Three days at Hotel Nemesis
On the first day of our stay in the morning, we started from the hotel Nemesis, taking the road towards Libera – Galani – Toxotes, a distance of 30 km. In the first kilometres of our journey, on our left we could see the stone path of Komnina – Kromniko – Galani, whose length is 22 km (approximately 4,5 hours hiking) and immediately after that there is the path of Komnina – Liberia – Livera Stop, which is 8 km long (approximately 1,5 hours hiking) as we were informed by the hotel. At this point, we turned right and after 500 meters we saw the ruins of the castle of Komnina and admired the natural beauty of the valley of the river.
As we continued along, we got lucky and at the height of the village of Livera we saw one of the herds of wild horses living in the area. After an one-hour journey, we arrived at the top of the mountain of Livera, at the location “Thea”, where in front of us we could see the Narrow paths of Nestos with the meanders, the Thracian Sea and Thasos Island and deep in the horizon the island of Samothraki and Mount Athos.
Further down, after a 15-minute hike, we reached the village of Toxotes and Egnatia Odos, the main highway.
We didn’t take the path to the Delta of the river Nestos and the Great Forest of ‘Kotza Orman’ as we were informed that this area has now become farmlands.
We drove to lake Vistonida where the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos is, which is part of the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi. It didn’t take more than 25 minutes to get there, a distance of around 30 km. We were impressed by the vast wetlands around the lake, where we saw many different bird species: swans, herons, and flamingos among others.
We lit a candle in the monastery of Panagia Pantanassa and we took the road back to Xanthi.
It was almost noon when we stopped in one of the taverns of the city. In the afternoon, we walked the cobblestone streets of the Old Town with the beautifully restored mansions. Later on, we visited the monasteries on the mountain side, where a helpful monk opened the church museum for us. When we returned in the evening at the hotel, we really felt how busy our day had been.
On the second day of the journey, in the morning we departed for the Forest of Erimanthos at Livaditis area, to see the Forest of the Beech and walk down to the waterfall. We passed by the villages of Stavroupoli, Dafnonas and Kariofito and after an hour drive, approximately 25 km, we reached the village of Livaditis at an altitude of 1200 meters with a breathtaking panoramic view. We headed towards the Forest village, centre of the Virgin Forest of Birch and Beech. We drove on for about 2 km and we took a left turn into the dirt road (2km distance), where we stopped for a while. As we continued, we took the steep path to the waterfall, walking among massive beech trees. It took us about 45 minutes to climb down the path. The breathtaking view of the 30-metres high waterfalls, though, was rewarding.
Admittedly, the ascent on the return was tiring and took us an hour and 15 minutes. When we reached the car, the tiredness was forgotten and we all agreed that it was worth it.
We headed back to the hotel for some rest, visiting on our way one of the taverns to taste the local specialties.*
We rested for a couple of hours in the hotel and in the afternoon we set out for the villages of the Muslim region.
We took the road to Xanthi, a route of 30 km and on the 22nd km we turned left, reaching the first village, Sminthi. It didn’t take us more than half an hour.
We were very impressed by the friendliness of the people, as well as by the traditional clothes that they still wore. We went on to visit the largest one of the villages, called Echinos, where we arrived after a 15km route, passing by the tobacco fields.
We stopped and expressed our interest to visit the old central mosque of the village. The attendants willingly helped and guided us, which was a very interesting new experience. We also visited the nearby villages of Pachni and Kentavros. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to visit the village with the hot springs. On our way back we were full of mixed feelings.
The third day was the day of our return, but we decided to make the most out of the few spare hours we had in the morning. We took the road to Drama (west), having first visited the Macedonian Tomb, at the location “Mytikas” near the hotel and after a 20 km journey we arrived at the settlement of Paranesti. A plave of interest there, as we were informed, is the Museum of Natural History which we visited. It was a very educational visit.
As we had enough time, we started our visit to the hydroelectric dams belonging to PPC (Public Power Corporation), a 15-minutes route. Just the sight of the dam and lake was something extraordinary. We are lucky; we were given the opportunity to enter the underground power plant dam of “Thisavros”. It was a unique and unforgettable experience. After all this time, we still recall the weekend we spent at the hotel Nemesis as one of those worth remembering.