Friday, November 14, 2014

Αgios Lavrentios-Kissos

Autumn at the beech forest near Tria Remata
Distance: 14,4 km
Duration: 6,5 hours with stops (walking time 4.55')
Altitude: from 570 m. (Agios Lavrentios) to 1330 m. (max) to 530 m. (Kissos)
Total ascent: 860 m. Total descent: 880 m. 
Signed with red paint marks and various metal signs
Drinking water on walk: Kria Vrisi
Download GPS track:  from Everytrail   from Wikiloc

         This is an excellent 6,5-hour walk through chestnut and beech forest, connecting Agios Lavrentios and Kissos. In both villages there are restaurants and guesthouses-hotels open all year round.
       Setting off downhill from the square in Agios Lavrentios, we immediately come to a memorial marble spring water drinking fountain on our left and next to this begins a kalderimi, which we follow uphill. Further up we come to another dry water fountain and notice a cement road going to the left. However, we continue to the right on the uphill kalderimi which soon takes us to the monastery of Agios Lavrentios, which gave its name to the village. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Pilion, built in 1378 by Athonite monk Laurentius on the foundations of an even older building (perhaps from the beginning of the 11th century) built by monks from Amalfi, Italy. At present, it has three nuns and celebrates on  March 10th .
Agios Lavrentios monastery

       An asphalt road runs along the top side of the monastery and we walk on this uphill. At the junction, we turn right following the sign to ''Agriolefkes''. The next junction after 50 m. also has a sign and then we walk on kalderimi through chestnut forest. On our way up, we cross the road several times to find the path on the opposite side or after a short distance on the road uphill. 
        Eventually, we come to a shrine, built in memory of the four men killed in 2004, when two F-16 fighter jets crashed at Golgothas peak nearby. Here we cross the road for the last time (it continues towards Hania) and enter into beech forest following the red marks. 

        On our way, we pass next to a drinking water spring (Kria Vrisi). Water runs from a plastic tube just below the path. Further on, we come at a path junction and turn right on an easterly direction, ignoring another path with blue marks. We soon come to another junction with a dirt track, at the location called Monastiraki. Here we walk on the track to the left (north), following the yellow sign to ''Kissos''. After just 50 m., watching for it to the left side, we notice the small round sign and the red mark on a tree, indicating the continuity of the path. We descend into beautiful beech forest on a northeasterly direction, noticing some charcoal pits and other traces of past human activity. 
Beech trees in love

      After a while, the path opens to an earth road. We have to watch for the red marks, as stretches of path and stretches of road alternate on the way down. Eventually, we come to cross the large Kissotiko stream. After a final section of path, we walk on the earth road for about an hour, because this has replaced the original path. Walking into chestnut forest, we can see excellent views of the Kissotiko ravine and the overgrown opposite slope. 
The Kissotiko ravine

        Approaching Kissos, we pass by the chapel of Profitis Elias on the right. The road is covered now by concrete. At a V-junction we go right and then continue on kalderimi down to the village square with the main church of Agia Marina, built in 1745, famous for its excellent carved iconostasis and frescos by icon painter Pagonis. 
Kissos village square

         From here, one can continue walking to Mouresi and Ai Giannis or Damouchari, to have a swim in the Aegean sea.