Saturday, August 4, 2018

Off The Beaten Track: The Blue Eye Of Northern Epirus, Albania

Queens GazetteSManalysis

By Catherine Tsounis
The Blue Eye or Syri I Kalter is a natural treasure in Northern Epirus, Albania. The contrast of blue and light blue colors of the waters with natural vegetation and ancient oak trees make it an oasis of coolness. I travelled with a Danish/German group from Corfu by boat to Saranta, Albania. Hara Armeni of Charitos Tours with Natasha of Joy Cruises arranged the trip with the assistance of their colleagues Katerina and Chrysa last May.  The 22 miles from Corfu to Saranta was calming.  Our Albanian tour guides were Matilda Guci, Tomor Tare and Lambi , the bus driver made this excursion unforgettable with their pleasant smiles. An all-day trip of a lifetime for under 80 euros including lunch, transport and port taxes was enjoyable without crowds and pushing. It was a peaceful excursion where he/she could enjoy the natural beauty.

We passed through a beautiful country side and several Greek Orthodox churches, seeing the Blue Eye.
Blue Eye.
border of Northern Epirus, Albania and Greece’s Epirus. We passed through the river Bistrica to get to the Blue Eye, where there is a country restaurant.1Gypsys camps were along the road.

The temperature of the spring is 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit). The Blue Eye also represents the largest source of drinking water in this part of the world, which is currently explored only up to 50 m of depth. The water in the inner part of the spring appears very dark blue, like the pupil of an eye, and a lighter color of blue as an outer ring – the iris, which gives the impression of a blue eye.

Tomor Tare.
Tomor Tare.
Goats grazing along the river, with numerous fountains by the restaurant. A blue ramp leading to a patio by the Blue gave a feeling of being untouched by 2018. Baby frogs were on the river rocks, along with dragon flies and butterflies. The sign said “In this unique area along the river karst (landscape underlain by limestone that has been eroded by dissolution, producing ridges, towers, fissures, sinkholes, and other characteristic landforms), resources meet, typical aquatic vegetation, different species of maquis and type plane tree…creating the image of a small jungle. ..a bat, mammals like the wolf, jackal, fox, hare, wild dove, and several species of reptiles.”

Southern Albania holds numerous archaeological wonders the country’s stunning nature and Blue Eye.
Blue Eye.
landscapes also make it a worthwhile destination. The region’s mountainous territory has dramatic landscapes. On that excursion, we visited the ancient city of Butrint , a UNESCO World Heritage site.2 Take this pleasant, stress free  excursion with Charitos and Joy Tours.

1. – Hara Armeni of Charitos Tours.
2. – Natasha of Joy Cruises
3.     Guide Matilda Guci on Facebook

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