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If tranquility is what you’re after on a national holiday and you seek for it in the whereabouts of the nation’s most famous winter destination, you are probably not the wisest man around. Except if you are willing to add a factor in the equation that the hip crowds aren’t: effort.

Two hours of steadily uphill trekking, covering 600m of vertical gain within just 2km of horizontal trail length. The #22 trail from “Michalis Defner” refuge in Parnassos to the summit of Gerontovrachos. Our usual image of the crest was the one everyone sees from the ski resort during winter: snow covered and constantly wind blown. Now it was dead calm, no wind at all. It was waiting for us. And it seemed close from the beginning point.

“Close” turned out to be an illusion, as we walked and walked and the summit was still out of reach, but time came where we finally touched the pole. Water flasks and sandwiches bursted out of the backpacks, sweaty backs laid flat on the cool soil and no sound exceeded a level of -50dB.

The short dry grasses barely lingered, we stood there hearing our own two breaths and bathing in the perfect sunshine, with an eagle’s-eye view of Itea and nearby mountain ranges of Helmos, Giona and Vardousia. The only reason to pack things up and descend after an hour was the clock. The sun was soon to set and we prefer not to practice pathfinding with a torch...
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