Saturday, 9.05am. I wake up from the “possessed” blow of telephone. In the other end of line is Sakis. “Buddy good morning! What do you say, we go for one tour?”, it says to me. Without second thought, I answer positively. The appointment was given for 10am., in the tolls of Elefsina. After one hour, we were found in the tolls, with the map open, trying to find the “plan of action”. Destination: Caverns of Lakes. In my travels, or to Kalamata, or to Patras, meeting the plate “Caverns of Lakes” the thought that was always nailed in my brain was: “… I must arrange to visit it…”. This time I found the occasion to do it.
After, we covered 100km. of monotonous motorway (National road of Athens-Tripoli), we reached in the node of Nemea and turned right. Following the plates for Nemea, we passed through the vineyards of Ancient Nemea (2km.), in which the known local wines are prepared. We met enough wine houses, but also vineyards with labels that they informed for the name which they supply.
Little before Nemea (8km.), we saw the church of Virgin Mary that was scrambled up the rocks. Really, an impressive spectacle that reminds a little bit, the monasteries of Meteora. We observed that existed street that led to this. We sought the relative labeling, but without success. We moved therefore with orientation the church, to seek the access. In point of fact, beside the 1st T.E.E.(technical school) of Nemea, begins the small street that leads there.
For our good chance, the entry was open (even if we were complicated a little to open the blocked, old, iron door). There was nobody there. Nevertheless, it was all arranged, while the two old buildings testify the age. Probably, the church was a monastery. Following the stone scale, we found small rooms that reminded cell of nuns. In the superior point of the building (mark that one part was rammed in to the rock), is found the small church of Virgin Mary. The small parvis offers an amazing panoramic view of the region. Unfortunately, we did not find certain informative sign on the history of the church. Either way, it deserves you visit it, if you find yourself in Nemea.
We left while the sun was burning. We decided to move in the provincial road. Following the labeling for Aidonia(9km.), Galata (11km.), Platani (16km.), we crossed a big plain with various cultures and olive groves.
Already, certain kilometers before the crossroad of Skotini, we began to go up hypsometrically. We stopped in enough points for photographs. Simultaneously, the firs made their appearance. Henceforth, we felt that the temperature was bearable. The way (18km.) was full of firs and passes from the mount Oligyrtos. In its higher point, we were found in 1.300m.
As we were riding, we saw from tally the big village of Kandyla. We overtook it, without stopping in the homonym monastery that very probably presents some interest. The heat made us look for cool places. Which was the most suitable? ;;; Naturally, the Cavern of Kastrion or as most know it, as the “Cavern of Lakes” (www.kastriacave.gr).
Afterwards Levidi, following the plates for Kalavryta, we reached in the cavern (45km.), little afterwards the village Kastria. The way up to Klitoria was a provincial road, interesting and comfortable. From there and after, the secondary provincial road was equally interest - from opinion of landscape, but the street of course narrower.
The cavern that was discovered accidentally by the residents of the village, functions all the time. The schedule that remains open is: 9am. - 5.30pm. (daily) and 9am.-6.30pm. (weekends). It was thus named because of the existence of 13 lakes, from which 2 only can be visited in the 500[m]. that can walk each visitor. At our visit, we were informed that have been found skeletons of persons and animals. The unique form of life in its interior, are the 4 types of bats that their nests are found near the natural entry (it remains closed henceforth). In the bats is owed its accidental discovery.
The price of ticket amounts in the 9€. The unique negative point was the season where we visited the cavern. Because of the lack of rains inside the cavern, the presence of water was minimal. In no case, the reality did correspond in the photographs that we had seen up to today (in regard to the lakes and the small waterfalls that take shape). For this reason you prefer visit it, the wintry months.
With the end of our tour, we did not find the courage to leave the natural dew that offered to us the space. Because however, we had begun starving, we decided to visit Planitero, for that we had heard positive criticisms. Following direction for Klitoria, we met the crossroad (2-3km.) for Planitero, Elatofyto. The way up to the village impressed us because of the enormous plane trees and also the river that followed at the same time - in a lot of points- the street.
After we passed the old water abrasion, we found ourselves in the Sources of water that are found in one big and cool plane forest. There are found also certain taverns with local special dish, the fresh trout. We did not lose, naturally, the opportunity to try it. The hour passed, without understanding it, with the conversation enjoying the very beautiful landscape.
At the 6pm., we decided to continue and visit the village of Elatofito that is found about 10km. afterwards Planitero. Substantially the village is found “scrambled” in the start of mount Chelmos. Initially the street passes through a region full of plane. Slowly - slowly the deserted street goes uphill and the firs made their appearance. The landscape was really impressive!!! Unfortunately 4-5km., before Elatofyto, we met earth-road… Sakis did not lose his courage and continued. Unfortunately, the autonomy of petrol of its motorcycle was going to betray him… compelling us to return without reaching in our final destination! Nevertheless, the landscape - up to the point that we reached - rewarded us! Deserves the labour and mainly for the friends of off-road riding, while the earth-road is negotiable and comfortable.
We returned, therefore in Planitero and followed the plates for Kalavryta. The way passes near the ski center, offering a panoramic opinion of Kalavryta. Realising the last stop of our excursion, we drank a coffee in the central square, opposite from the railway station of “Odontotos”. We waited for the sun to “fall”, as it burned us all day.
Finally, this choice was proved correct, while at our return - up to Diakopto- we had the occasion to enjoy the very beautiful and romantic colors of horizon between the rocky mountains of the region…