Drakolimni (= Dragon lake) is the name of several alpine or sub-alpine lakes in northwestern Greece Epirus periphery. According to local folktales the lakes used to be inhabited by dragons that fought each other by throwing pines and rocks and thus created the peculiar landscape and gave their names to the lakes. Drakolimni of Tymfi resides at an altitude of 2100m above sea level, on the mountain range of Tymfi and is inhabited by a species of alpine newt, called drakakia by the locals. According to local sources, the newts' resemblance to small dragons gives the lake its distinctive name.…and this was my most difficult capture to get. Not to capture, but to reach that sliver of paradise we had to go through a kind of hell. To set things straight, when I say WE I mean WE. Most people traveling light, with only their clothes in their backpacks or with no backpacks at all reach that place in 5 hours of fairly easy uphill track (or even less, we met people that jogged that track just for fun). Well, let me give you the version of two mildly to seriously out of shape and heavily packed photographers carrying with them all of their photographic equipment (to talk with numbers that’s translated to 25 kilos for male photographer Konstantinos Vasilakis and 15 kilos for female photographer me –that’s just a little less than one third of my weight)...Alarm clock set at 7.30 am, arrival at the nearest village at 9.00am. We saddle up and start walking. First half hour is a mere torture to me as what starts as a merely annoying pain at my right shoulder becomes a stab real fast. I keep fumbling and messing with my backback straps, tightening some and loosening up some until I find a comfortable combination at last. We carry on panting laboriously, tongues lolling out of our mouths; we do innumerable stops to catch our breath and I use each of these stops to munch enthusiastically through our supplies of food not because I’m hungry but because I want to lighten up my burden. Fortunately at some point the carbohydrates I have consumed kick in and I feel much better, find a reasonable pace and 6 hours later we reach the refuge and collapse on the front porch unable to shoo away the horses that come to greet us, sniff, lick and nibble at our bags. After a hot drink and a tasty dinner we sleep like logs.That was not the end, the lake still lay ahead of us and we set off to explore it and time ourselves on the next morning. Stop clock verdict: 2 hours. Which means that since we want a sunrise at the land of the dragons we wake up at 3.30am, leave by 4.00 am, snow sparkling like diamond dust under our headlights, moon shining behind the peak of Astraka, mildly worried about wolves and bears waiting for their nicely wrapped up in isothermal clothes take-away breakfast. We reach the lake in our usual, unbecoming fashion (panting laboriously, tongues hanging out of our mouths etc etc) just in time to catch the first light touching the peaks before it was snuffed out by a heavy cloud right behind us.Do I dare do it again? H E L L, Y E S!!!

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