Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Agios Georgios-Monastiraki-Profitis Elias (circular)


 

Distance: 14,3 km

Time|: 6,5-7 hours (with stops)

Altitude: from 630 m. (Agios Georgios) to 1315 m. (max)

Total elevation gain/loss: 910 m.

Signing: red paint, some metal signs

Drinking water on walk: yes (springs Petrostrouga, Mavromati, Kria Vrisi-Profitis Elias)

Start/end: Agios Georgios square

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         Τhis circular walk takes place in the beech forest above Agios Georgios.  Starting from the village square, we climb up the main kalderimi between the houses. We pass by the church of Agios Athanasios on our left and continue uphill on kalderimi, exiting the village.
Handmade signs

        Coming to a path junction with handmade signs, we continue straight ahead following an irrigation ditch (the other branch turns right to Tsagarada). In front of us the peak Schidzouravli (1450 m.) can be seen.  
View to the Pagasitic gulf

        We cross a narrow earth road first and then we meet a second one, which we join  and walk on it. Further on there is a junction , where we go right uphill. At a right turn of the road lies the spring of Petrostrouga,  a source of drinking water on our way. A little higher up at the signpost, we leave the road to the left and follow the path going uphill towards ''Kissos'' and ''Hania''. 


This path brings us to Mavromati spring, another source of drinking water. After the spring, we continue on earth road and at the junction turn left. We keep climbing until we get to the junction at the col, a location called Monastiraki. Here we turn left to the path towards ''Hania''.

Path in beech forest towards Agios Lavrentios

        Reaching the next signed junction, we turn left to ''Agios Lavrentios'', descending on the earth path into beech forest. We reach another drinking water, ''Kria Vrisi'', which is located just under the path. We continue following the red paint and climb down to the small chapel of Taksiarches, built by the Greek Air Force in the memory of the four F-16 fighter pilots that died near this spot in a crash in 2004. 

Chapel of Taksiarches

        We cross the earth road and behind the chapel we find a path-kalderimi that continues downhill. 

        Reaching another earth road below, it is recommended to take a short deviation to visit the viewpoint of ''Psila Hagiatia'' (High Balconies). So, we turn right on the road keeping attention on our left for the red paint marks.

Drakia, as seen from Psila Hagiatia

        This location offers beautiful view to the village of Drakia that lies on the opposite side of a large ravine through which Vrichonas river runs. 
Psila Hagiatia viewpoint

        Retracing our steps back, we keep on the earth road until it joins a wider road on which we walk uphill to the left. In 50 meters there is a junction, where we take the narrow earth road to the right. Further on there is a V-junction and we take the left branch. We pass by a waterfall just next to the road.


    A section of the road is reduced to path because of extreme corrosion by flooding waters in a jungle-like scenery. We have no problem to follow it though, and further down the earth road reappears. At a junction we take the left uphill branch. Walking through apple groves, we reach the chapel of Profitis Elias, a  fine spot for a stop.  A drinking water fountain is nearby.

Profitis Elias chapel

        To get back to Agios Georgios, we take the narrow earth road in a southeasterly direction (attention, we don`t take the wider earth road! This comes from Taksiarches monastery and goes to Kremida springs). Further on there is a V-junction and we go right. Keeping attention on our right side, we leave the road taking a descending path. Reaching the door of a fenced grove, we turn left and find a descending path and soon enter the village. Walking now on kalderimi, we pass over an arched stone bridge, then the church of Agios Athanasios and take the kalderimi down to the village square.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Propan-Labinou-Labidona monastery-Lithos (circular)

 

Lithos

Distance: 9,7 km

Time: 4,5 hours (with stops)

Altitude: from 310 m. (Propan) to 377 m. (max) to 0 m. (Lithos)

Total elevation gain/loss: 460 m.

