While driving from Athens to the Volos port on our way to Skopelos, I planned to make a quick stop at a hot spring that all Greeks know, but most of them haven’t visited the place. Even when I asked my Greek father what he thinks of Thermopyles as a quick stop he grunted and replied: “What are you going to do there, there is nothing to see.”
I am too curious and did not want to rely on someone’s opinion who hasn’t been there before. So when we were almost passing the place, we got off the E75 highway straight to Thermopyles. This place is pretty remote so having a car is the only way to get there. We first stopped at the monument which was honoured to the Greeks who fought during the war between Persia and Sparta at around 500 B.C. It is interesting how such a small Greek army fought against a big Persian army under Xerxes I. I am not here to give you historical lecture so as we proceeded, we found a rusty sign pointing to the left… “Thermopyles Hot Spring”. We were ready to bath in the entrance of Hades.
When you arrive at the spring, the first thing you notice is the smell. The odour of Sulphur is strong and unpleasant. Luckily you get used to it pretty quickly. Some young guys were bathing at the spring and a few older guys were sitting there. At our right, we saw a big building which looked like a big apartment complex. We just entered the gates, put our shoes off and jumped with our legs in the water. This felt great after driving for almost 3 hours.
We enjoyed the quick stop. When we left, something strange happened. About seven dogs were chasing our car. Even the car horn did not scare them off. I could barely make some speed as I was afraid to hit the dogs. On the main road, I could make some speed and we quickly left the dogs behind us.
I did some research and found that the building next to the spring used to be Hotel Aigli. This bankrupt hotel has been giving 250 Syrian refugees a place to sleep.