Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Milies-Labinou-beach

View over Pagasitic gulf
Distance: 9,5 km
Duration: 3,5 hours (walking time 2.50')
Altitude: from 380 m. (Milies) to 660 m. (max) to 0 m.
Total ascent: 302 m.  Total descent: 670 m.
Signed with red paint and signs
Drinking water on walk: yes (Labinou village, Labidona monastery)
Download GPS track:   from Everytrail    from Wikiloc


       The path from Milies to Labinou was closed and forgotten for many years but now it is open again, thanks to the efforts of Manuel Baud-Bovy from Switzerland (grandson of Daniel, one of the three people first to climb to mt. Olympus in 1913) and his wife Aristea Tzanou. This excellent walk ends up at the Aegean sea. We must have arranged a taxi or minibus to pick us up from the beach, otherwise we have to walk back (regular bus lines pass from the main asphalt just above Labinou village, www.ktelvolou.gr). During the summer season, a taverna is open at the beach. There is also a kiosk at the main asphalt road for refreshments and snacks (update summer 2015-kiosk closed). One can also continue walking from the beach to the beaches Limnionas and Milopotamos (about 1 hour on earth road).
      At Milies square the library building, inscripted with the words ''ΨΥΧΗΣ ΑΚΟΣ'' (psychis akos, “therapy for the soul”) is found just above the church and immediately to its right begins the kalderimi towards Labinou-Xourihti-Tsagarada. We start up this and 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. 
Kalderimi at Milies
       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.

      A little further on, we continue on a concrete 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.
Kalderimi in chestnut forest
       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 kiosk at the location called Kefalas.
        Here we leave the road and take a narrow downhill path that starts from the kiosk. It opens to the wider main path, which remains blocked at present to the right, but is open and clear to the left and we follow it into the wood. On our way we find some sections of kalderimi.  We pass from the lower edge of a wide clearing, where sheep shearing (kouros) was performed in the past, according to the old people. This was much like a feast, with many people gathering to assist, food and drink being at hand. Nowadays the area is deserted, most of its inhabitants have left the village and such stories only seem to belong to the past. Could they ever be revived, who knows? 
Manuel walking on the path he cleared
       Anyway, the path continues downhill on the ridge into thick shady forest, a joy to walk on. Eventually, it opens to an earth road, on which we walk downhill northeast. A little further down at a signed V-junction we go right and reach the small chapel of Agios Georgios (St. George). A narrow kalderimi continues to the main asphalt road  just below. Here is a kiosk that sells refreshments and snacks in summer season. If we wish, we can end our walk here, having walked 2,5 hours from Milies, and take the bus back to Volos via Neochori (www.ktelvolou.gr).
       An earth road continues downhill next to the kiosk and soon becomes a kalderimi. We pass from Agia Paraskevi church and then cross the asphalt next to a large plane tree, down to the village square of Labinou. During the summer, a cafe-restaurant should be open here too.
Labinou village square
        We go down the steps to a concrete road, next to the old disused water fountain, and walk down the road initially, ignoring a narrow kalderimi on the right. After 50 m., we notice a wide kalderimi at an angle to the right and follow this, going northeast through the village.
Going down the kalderimi from Labinou
           We cross a road and 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. A little further down we cross the asphalt and immediately reach the old monastery of Lambidona, after which the village was named. It was built in 1796 by craftsmen from Zagori of Epirus. Restauration works are in progress. Dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary, its annual feast is on August 23rd.
Monastery of Lambidona
         From the monastery we follow down the asphalt to the parking lot, from where an earth road sets off towards Limnionas and Milopotamos beaches. At the and of the asphalt road is a taverna and a paved path leads down to the nice little beach of  Labinou.
Labinou beach

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