Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Milies train station-Vizitsa (circular)

Milies train station
Distance: 9,4 km.
Time: 3 hours
Altitude: from 290 m. (train station) to 585 m. (Vizitsa)
Total ascent/descent: 296 m.
Signed with red paint dots and various signs
Drinking water on walk: yes (Vizitsa)
Download GPS track:  from Wikiloc

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         Starting from Milies train station, to get to Vizitsa is a nice 45-minute walk uphill. From Vizitsa we take the downhill cobblestone path (kalderimi) towards Kala Nera and, reaching the train rails, we follow these to return to the start.
          There are two alternative ways to start the walk. The first one is: Just before the entrance of the train station, we take the uphill stone paved track on the right. This continues as an earth track above the train station, and then, as the track takes an uphill turn, we continue on an earth path straight ahead (notice the red marks). We cross an overgrown stream and then come to a path junction. 
Crossing the stream near the train station
          The second way to start, is to walk initially on the train rails. One hundred meters after leaving the station, looking on the right, we notice the uphill path to Vizitsa, marked with red paint and a wooden sign. After a short distance we come to the junction where the two paths merge, and continue climbing on a wide and clear path, which later on becomes a kalderimi. On our left is the large Miliotiko ravine. We can see the white chapel of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) on the opposite slope (we will pass by there on our way back). A little lower, if we look carefully, we can make the tiny chapel of Taxiarches built on the cliff. 
        Higher up, we come to cross the asphalt and continue on an earth road, passing just under the cemetery of Vizitsa. A little further on, we notice the kalderimi on the right and follow it uphill. We pass by a roofed spring water and by the tiny old monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (St. John the Baptist), worthy of a visit, and then the kalderimi opens to the main asphalt road of Vizitsa.
Agios Ioannis Prodromos monastery at Vizitsa
        Walking another 100 m. on the asphalt uphill, after the parking area and a water fountain, we have on the left the main church of Vizitsa (Zoodhochos Pigi-Virgin Mary). In front of the church descends the main kalderimi coming from the square above, going towards Kala Nera and we follow it. A few meters on there is a kalderimi junction. We take the left branch and at the next junction the right branch downhill. A little further down, the kalderimi disappears as it meets an earth road. In 1994 this area suffered landslides which buried and blocked the original kalderimi.
         Noticing the signpost on the left, we follow an earth track downhill. At the end of it, we find the kalderimi again, wide and clear, climbing down to cross the stream over a concrete bridge. During winter and spring, the streamwater forms a scenic waterfall above the bridge.
The concrete bridge over Kakorema
       After the bridge the kalderimi becomes earth road joining an asphalt road and we walk on it uphill. Reaching the white chapel of Timios Stavros, which we could see from the opposite slope, we climb some steps on the right side of the road, entering the kalderimi. This passes next to a concrete water tank and then joins an earth road, where we walk for a few metres to the left to find the kalderimi again, descending among olive groves, cottages and earth roads through the settlement called ''Argireika''.
Approaching Milies
          Eventually, we come to cross the train rails over a stone bridge. Here we leave the kalderimi, which continues downhill towards the sea, and follow the rails to the left eastwards. In about 45 minutes, we reach the impressive metallic train bridge going by the name of De Chirico (the Italian engineer responsible for building the train line Volos-Milies, completed in 1903, although this particular bridge was in fact built by the German engineer Schneider, an expert on metal bridges at the time).
The metal bridge seen from above
          Before crossing the bridge however, it  is worthy to visit the small chapel of Taxiarhon above us. So we take the narrow path marked with red paint on the left, climbing steadily. At a junction we take the left branch.
Taxiarchon chapel
           After climbing some steps built with stones, we walk on a narrow lane on the nearly vertical rock (people suffering from fear of heights should avoid it) that leads to the tiny chapel built on the edge of the cliff, accompanied by the birds, waiting every day to hear the shuffle of the little train  passing below.
       Returning back and crossing the bridge, we arrive back to the station in fifteen minutes, thus completing the circle.