Monday, November 18, 2013

Lafkos-Platanias (westerly route)

Springtime over Pagasitikos gulf

Distance: 7,1 km
Duration: 2,5 hours (walking time 2.10')
Altitude: from 305 m. (Lafkos square) to 0 m. (Platanias)
Signing: red marks, round yellow signs
Drinking water on walk: no
Download GPS track:    from Everytrail     from Wikiloc
        This is the alternative westerly route from Lafkos to Platanias, walking by the chapel of upper Ai Giannis.  It is a beautiful route, but slightly difficult to follow, as some sections over goat tracks remain somewhat unlear, despite our efforts to mark them with red paint and signs.
        Starting out from Lafkos square, we follow the paved kalderimi that goes south towards the graveyard. Passing between the houses in the village, we go right at a V-junction, cross the asphalt road that goes to Milina, reach the graveyard and continue on an earth road that descends gently to the right. After a few metres another earth road goes off to the left. On the road we are on, we can make out bits of kalderimi from time to time and there is a wonderful view towards the sea of the Pagasitic gulf.
Another view to Pagasitikos gulf
       Further on the road turns to the left, but we continue to walk straight ahead on a path/kalderimi that descends to the church of Εpano (upper) Ai Giannis, dedicated to St. John the Theologian, which has the nickname “at the scree” (sti sara) from the crumbling rocks that one can see on the streambed. The route from MilinaPiges also leads to this church.(having passed on the way up from Kato (lower)  Ai Giannis, another small country church).
Ai Giannis Theologos chapel
      After a stop to enjoy the beauty and peace of this place, we follow the earth road to the left (southeast) and, ignoring a turning uphill, we reach the river bed (the stream is called Koumani rema (Koumanorema) – on the map it is mistakenly referred to as Ammorema), at the point where it joins a smaller stream from the left.
Walking next to Koumanorema stream
     One road crosses the stream bed diagonally to the right (that is the route to Hondri Ammos beach). Another road, which we follow, climbs up to the left. 
     We walk up the road which ascends steeply, pass a few chestnut trees and further up meet another earth road coming from the right. Here we turn left to the east. After fifty metres (attention) we leave the road to the right (there is a signpost) and walk downhill towards a small stream on a narrow path-goat track. 

       After crossing the small stream bed, the path curves up gently on the opposite side and leads to a second stream bed which we cross in the same way. Once again we ascend gently and on the ridge meet a narrow abandoned earth road, which we follow going gently uphill. We walk over a chain and then come out to the asphalt going to Mikro beach and follow it downhill. The road then turns right but we continue straight ahead, finding the path. On our right are two low cement posts on a small grassy patch. Down on our left is a narrow abandoned earth road.  
     The path goes gently downhill and a little further down, noticing the signs, we turn right onto a path/goat track and descend the hillside diagonally towards a stream bed. Crossing this, we climb back uphill on goat tracks, crossing an earth road that runs parallel to the stream bed. Another earth road leads upwards and we follow this through an olive grove.
Walking on the ridge towards the Aegean sea
When we reach the ridge, we can see the Aegean Sea ahead and an abandoned quarry on our right (here at the junction we go left downhill). The road then turns to the right, but we continue straight ahead along the boundary of a field and in thirty metres find the continuation of the path on our left. It descends through low bushy vegetation. Further down, we come across the road again at a sharp bend to the right and we follow it for about a hundred metres.
A short distance before the road reaches a small flat area, we turn off to the left (watch out for the red marks) and go downhill, sharply at first, on a narrow path which brings us out after a few metres to the top boundary of an olive grove. Here we zigzag freely down between the olive trees (the path is unclear into the grove), having the boundary with the next grove to our right. Alternatively, we climb down on a narrow earth road that was recently constructed into the adjacent olive grove.
Olive grove near Platanias
     Further down we come out onto an earth road, which we follow downhill. We soon come to a junction where we turn left and walk downhill next to a small stream on our right. The road brings us to the wide bed of a stream (Chalorema) next to a basketball court. Following the stream, we soon reach the picturesque  beach of Platanias. 


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