Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pinakates-Vizitsa

Pinakates

Distance: 1,74 km
Time: 50 min.
Altitude: from 590 m. (Pinakates) to 510 m. (minimum) to 520 m. (Vizitsa)
Total ascent: 77 m.  Total descent: 128 m.
Signed with red paint and round yellow signs
Drinking water on walk: no
Download GPS track: from Wikiloc

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         This route was cleaned and signed by volunteers in March 2016. It was in normal use until 1985, when construction of the asphalt road was completed. Pupils from Pinakates attending to Milies high school for example, had to walk on this route twice daily, regardless of weather conditions. It can also be used in combination to the routes Kala Nera to Pinakates and Kala Nera to Vizitsa, to create a circular walk, either extending to Kala Nera (longer) or to the train rails (shorter).

           Starting off rom the parking lot in Pinakates, just above the village`s square, we walk on the asphalt road towards Vizitsa. Exiting the village, the asphalt takes a right bend going downhill. We will find the path entrance 100 meters after that bend, looking for it on our left (we have to walk over the safety barrier at the side of the road).

          The path zigzags down to cross the stream of Vasilikis, which has water running in the spring. On the other bank an earth road runs parallel to the stream, on which we walk for 100 meters to the right (downhill). Seeing the signpost, we find the continuity of the path, climbing on the slope heading east. Reaching a signed junction, we head left uphill for a few meters and then the path turns gently to the right, starting to descend. Dry stone walls support the sides of the path as we walk along the upper border of a grove. We can see Vizitsa at the opposite slope and also the sea at the distance.
Seeing Vizitsa at the opposite slope

             After the grove, a short section of the path suffers from landslides but remains passable and descends to cross the stream of Galani. Climbing on the other bank, there is a short section of cobblestone (kalderimi), then again earth path. After crossing a third, smaller stream, we walk on kalderimi again entering Vizitsa. A concrete road comes to end at that spot. A little further on, we pass next to an old drinking water fountain (Sakellari fountain, 17th century), sadly without running water most time of the year.
Sakellari fountain at Vizitsa

         At a kalderimi junction we head to the left, walk over a concrete bridge and finally reach the nice and quiet square of Vizitsa, surrounded by renovated old mansions showing the characteristic Pelion architectural style.
 Vizitsa square

Renovated mansion at Vizitsa


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Drakia-Agios Lavrentios

View to Drakia

Distance: 3,5 km
Time: 1 hour
Altitude: from 480 m. (Drakia lower square) to 560 m. (Agios Lavrentios)
Total ascent: 125 m.  Total descent: 57 m.
Signed with red paint dots and metal signs
Drinking water on walk: no
Download GPS track: from Everytrail   from Wikiloc

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           Τhis is a pleasant 1-hour walk, mostly on earth road in chestnut forest. For information, Agios Lavrentios is also connected by walking routes to Agria, Agios Vlasios, Agios Georgios, Hania and Kissos. On the other hand, Drakia`s walking connections include Portaria, Hania and by Anemoutsa to Volos or Agria.

         Starting off from the lower (main) square of Drakia, we take the wide kalderimi that ascends next to the drinking water fountain. As we reach the asphalt, the kalderimi turns right and continues to ascend next to the old community building. Climbing constantly, it eventually opens to a concrete paved road, just under the village`s upper square and Agios Athanasios church, which we can visit climbing the stairs. 
Exiting Drakia

        Now we walk on the road to the right (east) and exit the village. Reaching the chapel of Agia Triada and a football pitch, we turn left on an uphill earth road, which opens to the main asphalt Drakia-Hania. We walk on the asphalt downhill, it takes a sharp bend to the right and 100 meters after that bend, we leave it to the left and walk on earth road, which has replaced the old path.
View to Drakia

        The road crosses a stream and continues through chestnut forest. From certain points, we have excellent wiew to Drakia on the opposite slope. A large and overgrown gully lies inbetween, opening to the sea at the distance.  
         After a while, we reach a V-junction and take the uphill road to the left. We cross an irrigation ditch and notice a stretch of cobblestone into the road. Then we come to another junction and take the middle road going uphill straight ahead. This soon becomes a kalderimi. On our left is Chatzini square, a balcony with excellent view over the gully.
Chatzini square
         We continue thereafter on kalderimi, entering Agios Lavrentios. Keeping on the main kalderimi, ignoring branches left and right, this leads us to the main square of the village. 
Agios Lavrentios main square


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Xinovrisi-Potistika

Potistika beach

Distance: 4,2 km
Time: 1,5 hour (walking time 1.15')
Altitude: from 231 m. (Xinovrisi) to 0 m. (Potistika beach)
Total ascent: 63 m.  Total descent: 283 m.
Signed with small round signs and red paint dots
Drinking water on walk: no
Download GPS track:  from Everytrail   from Wikiloc

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          This route was opened and signed in 2016 by volunteers from the Friends of the Kalderimi Association and Volos Alpine club. Most of the walk takes place on cobbled stone path (kalderimi), with the final section on earth or paved road. Other walking routes in the area include Xinovrisi to Siki and Argalasti.

         Starting from the big plane tree at the square of Xinovrisi, we walk down the stone paved kalderimi, which soon opens to a concrete paved road at the lower edge of the village, and we take it to the left. After twenty meters we find the kalderimi on the right, hidden by grass and soil, descending just below the last house of the village. A little further down, it joins an earth road for a short distance, but soon emerges again, descending towards a large stream. 
Near the stream bed

              Crossing the (normally dry) stream bed, we continue for some distance at the opposite bank. Then we start to climb on the slope, the kalderimi eventually becomes an earth road and opens to the asphalt, on the outside of a bend. If we look back, we can see Xinovrisi. To the north, Siki and Neochori are visible too. 
Looking back to Xinovrisi

             We walk on the asphalt for fifty meters and then leave it to the right, descending to find the kalderimi again. We go past a small fountain on the right and a cottage on the left, then cross a field overgrown with canes and then come to an earth road junction.

           We continue on the road straight ahead in a northeasterly direction and we do the same at the next junction with an uphill road to the right. After a little while, our road heads uphill and takes a right bend, where we notice a short section of kalderimi. Here we leave the road to the left, following the fence on our left side and descend on a path, which shows some traces of kalderimi here and there. Eventually it joins an earth road, which we follow downhill and turn left at the junction. We keep walking on the road, passing by olive groves and summer cottages. On our way, we can see the beaches of Potistika to the left and Melani to the right.
Μelani beach

         Further on, the road becomes concrete paved and then joins the asphalt. We can avoid the last piece of asphalt down to the beach, if we take the earth track from the chapel we meet on the left.
Potistika beach

        At the beach of Potistika we will find restaurants and rooms to rent in the summer season, as well as in Xinovrisi.