Saturday, May 21, 2016

Red


It's not often that you (as a tourist) get the red carpet treatment. 

But we are in the small town of Loutra Ypatis and today's activities include hiking the paths of Mount Oiti (Oeta) to the south of village and researching the hot springs of said village.

So. 
There's surprisingly little info concerning hiking possibilities, so the idea was to drive into Loutra Ypatis which hosts the Mt Oiti National Park office and see if we can gather more info there. And look into the soaking possibilities available.

Loutra Ypatis village is quite spacious and seems to endear itself to humanity by allowing guests to use it's waters. Quite a few hotels. And lots of restaurants, all empty today.

But also precious little info to gain.

So ...
Plan B is to seek the national park office and see if there's more info available there, that seems quite straightforward

Though there's a ringer on the outer door, it's not necessarily welcoming for gaining info. 
But the buzzer sets off a frantic welcoming committee where not only am I receiving a poster size map of the area, I also receive an excessive amount of news about hikes in the area, a t-shirt, a hat, booklets, etc!

Back
Weighed down and hopefully not upsetting the hosts by not wanting all whats on offer, we retreat for the safeness of a car and speed off up the hill to the nearby village of Ypati (Υπάτη) to visit the waterfall of Kremastos which entails an hour's of walking from the village. And then another hour back.

Going from Loutra Ypatis to Ypati means a decent drive up the mountain. The village itself is just a square with a number of roads shooting off from here. 
It's claim to fame harks back to the dark days of war, both in anti-Ottoman and WWII times when it's position on the edge of the mountains overseeing the fertile plains nearby, meant it provided patriotic forces a starting point to oust the oppressors, even though it would mean backfiring on the village itself.

Continue onwards from Ypati, you'll pass a significant bridge, which (if having paid attention) you'll notice the path to the aforementioned Kremastos waterfall starts shortly before this bridge on the mountain side. This hike is relatively short and aside from the last hundred meters or so nothing technical: it meanders itself up the floodplain and then follows a stream to the east. This leads to a small canyon where the waterfall drops into (photo below). 


Or go straight from the village over the mountains. See also this description from the Oiti NP website. 

The link btw is also a good source for more hikes in and around the mountain.


Had it been a scorcher of a day, no doubt it would have been a great place for a cool down. 
It wasn't, so we returned the same way as we came by.

Rare
But after a late lunch in Loutra Ypatis, we pass by the bathing building. 

Despite the village being solely focused on the possibility to bath, there's little to discover soakingswise. Or otherwise.

The municipality of Lamia, under which Loutra Ipatis falls, has quite a bit to say on the hot springs, though somehow one fails to make much sense of what they are trying to communicate.

There are two not so meaningful, but positive reviews on tripadvisor of taking a bath here.

Furthermore this source notes: 
'The medicinal bath of Loutra Ypatis is the only acid- carbonaceous spring in Greece and one of the rarest in the world'.

Trade today was certainly not roaring, there was actually no one at all aside from the 2 attendees. 

They graciously answered our questions and showed us a bath (below), which would have meant that we would be spending close to 10 Euros for the privilege of locking ourselves in this prison cell up for a half hour or so.


There's also a newer looking outside public pool, the cost for which was identical as for renting the cubicle. 



As there are a couple of wild hot springs half an hours drive away, we opt for these and leave the sulphur reeking pools for what they are.
But certainly not a bad place, just tough luck that we had an alternative. 

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