Friday, November 13, 2020

Damouchari-Mouresi-Kissos-Agios Ioannis (circular)


 Distance: 13,9 km

Time: 6 hours with stops

Altitude: from 18 m. (parking at Damouchari) to 539 m. (Kissos)

Total elevation gain uphill/downhill: 806 m.

Signing: red paint marks, metal signs

Drinking water on walk: yes (Damouchari,Mouresi, Mavroutsa, Kissos) 

Start/finish: Parking lot at Damouchari

Download GPS track:  from Wikiloc

    This is a suggested circular walk in East Pelion, in which we climb from Damouchari to the squares of Mouresi and Kissos, and then descend to the beach of Agios Ioannis to finally return to our starting point. Most of the walk takes place on kalderimi (cobbled stone path), but there also are sections on asphalt, earth road and earth path.


    Starting to climb from the drinking water fountain at the parking lot of Damouchari (end of asphalt road), we turn immediately left on a concrere road with a central stone-paved lane. In fifty meters we see on our right the beginning of a kalderimi and follow it, climbing sharply. It joins a stone-paved road that soon becomes earth road.  Watching out for the red marks on the left as we climb the earth road, we find again the kalderimi, which was abruptly cut by the road and is not readily visible (attention). Further up, it opens to another earth road and we find it again on the left side of the road. This procedure is repeated one more time and we find ourselves walking through a virtual tunnel of vegetation around us.

A tunnel of vegetation

    The kalderimi opens to a concrete road climbing steadily and we reach a junction, where it becomes again visible through the concrete. If we take here the road to the left, in five minutes we will reach an excellent viewpoint called Tsouka. 

View from Tsouka (looking to the north)

    Back to the junction, we continue up the road-kalderimi having a line of cypress trees at the side. We cross the asphalt twice as we climb up. Third time we meet the asphalt on a sharp turn, we follow it uphill and pass by the church of Agia Paraskevi on our left. At a V-junction we take the right branch, walking now on even ground. In a little while we reach the square of Mouresi with the church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity). This is a good place to have a stop for refreshment. 

The square of Mouresi

    Resuming our walk, we continue on the same asphalt road through the village. After about half a kilometer, watching for the red marks on our left (attention), we take a cement-paved track going uphill. Soon the paving stops and the kalderimi appears. We pass just below a small church, then cross a concrete road at an angle and finally the kalderimi opens to the main asphalt, on which we walk exiting the village.  After 150 m. watching on our right (attention) we find a downhill path-kalderimi. 


    Τhis  joins an earth road crossing apple and chestnut orchards. Reaching a kiosk, we find the continuity of the kalderimi, which later joins another earth road. After crossing a stream, we leave the earth road (which continues uphill) taking the path on the right. This takes us down to cross the large Kissotiko ravine over a modern metal bridge that lays on the old stone built bases. High  plane trees cast their shade on the large rocks scattered over the riverbed as water is running constantly, creating a magnificent scenery. 


    After crossing the stream, we climb on the other side on kalderimi, then joining an earth road. Higher up we pass by the church of Agios Konstantinos at the settlement of Mavroutsa. 

Agios Konstantinos church at Mavroutsa

     We cross the main asphalt and coninue uphill on road-kalderimi, watching for the red marks at junctions, eventually reach ing the square of Kissos at 519 m. of altitude, the highest point of our walk. At the square lies the notable main church of Agia Marina, built at 1745 AD. This is another place recommended for a stop. 

Interior of Agia Marina church 

    Now it is time to start descending towards the sea. Just below the tavern ''Klimataria'' we descend a few steps and continue on kalderimi that goes parallel to the asphalt road, passing under the parking lot. Further on we join the asphalt and walk on it downhill exiting the village.

Kissos

    At the junction with the main asphalt road we take this to the left. After 400 m. on the main road (attention), we find the kalderimi watching on our right. On our way down through the settlement of Agios Dimitrios there are sections of cement road, we pass by two water fountains and the church of  Metamorphosi, and eventually join the asphalt road, just under the large church of Agios Dimitrios. We walk on it downhill. As the asphalt takes a left turn, we take a cement road that has a central lane of kalderimi. 

