One of the nicest walks in Pelion is the old path that descends from Tsagkarada village to Damouchari old port.
Very nice indeed. I particularly enjoyed walking there that autumn morning. The sky was covered with soft clouds brought by the northwestern wind. But I do not write here about that fantastic trail. I write about Damouhari port.
I arrived there walking on the big white pebbles of the beach. The sea was still at the southern coastline, the colors of the depths were so vivid… Stone scaly roofs were appearing through the quiet olive grove.
The tiny harbor was empty, the boats were pulled outside of the water. The sea bottom, covered with soft like velvet sea weeds, sparkled like crystal. Damouchari is the only safe, natural port on the east coast of Pelion mountain. It is also the smallest. All the trade of the surrounding villages Tsangarada and Mouresi was transported from here for many many years.
Just on the cliff, over the small cove, I saw a ruined castle built by the Venetians to protect them from pirates. I could also see an old travelers’ station and ruined warehouses built also by the Venetians in Damouchari.
Long after the Venetians left, those spaces were used by locals to keep the products handled by the port. From the 1970s onwards German tourists started coming here in summertime: but tourism in Damouchari never became massive. Damouchari still today remains a quaint fishing village of eastern Pelion. Which particularly enjoy all those people that come here with their boats.
I saw nobody that morning in the deserted shore. Just an old man was tampering his old boat in the northern end of the bay. I started chatting with him about the village. He kept tampering silently.
“Are you going to ask me about Cleopatra my boy?” he asked me with a slight irony. I thought that he was making fun of me. What Cleopatra? In Damouchari port?
“Who was Cleopatra of Damouchari sir?” I asked politely.
“She was a Greek-Romanian princess who married the greek captain, Vainopoulos. He built a home here and brought her to live together. But she did not stand life here. And she died of sorrow … “.
He stopped talking, took a bucket loaded with gear, tools and ropes and left limping …
After a year I learned the whole story of the beautiful Romanian lady Cleopatra. She was married to a captain of the British fleet named Vainopoulos Apostle during the 19th century. He built a nice home here in Damouchari and he began to deal with trade. But the poor Cleopatra – who she was used to live at the cosmopolitan Bucharest, into the culture and the good life – came here to the isolated village of Pelion, in the wilderness and mountainous thick fogs and suffered a huge depression. Her former beauty languished and on the birth of her child she died …
According to the story, her husband married Victoria, the local nanny of the child (who died 3 years old), made more children with her and died in a major fire on the mountain. Victoria sold the estate to make a living. Even today there are some families in Damouchari who are descendants of Captain Vainopoulos. And all that preserves the memory of Cleopatra is the nice bar “Cleopatra Miramare”.
Poor Cleopatra … From Bucharest to Damouchari is a long distance: actually some centuries of civilization. How she could stand this?
The honk of Dimitri who came to collect me with his nice inflatable boat reminds me of my own civilization and sends my thoughts at the bottom of the sea.
Where am I?
Damouchari is located beneath the famous Pelion village Tsagarada. A good asphalt road can take you to the port. Tsagarada is located 47 km from Volos town. You can come here by car through fantastic tracks in the forests of Pelion mountain.