Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kissos-Mouresi-Ai Giannis (Agios Ioannis)

Distance: 7,8 km
Duration: 3 hours (walking time 2.20')
Altitude: from 530 m. (Kissos) to 380 m. (Mouresi) to 0 m. (Ai Giannis)
Signing: signs, small round signs, red marks
Drinking water on walk: yes

Download GPS track:  from Wikiloc   from Everytrail

        This is another excellent walk in East Pelion. Starting from Kissos village square, walking mostly on cobbled stone path (kalderimi), we pass through Mouresi village, to end up at the sandy beach of Ai Giannis and have a swim in the Aegean sea. One can return back to Kissos by bus (www.ktelvolou.gr).
       From Kissos village square, next to the main church of Agia Marina (worthy of a visit to admire the magnificent 18th century iconostasis and the neo-byzantine style frescos by painter Pagonis), we walk initially on a concrete downhill road, turning right as we follow the stone wall at the lower base of the square (ignore a junction to the left). Soon concrete covering stops, revealing the kalderimi underneath.

      Walking downhill in chestnut forest, on kalderimi with sections of road, we reach a junction and go right, passing by an old fountain devoid of water, then reach another junction and continue downhill on the left. Eventually,  we cross the main asphalt (here lies a small fountain with drinking water) and continue at the other side on concrete road, amongst a few houses. This settlement is called  Mavroutsa and we pass next to the renovated church of Agios Konstantinos. After the church, we head right at a junction and pass by a wooden kiosk.
Agios Konstantinos church at Mavroutsa
        We now walk on earth road that takes a sharp left turn and continue along the course of  the stream on our right side. In the distance we can see the Aegean sea. The road takes an ''S'' bend (ignore a narrow road on the left) and then, watching out for the red marks, we set off to the right to a path becoming soon a kalderimi as we keep going downhill. Eventually, we pass over the new metal bridge of Kissotiko stream, in a beautiful setting under the shade of large plane trees.
Kissotiko stream

      We continue on the other side on kalderimi-path that opens at an earth road and head left, to pass a secondary stream. Watching on the right side of the road, we find easily the newly built kalderimi, climbing between dense vegetation. It opens at another earth road, next to a stone kiosk and we follow it to the left at an easterly direction. This road also eventually leads to Mouresi.
Climbing the kalderimi to Mouresi

        After a little while, there is another uphill section of kalderimi at the right, opening out at the main asphalt at the west edge of Mouresi village. We walk on the asphalt for 200 m. and then follow a kalderimi on the left that soon takes us to Panagia church. It crosses a concrete road and continues underneath the church until it joins a narrow asphalt. Following that, we eventually reach the main square of Mouresi, featuring Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) church and a taverna.
Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) church at Mouresi square

       After a refreshing stop at the peaceful shady square of Mouresi, we continue left to the church and the playground, on kalderimi in an easterly direction. It soon becomes concrete road with a central stone paved lane. At a junction we head left downhill and after 30 m., as the road turns left,  we find the kalderimi on the right.   Eventually, it opens on a sharp bend of the asphalt going to Damouchari. After 100 m. on the asphalt (ignore a narrow kalderimi on the left initially), noticing the red marks, we take the wide kalderimi to the left. Further down, after crossing the asphalt, we reach a kalderimi junction, where the right  one goes to Damouchari.
View to Ai Giannis and the Aegean sea
        We continue on the left, then cross the asphalt again at a junction (left road goes to Ai Giannis, right to Damouchari). The kalderimi continues in the middle, then joins the asphalt again. After 200 m. on the road, as it turns left, watching out on the right for the red marks down below, we can barely see the kalderimi that is covered for a few meters with fallen soil and stones (this stretch of the road was recently repaired).
Ai Giannis

      Further down, we join the asphalt again and after a final stretch of kalderimi on the left, we reach the camping site near the sea. The tourist location of Ai Giannis is on the left, while on the right lies the excellent sandy beach of Papa Nero.



Distance: 5,6 km (with return)
Duration: 2,5 hours with stops (walking time 1.50')
Altitude: from 0 m. (Damouchari) to 385 m. (Mouresi square)
Signed with:  red marks and signs
Drinking water on walk: Damouchari, Mouresi square

  Download GPS track:   from Wikiloc    from Everytrail

       The small port of Damouchari used to be the only place at the eastern coast of Pelion, where a ship could safely dock in case of bad weather. The ruins of Byzantine fortifications, as well as the customs and storage buildings still standing, are a testimony to its importance.  In addition to the kalderimi (cobbled stone path) to Tsangarada (see the route Tsangarada-Damouchari-Ai Giannis in this site), there were also two kalderimis going to the village of Mouresi, to which it belonged. Today, Damouchari is a tourist resort with hotels and cottages. In 2006, some scenes of the Hollywood movie Mamma mia!, starring Meryl Streep, were shot here, adding to its fame.
        In this easy circular walk, we climb from Damouchari to Mouresi square using the northern (lower) kalderimi and return by the southern (higher) one, which passes by Agia Paraskevi church.
        Starting from the end of the asphalt road at Damouchari, having parked our car there, we follow initially the asphalt uphill until we reach a junction with a fountain, where another asphalt road goes right downhill (this is the one to take if we are walking to Ai Giannis). The main asphalt here takes a sharp left bend and on the outside, noticing a red mark, we find an uphill path, which soon becomes a kalderimi. Reaching a cottage, it gets blocked by wild vegetation and we have to walk next to it on the left, following its course until we reach the asphalt again. We follow the road for 200 m. (there is another section of the path cutting the corner, but it is completely blocked and impassable) and then, just after a pen, we find the path on the left going uphill at an angle, with a sign to ''Mouresi'' (in Greek).
Ai Giannis with Papa Nero beach on the right
      We are climbing on alternate sections of path and kalderimi, seeing down below Ai Giannis and Papa nero beach,  and then another kalderimi coming from Ai Giannis joins in from the right. We cross the asphalt and continue uphill on kalderimi that futher up opens out on the asphalt. After 100 m., as the road takes a sharp left turn, we continue straight on to find the kalderimi again, climbing on a straight line. Joining a concrete road with a central stone paved lane, we go left and in 30 m. there is another junction, where we go right, leaving behind us the elementary school. We soon reach the central square of Mouresi, featuring the church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) and a taverna, in about 1.15' from the start.
Mouresi square-Agia Triada church

       Now to return to Damouchari, we walk on the asphalt on the right side of the church. This road eventually joins the asphalt going to Damouchari, on which we walk downhill, passing next to Agia Paraskevi church and the graveyard. As the asphalt takes a left turn, noticing a sign, we go straigt on to find the kalderimi.
Agia Paraskevi church

         At a distance we can see the first houses of Tsangarada, having Halorema stream in between. We reach the asphalt and go right for a few meters, then left. Further down, we cross the asphalt and continue on a narrow road, half concrete and half kalderimi. On the side there is a line of cypress trees. We come at a V-junction and go left on concrete. After 100 m., noticing a sign on the right side, we find the kalderimi again, walking into a tunnel  of vegetation. It joins an earth road at an angle and after a stretch on the road, we go left on the kalderimi again, then another section of earth road and  again to  the kalderimi on the right.

       We already enjoy beautiful views of Damouchari from above. Finally, the kalderimi opens to a concrete road with a central stone paved lane. To the left, it gets in 50 m. to the point where we started at the end of the asphalt, from where a kalderimi continues down to the sea. To the right, it leads to Damouchari beach, passing between olive groves and cottages.
Port of Damouchari

Damouchari beach