by Gábor Lövei
Sunday 3 July was excursion day in the intense program of the GSS. So, for an easy day out, we were driven to the village of Papingo, the spectacular location of several former GSSs, and from there, we followed the meandering but steep ascent from Mikropapingo to the mountain refuge on the Astraka Pass (1950 m a.s.l.). The climb lead us through the oak-hazelnut forest into the regions of the conifers, with numerous large trees of Juniperus foetidissima, then the subalpine bushes, and finally, the alpine meadows. This climb is never easy and the participants spread along the path, some looking for plants, others for birds or butterflies. There still were a few snow patches here and there at the higher sides of Mt. Timfi, and lots of the playful alpine coughs. After a rest and a mountain tea at the refuge, we returned to Papingo village to have an early dinner at the Pantheon restaurant before descending to the icy and crystal clear Voidomatis River for a quick bath. The river is considered the cleanest in Europe, and the EC Water Framework Directive has this river as the baseline in water quality. It seemed that it is not only the cleanest but also the coldest of the European rivers... For the coming second week, we do not mind to remain more sedentary.