is included on the organisation Νatura , there are signs all over the way that say camping is not allowed , however there are people that camp. At some point the path leads inside the river, there exactly the first big source is located, the wateris  clear and quite cold. After the first intense contact and after we moved on above the sources the water starts to heat and you get used to it while the time passes by. The water flow is smooth without being drifted. The depth varies at different parts and from one side to the other you can choose points, depending on what you want to do either walk or dive and the water covers you, without still being inaccessible.The river goes down between huge rocks, full of planes and at their ground there are sources of different sizes, that flow into the river waters. At some points you can also drink. Following the riverbed, we turned left. At this point, the rocks come so close that don’t let the sun to come through. Here, we met the first point, where  the depth of the water overcomes two meters for a distance of 3-4 meters ,and you have to swim. The camera, at this point, becomes an obstacle in order to go on the river rise. Above there, the landscape becomes even wilder. We stayed at this point, and after we completed about two and a half hours inside the river we took the road of return, which is easier as you don’t find the water resistance.
What you feel, going out the river, is a sense of euphoria, revitalization and well-being. Comparing it to the sea, I would say that there is no  common reference. It’s a unique experience and I would urge everyone to live it, if he/she hasn’t done so far.