Up where the air is clear

Today I bussed high into the central Peloponnese, ancient Arcadia itself. A classical landscape unchanged in two and a half thousand years….

…until five days ago.

Yes, Arcadia is suffering. Great hillside tracts have been reamed by the fire, whole mountains baked into stony blackness. I hear even Olympia, site of the first Games, has just been lost.

But the good news is: there's plenty left.

I've found a guesthouse in the hillside town of Dimitsana, a four-tavern town where the hostess produces an exercise book full of vocab as the menu. (I take whatever she points at – potatoes, spicy sausage, fried cheese – and it's all really, really good.) My room has a balcony the juts out over a hundred metres of absolute nothingness; vertigo comes at no extra charge. The hotel is glued to a steep hill and the gradient from its foundations into the Louisos Gorge must be 10 in 1. It's fantastic in every way.

Not least of which is the way I can see clouds BELOW me.

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