Signing: red paint

Drinking water on walk: yes (Labinou, Labidona mon.-if open)

Start/end: Propan village square

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    This circular walk passes from many interesting and beautiful spots. It may start either from Propan square, as described here, or from Labinou beach. In the latter case, we have the advantage of being able to finish our walk with a swim at the sea, near a summer taverna, not having to climb uphill at the end of the walk. Propan also has a taverna-cafe operating at the square.

    A few words about the name: State officials decided  in 1954 to rename the village as "Kalamaki" after its homonymous beach at the Aegean sea, because the old name Propan (which is of unknown origin, probably non-Greek) was considered undesirable. However, in 2014 at the locals request, the original name was officially reinstated. All the road signs and most of the maps however, are slow to change.

Propan-view to the sea

    Starting from the square of Propan, we walk on the kalderimi going  gently uphill in a northwesterly direction, passing just under the main church of Agios Athanasios. Keeping on the same direction, we walk on a cement road and then kalderimi again. This brings us to ''Kakli'' water fountain at the edge of the village. On our right is a gully and a quarry (Propan is famous for the stones its quarries produce, used in traditional Pelion-style  roofs and floors).

Kakli water fountain

    We continue climbing up a steep earth path that joins a cement road, and we go left uphill to reach the asphalt road. On our left is the church of Profitis Elias. We walk now on the asphalt to the right for about 1 km and then we leave it to the right, taking an earth road. At the two next earth road junctions we take the left branch. The earth road brings us to Labinou, where we walk on the main asphalt uphill for a few meters and then on the stone paved track at an angle to the right to the village square, which sadly remains deserted, its cafe-restaurant closed for a long time (September 2021). 

Labinou-at the deserted square

    We descend a few steps from the square onto a concrete road, and walk down on this, ignoring a narrow kalderimi on the right. After 50 m. on the road, we notice a wide kalderimi branching off to the right and follow it, going through the village houses.

The path-kalderimi to Labidona monastery

    Further down, we reach an old spring water fountain (Kria Vrisi) on the bed of a stream, next to an old olive press turned into a cottage. We follow this stream downhill. A little further down we get to the asphalt and walk on it downhill  to reach the entrance of the old monastery of Labidona, after which the village was named. It was built in 1796 by craftsmen from Zoupani village, North Greece. Dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary, its annual feast is on August 23rd. For a long period it used to be deserted and unfenced, vulnerable to thieves, but nowadays it operates as a nunnery, open to visitors Thursday to Sunday (see timetable here ). 

Labidona monastery

    Leaving the monastery, we walk back uphill on the asphalt and, as it takes a right turn, we leave it to the left, taking  a narrow cement road going roughly parallel to the coastline. Further on, he road is unpaved and then becomes a path-kalderimi. Coming to a path junction, we take first the left branch that goes down to the sea, at the location called ''Lithos''. An impressive rock formation coming out from the sea that even gives the opportunity of a swim if the sea is calm. A spot of intense natural beauty. 

View from Lithos to the south

    Coming back to the path junction, this time we take the other branch and walk near the lower edge of an olive grove. We come to cross a stream in an impressive wild scenery, and continue  on the other side through another olive grove. 

Crossing the stream near Lithos in impressive scenery

    The path becomes an earth road on which we walk to the south. There is a summer cottage on our left. At the junction we don`t take the uphill right branch. Instead, we go straight ahead in a southerly direction. If we look carefully, we will see at some point on our left a section of the original kalderimi coming from the sea shore, where trading goods carried by boats were taxed. Nowadays the old tax building has become a summer cottage and is private property. So we keep ahead on the earth road which now climbs up steeply. A ravine  is on our left and the road goes down to cross the streambed. Then there is an earth road junction, where we take the right branch. We now walk parallel to the stream uphill. At another junction we take again the right branch that goes downhill, then becomes path and crosses the stream, passing to the right bank of the ravine. 

    Climbing constantly on kalderimi on the right bank of the overgrown ravine, we reach the first houses of Propan. We cross a narrow road at an angle to the right, and continue uphill on kalderimi that leads finally to the village square.    

