So we could cover as much of the island as possible, we decided to do a walk round the centre-north today. Again it started off cloudy, but another getting-better sort of day. By now we were quite nonchalant about whether there would be a bus or not, and we got a taxi from bus stop 4 to Troulos for €10. We started off re-tracing our steps from Sunday afternoon, until we got to the turn-off for the dog shelter and monastery. A quick stop-off at the monastery, and onwards towards Mikro Aselinos. There are some great views along this road, particularly of Megali Aselinos far away down the hill. The walking was good, along a broad track, through a forest. Ideal for a 4x4 as well.
We stopped off at Mikro Aselinos for lunch. There was some building/mending/tidying activity at the beach shack, but it wasn’t open and didn’t look like it would be in the next few days. We pondered about how they bring their supplies in, and figured that all the heavy stuff must come in by boat, rather than carrying it down the pretty steep and long track. There were a few other people dotted about the place, but I think we were the only ones who had walked there – everyone else must have had more sense (only joking!)
After lunch and catching a few rays, we set off carrying on round the coast. Eventually we turned further inland and arrived at the turn-off for Achilas brook footpath (also recommended on my map for mountain-biking), which to me epitomises the lovely meadow scenery you get in some places on the island, as opposed to the (equally lovely) pine forests. Following the stream, lots of colourful insects and flowers around, and by now the sun had come out – perfect. From the path there are many roads and paths to get back to Town, all of them involving very steep downhill sections, which are sometimes more difficult on the legs than the uphills. We arrived back relatively early, plenty of time to make a pilgrimage to Megali Ammos beach, which was again very quiet. 16.1km., about 380m height gain overall. Afterwards I went to the school for my wi-fi fix, and managed to contact SL1, who was being very elusive!
That night we went to Alexandros for the first time. I know people find it difficult to locate it, and let me tell you, I’m with you on this! However, we did manage, but I wouldn’t be able to describe it to you. We had some fantastic food there, personally I wasn’t too keen on the house red, but the white was lovely. Also, SL1 made an appearance; I’d taken a small gift with me as a thank you for all his help, and also for the pleasure he gives me (and I suspect many of you) on his blog. He stayed for a few minutes and we had a chat about walking and dogs, the length of the season and that kind of stuff – it was good to see him again. Unknown to us, he had asked the waiter to give us a dessert on him, so thanks for that – cherries and yogurt, delicious! We decided that the meal was so good that we would go there on our last night.
After the meal we ended up in Main Str again. Although the beers are a bit dearer there than some places at €4, the ambience and the music are very good and more than make up for the minor price inconvenience. Another great day.
Two of our little gang decided to have a rest day today, but N and I walked to what Ortwin Widmann describes in his walking guide as the Magic Forest. In Ftelia we took a turn-off a bit too early, but when we passed a lady sweeping up she clearly didn’t have the heart to tell us that we were actually walking through (her) private land – we didn’t realise till we got to the top of the steep hill and walked through a gate to see a sign on the other side! Distance-wise, this isn’t particularly long, but it’s very hilly, lots of up then down then up again, a bit like the Kastro walk, part of which it shares, so quite tiring. At the col, we reached 350m above sea level, then went down to Kechria monastery. I love the way the monasteries are dotted around the place, presumably at least partly governed by the water supplies. Kechria is one of my favourites, very small, not in any way manicured and lovingly cared-for like some of the larger ones, but lovely nevertheless, and with some great frescoes. We had our lunch in the courtyard, once again we were the only ones there, then made our way to the olive press, then through the Magic Forest along Kechria brook. This is a truly wonderful place. Many of the trees have hollow trunks, the ferns are very high, there are loads of insects and flowers around, and Mr. Widmann has put in footbridges, rope handrails etc to make the going easier. I know there are quite a few devotees of Kechria beach on the forum, and for those of you who haven’t ventured up the brook, I’m sure you would enjoy it.
The forest ends suddenly, and you’re on the beach. We walked round to Ligharies, where I had a swim in some big waves. It was very windy and to avoid being sandblasted we had to retreat to the deserted beach shack at the southern end.
By now it was very hot – I later saw on SL1’s blog that the temperature reached 31 – and the climb back was quite tiring; but at least we didn’t have to go up to 300+m again, only about 200m. We got back and went down to Megali Ammos, where the big waves had decimated the available beach. Total distance – about 15.6km., but 640m height gain.
By now the bars on M.A. were all open, and the other 2 of our party were testing the drinks in Thessaloniki, - they found them to be fine, but just to be sure had to repeat the prescription.
That night we went on a bit of a pub crawl, with a gyros-stop at No-Name, before once again finishing up at Main Str., where the DJ had us writing requests on bits of paper, the more obscure the better. We were the only ones in there, probably because we would have frightened anyone else away… So we heard loads of stuff, from Elbow and New Order, Killers, Chase and Status and Calvin Harris to Johnny Cash and even a touch of Led Zeppelin…an eclectic mix.