Sunday, June 19, 2016

Oversight


Hot springs are just one of the many gifts natures gives us to enjoy.

It's weird then that the hot spring of Damasta (or Dhamasta) (Gorgopotamos, Phthiotis, Greece) somehow lies in a very unappealingly terrain. Yin and Yang?

Set between the cliff face of the Kallidromo mountains to the south and the dusty, flat no-man's land towards the main motorway north, it's quite a surprise to find out that these springs are actually quite fantastic.

Parallel to the Athens-Larissa motorway runs a road which serves as a local access road. From the more well-known soak and historically significant landmark of Thermopyles the motorway itself turns sharply to the north (and where one can into the Kallidromo mountains to the south and Delphi beyond). Just in this bend one can head take a turn under the motorway, west towards the villages of Damasta and Iraklia. About 500m up this road a dirt road heads to the scrub covered mountain face. A hundred meters further up this road, the arrival and departure of what seems many a car has created a impromptu parking area.


Beyond this parking area are two pools to be seen. One to your right which seems less appealing and slightly muddy, one to your left (see following photo) which contains rocks and is shaded by greenery from the mountain face. 


Body blows
Which to choose? In either pool, there are already soakers minding their own business. We choose the more natural soak, the one to our left.

Most change next to or in their car, depending on how well one can change quickly or whether or not one believes in bodyshame, we quickly change behind a rock next to the soak itself.

This hot spring is bliss, very clear, nice and warm, I would estimate it to be around 35 degrees.


What's not heaven are vicious blow flies which are in party mood on the scantily clad soakers, yeah! Someone has been thoughtful enough to leave a fly swatter behind, but such is their hunger that despite the setting the soak is terminated a wee bit (too) early.

But the lure of this spring means we revisit this place, this time aware of the blow flies we take the right pool, which is considerably devoid of the beasts.


Slightly hotter, the experience is just as good. Certainly one of the better natural soaks. A plus for non-development.

Illuminated
There's suspiciously little extra info available on internet. The government website Lamia.gr:
'In Dhamasta, close to highway Lamia - Athens are spas Kallidromos (Psoroneria). In the open pool of hot springs, formed, one can enjoy swimming at 33o C water,  even if you suffer from rheumatism and skin diseases.
The thermal waters of the ancient Greeks they offered to Hercules because they strengthen and heal the body and Hercules represents strength. The Psoroneria like, and baths at Thermopylae were known from antiquity. They believed that the goddess Athena donated to Hercules. Temple dedicated to Hercules was at Thermopylae, as we mentioned by Herodotus and PausaniasThe 2nd century a.C., the Irosis the Atticus had built tanks to use them the inhabitants of the surrounding areas. In contrast, during the Turkish baths were completely neglected'.
There are two problems with this reference: The map is slightly off, it would require a hike into the mountains. And the picture seems not to add up. 

It's then that I discover that this hot spring is part of where I was, just a couple of 100m to the west. It's lot more developed and larger. See following photo:


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From Virtualtourist:
'Damasta SPA is an open little lake near the village Damasta, between Lamia and Thermophiles- on the old road- the water is not so hot like Thermophiles SPA but for sure it deserve a visit. It is an open aria and it can be easy reached all day and night (illuminated aria) their is no entrees fee'. 

Earlier (2014) on this blog, it was reported that these springs were to be developed (source).
Just last month (golamia, May 16) there was a very brief report on this soak being cleaned (by tractor) by the local government for the benefit of 
'... the tens of swimmers who are there every day'.


No mention of blow flies ...

There's not much more to do in the area, Lamia town is nondescript the delta area could be nice (if accessible) and the Kallidromo mountains pretty barren. 

 
A sight for sore feet 

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