A couple of days after tackling Thymadheri I headed for Vounos, the highest of the three peaks and a huge rocky mass backing the bay at its easternmost end (left in the photo below). This time, rather than incorporating it into a long circular walk and going up the sloping shoulder from the same col as Thymadheri, I chose the direct approach, the diretissimo as Italian alpinists would call it.
First, a saunter part-way around the bay, then along a path and track up a deep valley with a monastery at the end, up a rough path to the small church of Agios Pavlos nestled under a rocky crag, a thin, steep path up the side of the crag to a small deserted settlement, and finally strike straight up the slope to the top. On the final section there were odd bits of path used by goats but wherever possible I climbed the rock to keep out of the thorn scrub.
I look forward to seeing snakes on the islands but this visit didn’t see any. However, on my clamber over the rocks I came across a snake skin stretched where the snake had sloughed it. It was about 2 feet long and just over 2 inches in diameter …. so it’s clearly bigger than that now. It was alongside a snake-sized cleft in the rocks which I was tempted to explore but didn’t in case I came across the sharp end.
The top of the crag was made up entirely of large, razor-sharp limestone boulders with thorn scrub between but I found a reasonably comfortable rock to perch, eat my banana and enjoy the views before chasing precariously around like a lunatic trying to photograph dragonflies and butterflies which taunted me by waiting until I crept close and then flitting across to the next piece of scrub.
I dropped back into the col but decided to go back to the coast via Agios Pavlos, the way I came up, because it’s a more fun path. The beach this time, both start and finish, was that at Livadia. Very good apart from there being people there! It meant I had to wear my swimming trunks. Outrageous!!!!!