Saturday, November 2, 2013

Kalamos-Paou monastery-Argalasti

Paou monastery
Distance: 6,7 km
Duration: 2 hours (walking time)
Altitude: from sea level (Kalamos) to 255 m. (Argalasti square)
Total ascent: 151 m. Total descent: 404 m.
Signing: red marks, round yellow signs
Drinking water on walk: yes (Paou mon.)

 Download GPS track:   from Everytrail   from Wikiloc

     We walk southwards along the beach road at Kalamos, and at the end of the beach the road begins to ascend towards Argalasti. After a short time, a narrower concrete road branches off on the right and we follow this, going gently downhill. In a little while, we see a small beach on our right but we do not go down to this. Continuing down the road a bit further, we reach a concrete post with electricity metres. On the left of this post a footpath leads us towards a second beach (Belian) and we walk along the length of this.
Walking between Belian and Paou
     At the end of the beach we find some concrete steps which we go up. On our left is the fence of a cottage and a concrete path ascends next to the fence away from the sea. We turn right, however, and walk along the footpath parallel to the shoreline. Further on, the footpath widens and becomes a rough, narrow earth road under which water pipes have been laid. We ignore the earth road that branches up to the left and continue walking parallel to the shoreline, eventually reaching Mikri Paou beach.
Mikri Paou beach
    We continue half way along the beach until we reach a small stream bed and walk up the footpath on the right hand side of this between orange trees. Further up we enter an olive grove and continue up the path, which alternates with sections of kalderimi.
The olive grove at spring

      We pass a couple of houses and eventually come out onto the asphalt road next to a garden wall, at the point where there is a mirror. We walk up the road and, where it takes a left turn, we leave it to the right and follow the path signed with red marks and small yellow signs (as in the whole route), that takes us up to Paou monastery. Built in 1778 and dedicated to St. Nicholas, it currently functions as congress and exhibition center of the University of Thessaly.
Paou monastery
      After exploring the monastery, which is in excellent condition after renovation, we walk along the path between the cypress trees, which leads us to a spring water drinking fountain. This is a good place for a picnic. We continue walking uphill parallel and a little to the right of the asphalt road, and after 30 meters we find the kalderimi that was cleared in January 2011 by the Friends of the Kalderimi of South Pelion. Further on, this becomes an ill-defined (but marked) path that continues upwards through an olive grove in a north-easterly direction. 
Springtime at the field above Paou
                                                                                                                                                           It comes out onto an earth road at a left hand bend.
Following this, we reach a field and continue left in a north-easterly direction along an earth road. Passing a football pitch on our left, we come out onto an asphalt road and turn right.
Αrgalasti square

      We walk along the road for 200 meters, after which we see to our left the kalderimi, that leads to Agia Paraskevi church and then continues as paved road to Argalasti square. From there we can return to Kalamos if we wish, following the route Argalasti – Kalamos (1 hour) or Argalasti-Lefokastro-Kalamos (2,5 hours),  to complete a circular walk.

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