Friday, March 15, 2013

Kanalia-Kapourna (Glafira)-Kato Kerasia

On the way from Lake Karla to Kapourna
 Distance: 9,2 km
Duration: walking time 2,5 h., total time 3 hours
Altitude: from 65 m. (Agios Nikolaos chapel) to 435 m. max. to 125 m. (Kato Kerasia)
Signing: red marks, signs
Drinking water on walk: no

Download GPS track:   from Wikiloc   from Everytrail
        This is a route suitable for winter, as it passes through low vegetation at a low altitude. Starting from the byzantine chapel of Agios Nikolaos, we initially go uphill, following the ancient route that led from Lake Karla (ancient Greek name Boibeis) towards the sea. Approaching the village of Kapourna (called Glafira on the road signs), we change direction and follow the old path that goes from Kapourna to Kato Kerasia.

        If we take the bus to Kanalia from Volos (, we can get off at the football field approaching the village and then walk southerly on the asphalt to get to the chapel. We can also return to Volos by bus from Kato Kerasia.
Αgios Nikolaos chapel (after restauration)
         Agios Nikolaos chapel lies on the asphalt road from Kanalia to Velestino at a distance of two kilometres from Kanalia. This notable byzantine monument (dating from 12th century AD) was recently restored and is well worth of a visit (sadly, the doors remain locked). We walk fifty more metres on the main road in a southerly direction (towards Velestino) and then turn left onto an asphalt road along which we walk straight ahead, ignoring other roads to the left and right. This becomes an earth road after we cross the bridge over the Kerasiotiko stream.
Lake Karla on the left
Going slightly uphill through an area with kermes oaks, we soon see a sign and red marks that direct us to the path diagonally to the left. Further up we come across sections of kalderimi and, if we look back, we have a striking view of lake Karla.
The stone bridge at Kakorema stream
 We cross the Kakorema stream, at the well-preserved stone arched bridge and the path/kalderimi brings us to a spring with a plane tree and watering trough, which has unfortunately dried up after a borehole was drilled close by. The residents of Kapourna used to love coming to this spring at Kakorema on May Day.
The spring at Kakorema near Kapourna
          We continue on the road and in a little while reach a fork and follow the wide uphill path on our left, which immediately comes to a crossroads. Straight ahead to the south, the road continues towards Kapourna (this is the continuation of the old route to Volos), while another road on the right also goes towards Kapourna and the hill of Prophitis Ilias, where the fortifications of the ancient acropolis of Glafirai are still visible. We turn left here onto the earth road heading northeast, now following the route towards Kato Kerasia. 
Seeing Lake Karla and Kanalia from the path at Metochi hill
          After walking for a kilometre on the road, we reach a point where we see a sign and red marks on the left and, leaving the road, we walk on a wide path in a northerly direction, continuing uphill for a short while. On our right is the hill Metochi (474 m). The path soon begins to descend slightly with a shallow gully on our left, and our direction gradually becomes easterly. Ahead in the distance, Kanalia and Lake Karla are visible.
         We cross a meadow lengthwise and continue on the path in an easterly direction following the red marks, ignoring goat tracks leading in other directions. We descend over stony ground with kermes oaks and from a certain point onwards have a  beautiful view of Kato Kerasia from above.
View of Kato Kerasia
         We come out into a field and follow an earth road which continues to descend, then we pass a river bed and join another road from the right, emerging onto the asphalt road above a sharp bend near Kerasia. After this bend, we find the path again next to a wooden electricity pole and walk downhill, coming out onto a road that runs next to the stream. We follow this and soon reach the asphalt bridge next to a basketball pitch opposite the village church. A few metres further up is the village square of Kato Kerasia.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Aidonofolies (Volos)-Makrinitsa

Koukourava and Makrinitsa next to Mega rema stream

Distance: 4,1 km.
Duration: 1.40' (walking time 1.25')
Altitude: from 105 m. (Aidonofolies) to 630 m. (Makrinitsa square)
Τotal ascent: 549 m. Total descent; 1 m.
Signinig: red paint marks, some metal signs
Drinking water on walk: Makrinitsa

