Amorgos: back to The Old Way

Saturday morning and, despite early morning lethargy and the blues, I was still buzzing after yesterday.  Spent a bit of time writing it up for the blog and then a snap decision mid-morning to walk to Eghiali at the other end of the island again, the ‘Palio Strata’ which I walked on Monday.  The reasons?  I enjoyed  it very much, felt it stretched me a bit,  And the second part of the walk had been clagged in on Monday so I wanted to see it in the sunshine.

The paths I have seen on Amorgos very good.  I would hesitate to commit myself to walk from one end of the island to the other on most islands because of the problems of route-finding.  But here the Palia Strata is well marked.  I don’t know but I guess it is the local council which has put down markers, erected signposts and built cairns to make uncertain parts of the path clear.  This is always helpful when the path goes over rocky ground because the line of the path is then not always obvious.

Built cairn to mark path over rocky ground

It is a policy designed to encourages walkers to come to the island and is obviously having some success as I have seen more walkers in a  week on Amorgos than I saw in a month on Nisyros.  Frankly other island councils would do well to adopt a similarly constructive and proactive policy.  The only island I know where something similar is being done is Kalymnos which has made a lot of effort to encourage rock climbing with parking places and markers and a lot of information about routes on each climbing crag.

Today the whole route was bathed in sunshine, no hint of the clag which had blotted out the landscape last time I walked the route. Very dramatic.

Last time I was here the backdrop for this church in the col was a bank of cloud

Old houses in the tiny settlement behind the church: note the chimneys

Judging by this line of wells a lot of water must collect here.

Dropping down into Eghiali there was again a reminder that these routes are old kalderimia, donkey paths.  I reckon that some of them are kept open and so clear because they are still used regularly by donkeys used for transporting heavy stuff where vehicles are not practical.  And in the case of at least one hotel and restaurant for transporting tourists and their luggage.  The only other places I know where donkeys are still used as part of normal life are Symi and Hydra

Working donkey, this one saddled for carrying slabs of stone being split nearby

Altogether the walking took 3½ hours with about half an hour stopping for bananas, nut bar, water and photos.  When I got to Eghiali there was a satisfyingly cooling swim. And a lie in the sun to dry off before catching the bus back to Chora.

There are some walks in the book a this end of the island so I am moving from Chora on Tuesday and into a hotel here in Eghiali.  My ambition before I go home is to put together a walk from the villages in the mountains via the Palia Strata and then down to Katapola.  Need to work out timings and buses ….. may be a bit ambitious

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