Agios Dimitrios settlement

    Further down, we come to join the asphalt again. As it takes a left turn,  we take a cement road straight ahead. We come to a junction where the cement road turns right and another road heads straight (attention). Here we turn left to find the continuity of the kalderimi. Again we join the asphalt and again as it takes a left turn we find the kalderimi. We cross the asphalt three more times on our way down. The third time we descend sharply on steps, then take the cement road to the right, that opens on the left side of the river where we can cross it over a wooden pedestrial bridge. Left to the river lies the touristical settlement of Agios Ioannis. On the right lies the old church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (St. John the Baptist), the camping and the excellent sandy beach of Papa Nero. 

Old picture of Agios Ioannis

    From the south end of Papa Nero beach we continue on path-kalderimi, which joins a narrow asphalt road and we go left. In a few minutes we come back to the parking lot at Damouchari, from where our walk had started. 

Damouchari


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Κottes-Trikeri-Lighthouse-Agia Kyriaki (circular)

 

Shrine near Kottes

Distance: 15,5 km

Time: 5-5,5 hours (with stops)

Altitude: from 0 m. to 311 m. (Trikeri, Agia Triada church)

Total uphill/downhill gain: 625 m.

Signing: round yellow signs 

Drinking water on walk: no

Start/finish: seaside at  Kottes

Download GPS track:  from Wikiloc

  

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 This is a 5-hour circular walk around Trikeri (time including stops), starting from the seaside settlement of Kottes. Τhe best season for it is spring and autumn, due to the lack of shade. There is also an option for a shorter 3-hour walk (see below).

    From the middle of the seaside of Kottes, we follow the stone paved track going uphill. Τhe climb to Trikeri will take about an hour. Reaching the village, we climb the steps to get to the square, where we can have a stop for coffee or refreshment. We continue in a southerly direction through the village`s narrow alleys to the highest point where lies the church of Agia Triada (Holy trinity). Descending steadily in the same direction, we get to join a narrow asphalt road, and i a few meters we reach the location ''Vigla'', offering a spectacular viewpoint.

View from Vigla

    We continue on the narrow asphalt, eventually joining a wider asphalt and walk on it downhill. At the sharp left turn we continue straight ahead on an earth road. At the V-junction we go left downhill and i9n a few minutes reach the lighthouse built just above the sea at the location ''Kavoulia''. A guard  is staying there permanently.

The lighthouse at Kavoulia

    Leaving the lighthouse, we walk on a path following the coastline.

On the coastal path

    Going through the beach ''Geroplina'' (with the option of taking a swim) and through the shipyard, we come to the seaside settlement of Agia Kyriaki. 
Agia Kyriaki

    With the fish taverns on our right, we walk away from the sea on a kalderimi climbing sharply and constantly. Higher up we cross the narrow asphalt and continue straight ahead to reach the square of Trikeri and continue downhill to return to Kottes, where we can have a swim and lunch at the seaside tavernas.

On the way down to Kottes

    Now, as some people may find the idea of a 5-hour walk distressing, there is the option of a smaller, 3-hour circular walk if we skip Kottes altogether. In that case, it is best to start from Agia Kyriaki, climb the kalderimi up to Trikeri square, then descend as described via Vigla to the Lighthouse and return to Agia Kyriaki and its taverns by the coastal path. 

Trikeri square

Friday, June 26, 2020

Kissos-Timpanos springs

Distance: 2,9 km
Time: 45 min.
Altitude: from 500 m. (Kissos square) to 536 m. (Timpanos)
Total elevation uphill: 167 m.  downhill: 108 m.
Signing: red paint on the path
Start: Kissos square
Download GPS track: from Wikiloc
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     Α visit to the springs of Timpanos near Kissos is an absolute must, an unforgettable experience. Double waterfalls, water pond for an icy swim, huge rocks at the overgrown ravine, water coming from above, from the sides, from everywhere -a wild paradise, just 45 minutes from the square of Kissos.
In the ice cold water of the pond
       
Double waterfalls
         Starting from the drinking water fountain at Kissos square, we walk to the south on a paved road that later becomes earth road. Just as we reach the streambed (where there is a large pond worthy of a visit), at the sharp left turn of the road we find an uphill path marked with red paint and follow it. A little higher up we meet an irrigation ditch and follow it.
          Near Timpanos, there are two short sections where we have to walk along the waterway with a drop beneath. With encouragement, everybody can do it, unless they suffer from severe acrophobia. Then we have to crawl for a few meters through a tunnel dug in the rock, along the waterway.
The tunnel dug in the rock
         After the tunnel there is a safety rope on the side. It is possble to get your feet wet, so it pays either to take your shoes off, or carry a second pair.
        In spring, excessive water flow due to melting snow can render the passage quite difficult, so best time for visit is in midsummer. In August water flow is markedly diminished.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Κala Nera-Vizitsa-Milies train station (circular)