 Download GPS track:   from Wikiloc    from Everytrail
        This is a beautiful walk, very close to the city of Volos. Starting off from Zafrakopoulos bridge at Aidonofolies in the outskirts of Volos, we follow the course of Mega Rema stream upwards. At Koukourava, the lower part of Makrinitsa, we meet the main kalderimi and follow it to the central square. After exploring Makrinitsa, we can, if we wish, return to the start of the walk via a different, parallel and equally beautiful route that passes through the village of Stagiates (pronounced Stayiates) on the eastern side of Mega Rema (see the routes Makrinitsa-Stagiates and Aidonofolies-Stagiates). We can go to Aidonofolies taking the city bus nr.4 (get off at the end of the line) or by taxi

       Going up Iolkou Street, we cross the Volos ring road and, when we reach the small parking area at Aidonofolies,the main road goes to the right and continues towards Portaria and Hania. At this point, the Zafrakopoulos bridge over Mega Rema stream is on the left and the road over it leads towards Agios Onoufrios – Koukourava – Makrinitsa. This is an old stone arched bridge, but sadly it has been widened using cement so that cars could pass over it.
Zafrakopoulos bridge at Aidonofolies

          Referring to this bridge, Nikos Haratsis writes in his book “Stone Arched Bridges in Pelion” (in Greek): “I am convinced that, if this old bridge had been in the hands of another people, it would have had a different fate. It would have been appropriately lit, the area around it would have been designed with great care and study, and visitors would have been shown this monument with pride. We are deserving of our mentality as a people, when we allow our historical monuments to be spoilt.”
Ζafrakopoulos` bridge in the old days (1930`s)
       We go over the bridge and walk uphill on the asphalt road on the left bank of the river. A little higher up we reach the restaurant Nea Remvi (Νέα Ρέμβη) and keep walking onto the narrower asphalt road just next to the river bed. In a short while, we cross to the right bank over a concrete bridge built on stone bases.
Passing to the right bank of the river
In a few metres, we cross a smaller stream on a small stone arched bridge. Immediately after this bridge, a path/kalderimi goes off to the right towards Stagiates village. We continue on the earth road and pass next to the large stone arched bridge of Kourdistas, which served people going to Agios Onoufrios village that is nearby.
The bridge of Kourdistas
        After the bridge, we leave the earth road down to the left and crossthe river bed next to an old stone hut, that used to be a watermill. On the left bank we continue on an uphill path, passing near to the small chapel of Agios  Nicolaos, which is built on the edge of a steep rock. This area is a known place for climbing.
Agios Nikolaos chapel

       Leaving the chapel, we continue gently uphill on a path with signs of the old kalderimi in places. With the impressive gorge of Mega Rema on our right, seeing the houses of Makrinitsa in front of us, we continue until we reach the asphalt road, on which we walk for a couple of hundred metres.
Looking down the Mega rema gorge to Volos
        As soon as we cross the small stream of Patosia, if we look to the left we may notice steps dug in the rock, going up steeply. These lead to the kalderimi descending from Makrinitsa, which was cut off abruptly when the road was built. Because  climbing up the rock is dangerous (proper steps with a handrail should be constructed here), it is preferable to continue a short distance on the road and to take the kalderimi on the left next to a spring water drinking fountain (without water), marked by red marks. Higher up this kalderimi passes by another fountain (again without water) and later joins the branch that has been cut off. 

           Climbing up between the houses of Koukourava district, we pass by another dry fountain with a plane tree and after the Nanos mansion we cross the asphalt road and continue on the kalderimi. A little higher up this comes out on the road again. Here the kalderimi should continue next to the house on the bank above the road, but it is cut off and impassable (unfortunately, the officials turn a blind eye to this), so we have to walk up the road for a hundred metres. At the sign to ''Αρχοντικό Σταφυλοπάτη'' (Stafilopatis Mansion) we go left on a narrow concrete road and then straight up to find the kalderimi again. 
      From here onwards there are no further problems. The wide, well-made kalderimi, which used to be the main route connecting the village of Makrinitsa to the port of Volos, ascends continuously, passes next to the churches of Agios Georgios and Agios Athanasios and finally ends at the square in Makrinitsa in front of the church.
Folk dancing event at the square of Makrinitsa