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J139 - Thursday, March 4 : Mataranga - Stefanovouno

75.07km – 10H14’
Altitude : 285m
We heard dogs barking all night long.  As René says, a camp without dogs would not be a camp, it would be a failure.
Today the route was rustic and 100% rural.
Serge starts at 7:00 AM.  It’s misty and he wears gloves and a cap.
By 9:00 the temperature is 12°C so Serge takes off some clothes. He covers up again during the ascent to Diasello, a village perched at 522m.  This small road is magnificent and the surface is new, thanks to European funding, but at km46 the asphalt ends abruptly, obviously financing has run out, and after 7.5km of track we reach the village of Vlachogianni and an asphalt road.  On this first part of the stage we meet several herds of cows which are not fenced in and which watch us go by without moving.  There are lots of shepherds who are very pleasant and always curious to know where we are from and what we are doing.  The language barrier makes us sorry we can’t communicate in Greek.
We set up camp in an ideal spot, on a grassy platform among pine trees, overlooking the village of Stefanovouno.  There is a fountain and the team takes advantage of this to clean up: shaving, showering, and doing laundry… it’s going to smell good.  From this site we ought to be able to admire Mount Olympus, the highest peak of the country at 9550ft., but the low clouds block the view.  Our camp must frighten the villagers, even though we are not very close, because two men dressed in suits and ties come to see us.  We think it is the mayor of the village with a friend but once again the language barrier keeps us from conversing with them.  They are able to understand what we are doing and then comes the first and inevitable question: “Italian, Deutsch???” to which we reply “no French”.  Reassured, they leave.
The dogs are not far away and we can be sure that their barking will rock us to sleep.

Town : Stefanovouno (Thessalie)

GPS : N 39.85346° E 022.17556°