Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Aidonofolies (Volos)-Makrinitsa

Koukourava and Makrinitsa next to Mega rema stream

Distance: 4,1 km.
Duration: 1.40' (walking time 1.25')
Altitude: from 105 m. (Aidonofolies) to 630 m. (Makrinitsa square)
Τotal ascent: 549 m. Total descent; 1 m.
Signinig: red paint marks, some metal signs
Drinking water on walk: Makrinitsa

 Download GPS track:   from Wikiloc    from Everytrail
        This is a beautiful walk, very close to the city of Volos. Starting off from Zafrakopoulos bridge at Aidonofolies in the outskirts of Volos, we follow the course of Mega Rema stream upwards. At Koukourava, the lower part of Makrinitsa, we meet the main kalderimi and follow it to the central square. After exploring Makrinitsa, we can, if we wish, return to the start of the walk via a different, parallel and equally beautiful route that passes through the village of Stagiates (pronounced Stayiates) on the eastern side of Mega Rema (see the routes Makrinitsa-Stagiates and Aidonofolies-Stagiates). We can go to Aidonofolies taking the city bus nr.4 (get off at the end of the line) or by taxi

       Going up Iolkou Street, we cross the Volos ring road and, when we reach the small parking area at Aidonofolies,the main road goes to the right and continues towards Portaria and Hania. At this point, the Zafrakopoulos bridge over Mega Rema stream is on the left and the road over it leads towards Agios Onoufrios – Koukourava – Makrinitsa. This is an old stone arched bridge, but sadly it has been widened using cement so that cars could pass over it.
Zafrakopoulos bridge at Aidonofolies

          Referring to this bridge, Nikos Haratsis writes in his book “Stone Arched Bridges in Pelion” (in Greek): “I am convinced that, if this old bridge had been in the hands of another people, it would have had a different fate. It would have been appropriately lit, the area around it would have been designed with great care and study, and visitors would have been shown this monument with pride. We are deserving of our mentality as a people, when we allow our historical monuments to be spoilt.”
Ζafrakopoulos` bridge in the old days (1930`s)
       We go over the bridge and walk uphill on the asphalt road on the left bank of the river. A little higher up we reach the restaurant Nea Remvi (Νέα Ρέμβη) and keep walking onto the narrower asphalt road just next to the river bed. In a short while, we cross to the right bank over a concrete bridge built on stone bases.
Passing to the right bank of the river
In a few metres, we cross a smaller stream on a small stone arched bridge. Immediately after this bridge, a path/kalderimi goes off to the right towards Stagiates village. We continue on the earth road and pass next to the large stone arched bridge of Kourdistas, which served people going to Agios Onoufrios village that is nearby.
The bridge of Kourdistas
        After the bridge, we leave the earth road down to the left and crossthe river bed next to an old stone hut, that used to be a watermill. On the left bank we continue on an uphill path, passing near to the small chapel of Agios  Nicolaos, which is built on the edge of a steep rock. This area is a known place for climbing.
Agios Nikolaos chapel

       Leaving the chapel, we continue gently uphill on a path with signs of the old kalderimi in places. With the impressive gorge of Mega Rema on our right, seeing the houses of Makrinitsa in front of us, we continue until we reach the asphalt road, on which we walk for a couple of hundred metres.
Looking down the Mega rema gorge to Volos
        As soon as we cross the small stream of Patosia, if we look to the left we may notice steps dug in the rock, going up steeply. These lead to the kalderimi descending from Makrinitsa, which was cut off abruptly when the road was built. Because  climbing up the rock is dangerous (proper steps with a handrail should be constructed here), it is preferable to continue a short distance on the road and to take the kalderimi on the left next to a spring water drinking fountain (without water), marked by red marks. Higher up this kalderimi passes by another fountain (again without water) and later joins the branch that has been cut off. 

           Climbing up between the houses of Koukourava district, we pass by another dry fountain with a plane tree and after the Nanos mansion we cross the asphalt road and continue on the kalderimi. A little higher up this comes out on the road again. Here the kalderimi should continue next to the house on the bank above the road, but it is cut off and impassable (unfortunately, the officials turn a blind eye to this), so we have to walk up the road for a hundred metres. At the sign to ''Αρχοντικό Σταφυλοπάτη'' (Stafilopatis Mansion) we go left on a narrow concrete road and then straight up to find the kalderimi again. 
      From here onwards there are no further problems. The wide, well-made kalderimi, which used to be the main route connecting the village of Makrinitsa to the port of Volos, ascends continuously, passes next to the churches of Agios Georgios and Agios Athanasios and finally ends at the square in Makrinitsa in front of the church.
Folk dancing event at the square of Makrinitsa

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