We woke up at a leisurely pace, and went for another dose of our favourite Greek breakfast. The weather today had totally changed compared to yesterdays; completely overcast, with rain clouds everywhere. We had another lovely chat with the host, and she recommended that we went around the Canyon the other way – as it also offered some great, less busy views of the canyon.
So after packing up, and saying our goodbyes, we set off driving anti-clockwise from Dilofo and immediately stumbled upon a few fantastic stone bridges, dating back to the 18th Century – we parked Emanuel, and hopped out for a couple of snaps. The first bridge was Bridge of Kokkoros (or Noutsos) – and about 5 mins drive around the corner is the more adventurous; The Bridge of Plakidas – both must be amazing when the river is at it highest – but right now, there wasn’t even a drop of water going under them.
We continued up, through the winding road up to a tiny little village called Vradeto. We parked up, and hiked a few the km along the top plateau of the gorge until we reached the Beloi Lookout point – a similar setup to what we had at Oxya Viewpoint, but we’re now at the other side of the Canyon.
The view was pretty fantastic. The canyon is BIG. We had the place to ourselves for a little while, but we were then joined by an older couple who happily took our photo for us. Being so high, it was a bit nippy, and started to hail a bit by the time we were leaving. We got back to the village, and decided to pop into the only little hotel/cafe that’s in Vradeto for a quick cup of coffee and cake by the fire. We picked up a couple of Iranian hitchhikers and dropped them off as far as we could along the route they were going.
From here, we continued going counter-clockwise, the road started to get worse and worse, but the view were still mighty impressive. There was evidence that some serious landslides had happened in the past at a few places, with the road almost gone – so I took my sweet time driving along this little road. It was incredibly quiet, but we stopped now and again to take in the views, take photos and timelapses. We listened to some traditional Greek radio – to help set the mood, and Gina kept a sharp eye for some bears in the woods (which we didn’t see.)
After a few solid hours of driving, we arrived back on one of the main roads, we’d basically done a massive loop around the whole mountains and gorge. Our next destination was down South to Ioannina. When we arrived, the weather had changed again – this time the wind was super fierce, the lake had waves on it! We found our hotel, and set ourselves up for the night.
By now, we were super hungry – we popped over to the lake for a quick look, and decided to run into the town to shelter from the massive winds. Gina found a nice place for us to eat, recommended by our Lonely Planet guide book; Stoa Louli – serving Greek favourites with a contemporary twist. The food was fantastic – but unfortunately, the whole electrical power of Ioannina was knocked out by the massive wind. We were given candles to eat by, so everything was good. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, through the pitch black streets, into bed, where we watched the new second season of the amazing Norsemen. Yey!