Sunday, no bells and no broadcast service across the town. That must be reserved for Special Occasions.
I felt the need for a quiet day in walking terms after the long walk yesterday but, as is often the case, it didn’t quite work out like that.
I had a late start because of the breakdown of the internet connection mid-blog so about 11.00 I set out to walk to Emborios on the crater rim and then down to the coast to the small harbour of Palloi which once served it with supplies and so on. I think from bits I have read that some centuries ago the population of Emborios lived in Palloi but got fed up of being pillaged by pirates and so moved up the mountain. Of course a trading centre like Emborios (from which we get the English word ‘Emporium’) couldn’t survive without an outlet to the sea and there has always been a strong link between the two in the form of a well made kalderimi. Last year John and I followed the top half of that route quite easily but then found the second half choked up with vegetation and dead trees and it became a bit of a nightmare. I had heard of an alternative from the point where it is bisected by the new tarmac road and the plan was to find it.
I got to the church and the castle above Emborios in less than 1½ hours and sat there for my dinner …. and to take a few more photos. Have I mentioned that I particularly like that small church and its courtyard? Well, alright, I know I have but I’m saying it again.
I then dropped down to the taverna for a frappé on the balcony looking over the crater before heading down to the top of the coastward-bound kalderimi.
As last year the first part of the kalderimi was good, a little overgrown but that presented no problems. This time I turned left at the road instead of going straight across and eventually found a path. Of sorts!! It certainly wasn’t a kalderimi. In fact basically it was following a stream bed floored with pumice gravel varying in width between half a metre and the width of a sandal, periodically so choked with spiky trees that the ‘path’ climbed out of it before rejoining it a little further down.
Eventually after a very prickly half hour, the path levelled out and reached a pallet in the fence alongside a house on the edge of Palloi. The pallet of course was a gate and signified that there was a path leading to this point. Whether I had been on the path I don’t know. Whether there is a better path which I have still to find, again, I don’t know.
This section of coast is very different from the Western coast which I have walked a few times. For a start there are thermal springs from the volcano emerging here. At Loutra a little further along the coast is a geothermal spa, to which you can be referred by a doctor for treatment. At Palloi, just where the path emerged onto the coast road, is the remains of a spa used by the Romans and possibly even earlier than that by the ancient Greeks. The remains of the vaulted roof which they built are still very much in evidence as is the original spa pool at the back of a cave. There is also a tiny church built into the side of the cave and inside the vaulted roof.
Opposite the Roman spa is the shell of an enormous, palatial spa hotel, built at great cost but never finished, testimony to extravagant folly.
I dawdled here because it was so interesting but then set out to walk into Palloi village. That was when it dawned on me how rough the sea had become. It had been windy all day but the sea was very much bigger than usual, at least as far as Palloi harbour which is very well protected.
129From Palloi it was just 40 minutes along the road back to the main harbour in Mandraki where it became clear that there would be no swim today. The sea was beginning to wash over the end of the quay and the breakwater by the small swimming beach was having very little effect, the waves were just overtopping it.
A lot further than I intended to walk, harder going, covered in superficial scratches but very enjoyable.