In the mountains of Greece in search of the ancient gods

With the stick I release the unlocking and free my boots. I look down at the ski track that goes up along the large ridge leading up to the top of the Skala. The snow in the last one hundred and fifty meters of altitude was hard and windy. Not a great pleasure to climb and probably will not even be down. Below, I’m sure the squirrels will leave the post to the most beautiful spring firen you can imagine, a mantle that will give our skis curves memorable. When I finally look up, I do it slowly, almost with fear.

The true summit of this mountain is just over, taller than just 7 meters. To reach it, however, it is necessary to descend to a collar and climb climbing on the rocks discovered on the ridge. But this is not what I want. I prefer to sit here in the snow and observe that dolomitic wall, that steep climbing stone on which the great pioneer of dolomite climbing Emilio Comici traced in the 30s of the last century a climbing path which from the center ascend directly to the summit, up to the sumptuous rocks of Olympus.

So I stay silent, the gaze fixed on that limestone and yet, for so many efforts to do, I still can not see the son of Crono and Rea, the Sovereign of the Gods, the Lightning Thrower, the Seduction of goddesses, nymphs and mortals. ‘immortal Zeus. I can not even see any of the others, neither Era nor Aphrodite, Ares, Athena or Hermes. Yet I’m sure their spirit still lives among those rocks.

The weight they have had in the history of European men and women is so great that it is not possible to think of this mountain and these lands without going with the thought of the aura of mythology that they pervaded. For this reason, though I went up and down with the highest or harder mountain skiing of this, the feeling that makes my soul tremble now is one of the strongest I have ever experienced. It is an emotion that comes from a past that precedes my births for millennia but which is still powerful as it was when it was living in the words that came out of Homer’s mouth. Here is what we are today, here are the basics of our culture and our way of life. Here are the basics of our civil and democratic coexistence. It is not possible that all this heritage has left a mark on these rocks as well.

I’m still looking at the top of Olympus, but my fantasy does not just take the body. The rocks continue to be deserted. Only a handful spreads his wings from the peak of the Mitikos. With quick wings of wings he stands, stands for a moment on the vertical of the mountain and then disappears to the Gulf of Thessaloniki. Who knows, I think with a smile, maybe it might be just Zeus in one of her many disguises. I knit the skins and catches the skis, strain my boots, and with my friends start the descent. It’s the last day of this little adventure. Tomorrow, an airplane flight will take us back to home for a few hours. A non-trip trip that of return. Because even though it will lead us to affection and affection, it will also be a journey towards the certainties and secrets of everyday life. The journey, on the other hand, is the real journey, is first of all the confrontation of man with himself and with the doubts that the road puts before him. Only in this sense also the return can make sense: it is no longer the end of the experience, but a moment of a circular path, a return to the origins, where everything started and where the history of the journey itself can be metabolized and told.

To live this right here, on the land of Greece, where the prototype of all travel narratives was born, the affair of the Homeric hero Ulysses, was like weaving a fitting with that distant history and with all the mythology of the gods of ancient Ellas . Crossing the Epirus and climbing three of its mountain ranges, with a snow perhaps not abundant but amazing for quality, a gorgeous firn, a granite on which to let slip the aces with unparalleled pleasure, we met other skiers and discovered that even in Greece there are ski mountaineers, perhaps a small number, but with great abilities and a desire similar to ours to enjoy the snowy mountain environment.