View to Milies
Distance: 13,3 km
Time: about 6 h total, moving time 4.45'
Altitude: from 0 m. (Kala Nera) to 520 m. max (Vizitsa square)
Total uphill/downhill: 694 m.
Signed with red paint and yellow metal signs
Drinking water on walk: yes
Start/finish: Kala Nera beach at the bus turn
Download GPS track: from Wikiloc
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         This is an excellent circular walk, mostly on kalderimi, climbing from the beach of Kala Nera to Vizitsa and returning back via the train station of Milies. Points of interest on our way include the waterfall Katafidi near Vizitsa, the old monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (St. John the Baptist) at Vizitsa, the metallic train bridge and the tiny chapel of Taxiarchis near Milies train station, and, finally, the cave of ''Centaur Chiron'' (see Pelion: mythology and history).
          Starting from the bus turn at the seaside of Kala Nera, we walk away from the sea on the asphalt road. We come to cross the main asphalt at an angle to the right (attention to traffic!) and on the other side continue on an earth path next to a house which is on our right. The path soon becomes cobblestone kalderimi, ascending through olive groves.
          On our way up we walk through the cottages of the settlement ''Argireika'', including an old olive press. Many inhabitants of Vizitsa preferred to stay here through winter, to  be nearer to their olive groves and to avoid heavy winter snow, which is not unusual in Pelion. This was common practice in most Pelion villages.
             Further up, we walk for a short distance on earth road. There is an open irrigation water tank on our left. After that, we find the kalderimi again, overgrown with vegetation but still passable (in spring 2019). Eventually it opens at an angle to a wider earth road, next to the small chapel of Timios Stavros. From here we can see Vizitsa in the middle, Milies to the right and Pinakates to the left. There is a large ravine, which we will have to cross, between our position and Vizitsa.
View to Vizitsa
          So, we conitinue on the road downhill. Further on, it becomes asphalt. At a sharp right turn we leave it and walk at a straight line on a narrow earth road, which becomes kalderimi and we come to cross the stream over a small concrete bridge. Shortly after that, watching on our left, we find a path that leads to the waterfall ''Katafidi''. This is an excellent spot, especially early in spring, when the flow of water is high. The waterfall is dry through summer and autumn but remains impressive nonetheless.
Katafidi waterfall (in spring)
            Returning back to the wide, well-crafted kalderimi, higher up it suffers from landslides, so we have to abandon it and walk on an earth track. Coming to a junction, we find the kalderimi up left, next to a shrine. It keeps climbing up and we enter Vizitsa, passing by the main church of  Zoodochos Pighi, then crossing the asphalt road and finally we arrive at the cosy village square. This is the highest point of our walk (520 m.), where we can have a refreshment or a snack. 
Vizitsa square
           Returning back to the asphalt, we walk on this to the left. In a little while, we pass by the women`s association ''Esperides''  where local products are sold, and then turn right on a kalderimi that leads to the tiny 18th century monastery of  Aghios Ioannis Prodromos (St. John the Baptist).
The monastery`s church entrance
        Since 2017 it is looked after by sister Markella, who can also guide us around. 
From the entrance of the monastery we continue downhill on a path just next to the monastery`s outer wall and join a wide descending kalderimi. 
         We pass by a roofed drinking water fountain on our left and then join an earth road, on which we walk downhill. Passing under the village`s cemetery, we cross an asphalt road and continue on a path which soon becomes kalderimi.  On our right is the large overgrown Miliotiko ravine. At the opposite bank we can make the white chapel of Timios Stavros and, if we look carefully, the chapel of Taxiarchis built midway on the cliff. 
         Further down, the kalderimi becomes earth path and we come to a path junction. We elect the right branch, which further down opens to the train rails and we follow them to the right to visit the bridge. In five minutes we reach the magnificent metallic bridge, which was constructed in the beginning of 20th century by Schneider, a German specialist engineer, under the supervision of Italian chief engineer Evaristo de Chirico.
The metallic train bridge
   