Propan


Sunday, April 17, 2022

Chorefto-Zagora-Panagia Rasova-Pouri (circular)


Parisena beach


Distance: 16,7 km

Time: 8 hours (with stops)

Altitude: from 0 m. (Chorefto) to 700 m. (max)

Total elevation gain/loss: 906 m.

Signing: red paint, metal and wooden signs

Drinking water on walk: yes (Zagora, Rasova, Pouri, Chorefto)

Start/end: Chorefto beach, at the turn of the asphalt to Zagora

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    This is a long circular walk in East Pelion, connecting Zagora and Pouri by a mountainous and a coastal way as well. If we do the walk in spring, we will get the bonus to admire at a distance the waterfall of Megalovrachos, the biggest in Pelion, that remains dry in summer.

    Starting from the beach of Chorefto, we walk on the asphalt as it takes an uphill turn heading to Zagora, and then leave it to the right, taking an uphill cement road going to Aegeus hotel. The road  has a central stone paved lane, and is obviously a former kalderimi. Higher up, cement paving ends and the stones of the kalderimi appear. This section suffers from a landslide and a fallen tree, but we manage to keep on the track and join an earth road. 

On the kalderimi to Sotira -or into the jungle?

    Here there are two options. We either walk on the earth road to the right, as in this recording, only taking attention at the road junctions (1st junction-to the left, 2nd junction-right, 3rd junction-left), or we take the path signed by rsctangular metal signs and red paint. Both routes meet higher up, becoming a section of wide, well-preserved kalderimi, that however soon becomes cement paved. 

Chorefto from above

    Following this uphill, we have to deal higher up with another kalderimi section affected by landslide and fallen trees. With some difficulty we can get through, only to get past a mule stable, trying not to scare the mules, and finally get to Metamorphosis (Sotira) church in Zagora. This is relatively new, built in 1889 to replace the old church dating from 1168, that was unfortunately destroyed by devastating landslide and fire. Near the church is a drinking water fountain, highly appreciated after all this uphill walking. 

At the church of Metamorphosis (Sotira)

     Leaving the fountain, we continue uphill on a cement road (ΒΟΛΤΟΥ street) that again has a central stone lane. This opens on the main asphalt road of Zagora. We turn left and then leave it at an angle to the right. We keep climbing up in zigzags through the houses of Zagora, walking on kalderimi, paved or unpaved. At some point we pass near a characteristic old drinking water fountain, Platanovrisi.

Platanovrisi fountain

    Leaving the last houses of Zagora, we keep climbing on earth or cement roads on a generally westerly direction.

The waterfall of Megalovrachos

 

    From a certain point we can see a a distance the waterfall of Megalovrachos, an impressive sight as it is the biggest and highest waterfall in Pelion. It only has water in the spring though, as the snow is melting, and gets dry in summer.

Crossing Kalokerinou stream

    The road crosses the stream of Kalokerinou at a higher altitude, then two more smaller streams and then we start going downhill, eventually reaching the old church of Panagia Rasova, one of the oldest in Pelion.

Panagia Rasova church

    Built around 1250, it is the only remnant of a monastery, whose last monk died around 1900. The surrounding cells and other buildings have collapsed and disappeared over the years. It only is open on its celebration day on November 21st, the Entrance (or Presentation) of Virgin Mary.


    We continue on the road downhill, keeping attention on the left for the cedar tree. When we reach this, we turn left and traverse an apple grove. On the other side of the grove we continue on a downhill road that gets us to the upper quarter of Pouri.  We take a kalderimi on the right, that opens to the main asphalt road at the entrance of Pouri. Here also is a drinking water fountain. We walk a short distance on the asphalt and, just as we reach the parking lot, we take the narrow cement paved road on our right, descending through the houses. Shortly, cement paving stops and we walk on proper kalderimi. 

