After a difficult day on Friday when the walking was an effort, come Sunday and I’ve got the bounce back in my legs. So, very interestingly and satisfyingly for me and very boring for blog readers, I went for a long hard walk.
I walked up the Viros Gorge to the Agios Sotiros monastery, an hour at a good pace on the dried up river bed of the gorge, and then a very stiff climb up 1000 feet to the village of Pedino and another climb up to the highest village in the immediate hinterland of Kardamili, Tseria, at an altitude of about 600 metres. I completed that stage of the walk in under 2 hours from Kardamili which seemed a gratifyingly distant when looking back down the mountain from the diminutive village square in front of the church.
From Tseria it was down to the bed of the gorge again and then up the other side to the tiny settlement of Kolibetseika, the place with the taverna looking straight down into the gorge. The path down into the gorge was truly amazing, mostly a stone-laid kalderimi zig-zagging down and all the time looking at the boulder-strewn river bed way down below and the mountain peaks towering way up above.
One of the differences between walking in the mountains around Kardamili and other places I have been is that because effort is made to keep up and waymark the paths and there is a good ‘hiking map’ a lot more people obviously feel confident to venture out. Very few Brits but in the last couple of days I have met Belgians, Dutch, and a large number of Norwegians. There seem a lot of Norwegians in Kardamili at the moment. All want to stop and pass the time of day before moving on.
There is always a shared affinity in the mountains, people always greet each other. But it seems that there is something about the sunshine which brings out the sunny side of people even more. All the walkers I have met have been North Europeans and all have the same message: “the weather back home is lousy. Isn’t it marvellous here”. And that’s the point. It is!
After the long stiff climb up to Tseria and then to a frappé in Kolibetseika it was a long drop down back to Agia Sofia and then to Kardamili. Frankly it was so enjoyable in the sunshine on good paths that I didn’t want it to end. But it had to of course. At the beach for another swim.