            Just after we pass over the bridge, we find a narrow ascending path and follow it climbing steadily. At a junction we take the left branch.  After climbing some steps built with stones, we walk on a narrow lane on the nearly vertical rock, that leads to the tiny chapel of Taxiarchis,  built on the edge of the cliff, accompanied by the birds, waiting every day to hear the shuffle of the little train  passing below.
The path on the cliff
              Tracing our steps back, we follow the rails to get to the train station of Milies (end of the train line). We continue on the asphalt for 100 m. (on the left an uphill kalderimi leads to the square of Milies) and then find the kalderimi to Kala Nera next to a small drinking water fountain and follow it downhill. Wide and clear, it winds down to cross the Miliotiko stream over a concrete bridge and continues on the other bank between olive groves. At some point there is signpost on the left side, indicating a large cave, called somewhat arbitrarily Centaur Chiron`s cave.
          Further on, we join at an angle an earth road, on which we walk for 100 m. to find the continuity of the kalderimi on the left. Eventually the kalderimi ends and we continue walking on an earth road, which later becomes paved with concrete as it passes by the cemetery of Kala Nera and then joins the main asphalt. At the juction lie a few cypress trees and a road sign to ''Argireika''. We walk on the main asphalt for 100 m. and then, at the junction with the kalderimi coming from Vizitsa, turn left on the asphalt road that opens down to the seaside of Kala Nera, at the point of the bus turn, from where our walk had started.
Kala Nera beach (off season)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Promiri-Katigiorgis

Distance: 8,2 km
Time: 3 hours with stops
Altitude: from 200 m. (Promiri) to 0 m. (Katigiorgis)
Total uphill: 115 m. Total downhill: 336 m.
Signed with red paint and round yellow signs
Drinking water on walk: no
Start: Gas station at the entrance of Promiri
End: Katigiorgis beach
Download GPS track: from Wikiloc

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              This walk connects Promiri to the beach of Katigiorgis, which also serves as a port for a sea connection to the island of Skiathos, which is no more than 20 minutes away (boat trip to Koukounaries). Other walks in the area include Promiri to PlataniasLafkos to Promiri and Katigiorgis to Vromoneri beach. During the summer season, several restaurants and cafes operate at the beach. A practical way to return back to Promiri, is to take the bus passing from Katigiorgis at 15.15' daily.
           Starting from the gas station at the entrance of Promiri, we walk on the main road of the village, which is paved with flat stones. We pass by the square and then just above the main church of Koimisis Theotokou (Dormition of Our Lady), built in 1760. The church celebrates on August 15th.
Koimisis Theotokou church at Promiri
           After the church,  the road becomes paved with cement, then asphalt and continues uphill to the left, while we continue downhill on a narrow earth road. A path on the right leads in 30 m. to  the old drinking water fountain Sardeli. When we passed at the end of June, only a few drops of water were coming out of the fountainhead.
Sardeli fountain
         We walk on a downhill earth road, which incorporates sections of kalderimi. On our right is a large ravine (Gerogianni stream) We ignore junctions with uphill roads leading to orchards.
The old path has become an earth road
          Eventually, we come down near the streambed. As the earth road turns right to cross the streambed, we leave it and walk straight ahead on a path. Shortly, the path crosses the streambed and passes on the right bank.
           After a little while, we cross again to the left bank and walk on the edge of an olive grove. At the other end of the grove there is an earth road that crosses the streambed. We find the continuity of the path on the right bank. In the first few meters we walk through bramble, but after that the path is clear and shady. We come to cross the streambed one more time, passing again to the left bank. Eventually the path opens to the asphalt road next to a cottage`s fence on our left. On the other side of the road lies a metallic bridge. Here we are at the entrance of the settlement of Liri.
Crossing the streambed
           We walk on the asphalt through the settlement. After exiting Liri, at the point where a metal cabin at a bus stop is on the left side of the road, we turn right on an earth road. After about thirty meters, watching down on our left, we find an earth path which shortly becomes a kalderimi, then earth path again. Further on, we join an uphill earth road. Reaching the ridge, we continue straight ahead into an olive grove. A cottage is on our left below.
Going through olive grove
          Watching for the signs, we find the continuity of the path, descending gently in a straight line to the south. After crossing a small stream, we continue in the same direction uphill through an olive grove. Further on, the path goes through a batch of pine trees. Reaching the ridge, we walk downhill in the same direction through another olive grove. A kiosk is on our left. We cross another tiny stream  and continue on earth road, following the signs.
          Finally, we come to cross an asphalt road and walk now on a cement paved track, which opens to the main road of Katigiorgis. Our walk ends after fifty meters at the beach, next to the chapel of Agios Georgios (St. George).
Katigiorgis beach
PS. Many thanks to George Laskos from Liri, who helped us find and clean the path.