Please note that the dates for these tours may vary from the guide below. No tours will be offered until international borders are open.
We decided to start a little earlier, but by the time we made our way to the coach through teeming rain it was not as early as we wanted, however, we headed back out of Kalambaka past the defensive position we visited yesterday on our way to Florina. With the big fall of snow in the winter and the torrential rain up here for quite a while all the rivers that we saw on the way were running very well and the main tributary of the Aliakman River was no exception. It was here that there are three bridges, the oldest called the Alexander the Great bridge could have been built in his lifetime as it had all the hall marks of an ancient construction but there are no records to when it was destroyed. The second was destroyed in the Greek Civil War and the current bridge was built in the 1950s.
We had a coffee break at East Grevina before pushing on to Xinon Nero, just before the start of the Kilive Pass and where the 2/4th Battalion had embussed following the battle of Vevi. the Priest from the town meet us at the memorial as did LTCOL Konstantaus Stavros from the local Artillery Brigade and his staff. We held then a small memorial service with the Priest saying the prayer and Denise also reading a prayer while Tim placed a Poppy on the Memorial. The last Post and Reveille followed. Denise's Father was here at the battle as part of the Field Company blowing holes in the road as a restraint to easy movement by the Germans. We then pushed on and arrived at Vevi at 1200 and at the Memorial in the village we conducted a further small Service.
After our Service in Vevi we headed off to the village of Sitaria, Anna's village, where we had lunch in the community hall. The lunch was delicious and after lunch we walked through the village and viewed 2 Churches, the one near the Community Hall and the other, the oldest built in the 14th Century. We then visited the Church of St George on the outskirts of the village where Anna's father is the Priest. The Saint for the Church is Saint Cosmas who was killed by the Ottomans because he would not stop his teaching to the people of the area. The Ottomans did not wish the Greek peasants to get an education. Frescos of Saint Cosmas adorn the walls of the Church.
We said goodbye and headed out to the Battlefields around Vevi. Stopping on the high Ground forward of the village we discussed the fight that took place there 78 years ago. Then we made our way to the top of the position to discuss the issues defending the site. By this time the weather was onto us so we boarded our coach just in time to miss the sleet that came cascading down onto our coach. On through the Pass to the Church that looked over the ground traversed by the 2/8th Battalion as it withdrew out of the battle area. Here we were able to view the whole valley where both Australian battalions had to cross to reach their embussing points.
We hope the weather will be kind to us tomorrow as we visit the Army Border Post at Nikki.