Monday, February 9, 2015

Platanias-Agios Spiridon monastery (circular)

Agios Spiridon monastery
Distance: 10,1 km
Duration: 3,5 hours with stops
Altitude: from 0 m. to 363 m.
Total ascent/descent: 405 m.
Signed with round yellow signs and red paint marks
Drinking water on walk: Agios Nikolaos chapel
Download GPS track:  from Wikiloc

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         In this circular walk, we climb from the tourist beach of Platanias following initially the main (eastern) route to Lafkos. Then take the earth road to the monastery of Agios Spiridon, and then return back through a connection to the route Promiri-Platanias.
         Starting from the seaside, initially we walk into the wide streambed. At the corner of a basketball pitch, we take the earth road on the left and start going uphill on a westerly direction, next to a small stream that lies on our left side. Futher up at a junction we go right and walk between olive groves on a northerly direction.  Just after a stone hut which is on our left side, noticing the signpost we leave the road to the right, crossing an olive grove. Αt the other end of the grove we enter the path and we soon cross the stream of Poros. This word means ''pass'' in Greek, but also ''running water'' in Slavic (poroj), so it is unclear where it comes from, as both meanings are valid in this case.
Agios Nikolaos chapel
          On the other bank we walk uphill on kalderimi, which eventually becomes an earth road leading to the quiet small chapel of Agios Nikolaos, a suitable place for a stop. Further up, the road takes a sharp left bend next to a cottage. The path originally goes straight ahead, but is unclear and we prefer to follow the road. We go past a first junction and at the following one we find  the path between the two roads in the middle. Further up, it opens to an earth road, which we follow to the left for 100 m. to find again the continuity of the path, watching out for the red paint marks on our right. Climbing up, we go past a cottage and a concrete water tank and join the asphalt road coming from Mikro beach. Walking 30 meters on the asphalt, we go past a narrow earth track on the right and then reach a junction with a wide earth road, which we follow for 100 meters and then find the path on the right, following the course of an overgrown gully.
         This leads us to the monastery of Agios Spiridon. Related to Promiri, it was destroyed by the Turks during the Greek revolution in 1823, was rebuilt in 1834 and currently functions as a nunnery having three nuns. It is open 8-12 in the morning and from 16.00 until sunset, every day except Friday.
Agios Spiridon monastery
       Leaving the monastery, we leave the main road and take the narrow earth track on the right going downhill. At the outside of the left turn we find the path, descending to an overgrown ravine with running water. We cross the stream and ascend on the other bank heading east. After a little while the path becomes an earth road. We pass under a cottage and then reach a road junction, where we go downhill to the right, following the small round signs. At the second junction we go right again and at the third one we go to the left. Eventually, we join the main kalderimi coming from Promiri and walk on this downhill. It goes out for a little while on an earth road and again continues to the left.
The main kalderimi to Platanias

       The cobblestone path opens at a concrete tank below, to the point where two streams come together. We continue on an uphill road, having on the right the fence of a cottage. At the upper corner of the fence we find the kalderimi, that descends for a few meters and then finally stops and becomes a footpath next to a low stone wall (pezoula). Then we pass on the right side of the stream and continue among olive trees. Here the trail is not so obvious, but we generally follow the course of the stream to the sea in a southerly direction, assisted by signs and red marks. Further on, we pass to the left side of the stream and walk on an earth road.
Walking into the streambed

     Eventually, we reach a point  just next to the stream, where the earth road turns left uphill to meet the asphalt, next to a road sign ''Have a Nice Trip-Welcome to Platanias''(we don`t take that route). In front of us is a private property. At this point we enter into the streambed on the right, which is normally dry and fairly easy (and pleasant) to walk on, and follow it for about 700 m. until it opens to the beach of Platanias.

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