Pouri

    This brings us down to the villages graveyard, a good place to have a stop with the Aegean sea in sight, and then continue downhill. Eventually we join an earth road and then a narrow asphalt. As it takes a sharp left turn to end at Elitsa beach and the picturesque little church of Agii Pantes (All Saints), We continue on a straight line, cross again Kalokerinou stream over a bridge, get past the homonymous church and reach the pebbly beach of Analipsi. 

Analipsi beach

    An earth road branches off to the right, going to Chorefto. Walking on the beach we pass a summer taverna (Plimari) and, at the last house we climb a few steps, then walk on an earth path having a cottage on our right. An uphill path (not visible from distance) marked with red paint leads us to the small chapel of Agios Nikolaos, a nice place to have a stop under the shade of the trees.

Agios Nikolaos chapel

     We continue on a cement road downhill, walking along fenced property. This section of the path suffered heavily from a landslide some years ago, forcing us to take the detour via Agios Nikolaos as the original path has disappeared. Anyway, the last fence is soon left behind and we find ourselves walking on a beautiful path-kalderimi a few meters above the sea. 

The shrine

    A large shrine is built on the side of the path inbetween the beaches of Tourkou and Parisena. These two beaches carry a ''hippie'' style due to nudism and free camping exercised  by its summer visitors.

Parisena beach

     The kalderimi eventually takes us down to the large sandy beach of Parisena. After walking along it, we climb on kalderimi past the rocks and reach the northern end of Chorefto beach, coming to the point where our walk had started.           

Chorefto beach

  



Friday, April 15, 2022

Τrikeri-Theriakontas-Trachili (circular)

 

Trachili -the cottage in the olive grove

Distance: 14,6 km

Time: 6 hours with stops; walking time 4.45'

Altitude: from 307 m. (Trikeri) to 0 m. (Theriakontas) to 230 m. (kiosk)

Total elevation gain: 285 m. Total elevation loss: 336 m.

Signing: round yellow signs, red paint

Drinking water on walk: no

Start: parking lot next to Trikeri square  

End: kiosk on the main asphalt, 2,5 km before Trikeri

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        The beach of Theriakontas lies next to Alogoporos on the east.  The walking route is initially common for both, and then splits. In this almost circular walk, after reaching Theriakontas we continue on a coastal path to get to cape Trachili. Τhen we return back via an earth road. 

        As we approach Trikeri, there is a kiosk on the side of the asphalt road, 2,5 km before reaching the village. This marks the end of the recorded walk. We start walking from the parking lot, which lies close to the village square. We initially walk on the asphalt that goes to Agia Kyriaki, but shortly, as the asphalt takes a left turn, we leave it to the right and take an uphill stone paved  track. Further on, there are sections where the old kalderimi is preserved. 
On the path to Theriakontas

      We cross an earth road and continue on the path amid  kernes oak vegetation (quercus coccifera). Τhe path approaches the asphalt road,  eventually crosses it at an angle and continues on the other side. We walk next to a fence. Further on, we join an earth road that opens to the asphalt, on which we walk fo r 100 meters and then turn right onto another earth road, close to a pen. Soon the earth road becomes earth path heading north. 

On the path to Theriakontas

      Bushy vegetation is annoyingly overgrown at places, in need of cleaning, but the path remains open anyway.  Gradually a ravine is formed on our left and we walk parallel to it. On our right is an old cottage. As we approach to the sea, we join an earth road, then walk next to a pen fence on our right. Finally we come to the beach of Theriakontas close to its left (west) end.

Theriakontas

     An earth road continues towards Alogoporos. We don`t take that, but walk to the opposite end instead and find a narrow path marked with red paint, that goes roughly parallel to the coastline, a few meters above the sea.


      Further on, we come to join an earth road that goes around the cape Trachili. The Trikeri Island is close to us to the north and we can also see Volos at the distance. Α cottage is built here into an olive grove.

At Trachili

The earth road passes next to the cottage and we take it, walking constantly uphill on a southerly direction. After 5 km on that road, we  come to join the main asphalt near the kiosk, 2,5 km away from the village of Trikeri.

    

The kiosk