Thursday, February 19, 2015

Niaou (Afetes)-Neochori

Approaching Neochori
Distance: 5,8 km
Duration: 2 hours (walking time 1.40')
Altitude: from 235 m. (Niaou square) to 470 m. (Neochori square)
Total ascent: 280 m.  Total descent: 50 m.
Signed with round yellow signs and red paint marks
Drinking water on walk: no
Download GPS track:  from Everytrail   from Wikiloc


         In this walk, we follow the course of the old kalderimi, a significant part of which still exists. Its best part is near Neochori, at the old stone bridge. We also enjoy nice views over the sea near the village of Niaou. Only problem is, we have to walk on the asphalt for a little while. Neochori is also connected with hiking routes to Milies and Siki, and Niaou to Afissos (see respective walks). At the square of Neochori there is a restaurant open all year round, at Niaou during the summer season and weekends in winter. See bus timetables at www.ktelvolou.gr
        Niaou is a slavic toponym meaning ''pen'', and has been the original name of the village from the beginning until 1955, when it was unwisely decided to rename it ''Afetai'', after the ancient seaside settlement which, however, is unrelated to that area (it is considered to be situated at modern-day Platanias). The original name is still in use by the locals and should, in my view, be reinstated.
Niaou (Afetes)
          Starting from the square and the main church of Timiou Prodromou (St. John the Baptist), we climb on kalderimi for a few meters and then turn right on the cement road going uphill on an easterly direction. After crossing a stream and passing by a drinking water fountain, we notice the sign to the left and start climbing on a wide earth path which becomes kalderimi and then earth path again. It opens to a narrow asphalt road, which we follow to the right for forty meters to find the continuity. We climb now on kalderimi on the slope, having a mansion on our left. This section was built in the early 50`s and remains in good condition.
        Higher up, we cross the stream to the left and walk on earth road, which opens to the main asphalt. We walk on this for twenty meters to the right and then take an earth track, parallel to the asphalt on its right side, going gently downhill to the east. There is a mansion at a distance of 50 meters to the right. On our way, we can make out bits of the old cobblestone.
        After a while, we cross the asphalt at an angle and continue on the other side. In front of us, we can see the road signs of the main asphalt junction (Delta) to Argalasti and we head on to that. Eventually, we join the asphalt and walk on this for 50 metres. Reaching the junction, we take the old road which runs parallel to the main asphalt on the left. If we look carefully, we will notice some traces of the old kalderimi at some point.
       The old road eventually joins the main asphalt, which  has covered the kalderimi for more than a kilometer. We can avoid a significant section of asphalt if we take the earth road on the right, which opens out to the main road again at Agrigiannis winery, after about 700 m. After the winery, we have to walk about 500 meters on the asphalt and then take a narrow earth road to the right.
Kalderimi in pinewood
         After ten meters we leave the road to the left and walk downhill on a path which soon becomes a kalderimi crossing pinewood. We soon come to cross a stream over an old arched stone bridge. According to the inscription on the eastern keystone, it was built in 23 April 1895 after a donation by Konstantinos Topalis, an eminent lawyer and politician from Volos.
The bridge of Topalis near Neochori
     Leaving the old bridge in quiet, we climb on kalderimi. Reaching the graveyard, it becomes concrete road. At the junction we go left and soon come to a parking lot. Climbing the stairs we finally arrive at the square of Neochori.
The square of Neochori

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