Monday, March 24, 2014

Milies-Tsagarada

Distance: 11,4 km
Duration: 4 h (walking time 3.30)
Altitude: from 380 m.(Milies square) to 790 m. (max) to 510 m. (Taksiarchon square, Tsagarada)
Total ascent: 529 m.  Total descent: 419 m.
Signing: red marks, signs
Drinking water on walk: no
Download GPS track:   from Wikiloc    from Everytrail


             This is a classic, well-worn and beautiful route in Pelion. A large part of it is on kalderimi (stone paved path) through the forest and at the end we pass over the river bed of Milopotamos on the wonderful old stone bridge. We can get to Milies and return from Tsagarada by bus (www.ktelvolou.gr). The route can also be combined with others (for example Kala Nera-Milies and Tsagarada-Damouhari-Ai Yiannis) to create a long trek across Pelion lasting 7-8 hours, starting on the Pagasitic coast at Kala Nera and ending on the Aegean coast.
             The library building, inscripted with the words ''ΨΥΧΗΣ ΑΚΟΣ'' (psychis akos, “therapy for the soul”) is found just above the square in Milies and immediately to its right begins the kalderimi towards Labinou-Xourihti-Tsagarada. We start up this and immediately pass a covered spring water drinking fountain on our left. We continue straight ahead, climbing past the houses of the village in an easterly direction. The kalderimi zigzags next to a plane tree, diagonally crosses a cement road and continues uphill in the same direction. We keep following the red marks and ignore any downhill kalderimis or roads crossing our path.
Kalderimi at Milies
               A little further on, we continue on a cement road as we leave the last houses of the village behind us and walk between apple orchards. At the second left hand bend, we leave the road and turn right onto a kalderimi next to a concrete water channel and water pipe. On our right is a row of cypress trees. We pass a stream bed over a small concrete bridge and continue on a lovely kalderimi/path.
Chestnut forest above Milies
We soon come to a crossing, at which the signpost indicates that we should turn up to the left onto a wide path, which becomes a kalderimi a little further up. We come out at an angle onto a kalderimi/road and continue uphill. In a short while, we meet and cross a wide earth road and continue in the same direction between chestnut trees. Where a road comes in from the right, we continue ahead in a northerly direction and reach a wooden kiosk at the location called Kefalas. From here, to the right of the kiosk, a path leads down to Labinou (see the route Milies-Labinou beach).
Getting into the forest near Kefalas
                We walk a bit further on the road, which eventually ends and continues as a kalderimi that leads into a beautiful forest with evergreen holm oaks initially, then beech, plane and chestnut trees. Moving in a generally northerly direction we pass the Kerasorema stream bed and ascend gently for a bit until we reach the highest point at 790 meters. This part through the forest is beautiful and evocative and one wishes it could last forever!
         The kalderimi begins now to descend (we ignore two paths to our right) and we reach a wooden bridge over the Varsami river bed. After the bridge, we leave the forest and walk uphill on  an earth road in which sections of kalderimi are visible from time to time until it goes off to the right of the road. We are walking now in maquis vegetation and pass next to a couple of orchards. The kalderimi then opens to a crossroads. We take the middle road and in a few meters find the humble country chapel of Agios Dimitrios.
            We continue on the road for two hundred meters and, watching out for a path to our right at a left bend in the road, turn onto it. This descends slightly and has some sections of kalderimi. Following the red marks in a generally northerly direction, we again come out onto the road and walk on this downhill for a short distance before finding the continuation of the kalderimi diagonally off to our left. We pass a kiosk and a water tank before the kalderimi eventually brings us down to the asphalt road. We walk on this for about a hundred meters, watching out for the paved path on our right that zig-zags down to the bottom of the Milopotamos gorge, where we find waiting for us, stable in its position despite the ravages of time, the old stone bridge with the pointed arch.
Τhe bridge of Milopotamos

           Released now from the burden of loaded down mules, which in previous times continually passed over it, the old bridge rests quietly, patiently remembering times past in the company of the plane trees and the water that passes perpetually beneath it. And we, its present day visitors, always feel welcome as we cross over its grassy ridge. Let us hope that this creation of human artistry and craftsmanship will remain intact for many centuries more.
              After the bridge we climb a short way up the kalderimi and come out again onto the asphalt road, on which we walk for fifteen minutes to reach Taksiarchon square in Tsagarada with its characteristic spring water fountain.
Taksiarchon square, Tsagarada



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