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

Download GPS file(.gpx) :from Wikiloc


  

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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


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