We went for a walk today on the Western side of the island from the mountain village of Kallirachi across to Sotiras, another village in the hills, stopping en-route to see the tower at Metamorfosi and then an old aqueduct. The walk starts from the village of Kallirachi where the ‘poetry path’ is signposted from the village square. Kind of vaguely following this route generally upwards and to the left, brings you to the church of the saint and protector of the village. Looks lovely… but it’s padlocked and we’re not allowed inside. After trying to decided where we were on the map we headed up and out of the village looking for a dirt track that runs along behind the houses, there’s no particular route out of the village but looking out for the ruined watermill and being above the village made everything slightly more obvious! Here the poetry path starts off again and heads upwards toward the fortified hilltop of Metamorfosi.
Took me a while to realise why it’s called the ‘path of poetry’, as we discovered the route is way-marked not only by the white and red tape evident in the trees, but by marble slabs onto which poems of assorted authors are scribed.
It generally appears to be fairly religious poetry and related, on the whole, to death. It does give you the excuse however to stop fairly frequently and pretend you’re not out of breath, just reading.
Predicatably the tower has an amazing view and is well worth the climb, just about. I reckon it was about 35 degrees and it’s a fairly steep hill. I would recommend that anyone else trying it wears sensible shoes but then I tend to do everything in flip-flops, just because. From the top of Metamorfosi you can see a good view out towards the mainland of Greece and over a large section of the island including Kallirachi below.
As always there is a church…
Back down retracing our steps from the tower, we continued along the dirt track towards an old aqueduct built previously by Mohammed Ali. After trying to drive along the unsurfaced roads earlier in the week I think I can fairly confidently state that without a 4×4, it’s actually quicker to walk. After following the contour of the hill for around a kilometre, the path veers of signposted towards ‘BRIDGE!’. Here we followed the pipes, along with some refreshing burst ones spraying water into the air, along the side of the hill and into the valley.
Crossing over the aqueduct the path become a little bit less pathy, and if you happen to be wearing shorts, quite scratchy. Obviously not a very well used route, and now covered with traditional greek plants whose only objective is to remove bits of your skin. Still, after climbing around and over the next hill, it is possible to walk down the ridge and rejoin a more civilised dirt track. This continues for around another kilometre, going past a farmers house with his goats and slowly descending towards Sotiras.
At this point I was looking forward not only to a large Amstel, but to a even larger bottle of water. We did arrive in Sotiras in the middle of Sunday afternoon, but I think I can fairly safely say that there is no shop and no taverna anyway. A strange place, aside from one chap selling a few little pots of honey and quite a few newly built looking hostels and hotels, Sotiras is predominantly ruined. As we walked around in search of a taverna, there were large numbers of plots of land and houses for sale in and amongst the newer built houses.
There is fortunately a water fountain in the completely deserted village square, which despite being rather green and slightly odd tasting was very welcome before we started the walk back.
Cutting out the aqueduct and diversion to Metamorfosi cut a good half hour of the walk time and we probably did the whole trip in about 4 1/2 hours including a decent walk around Sotiras on arrival. It’s not particularly long, but fairly hilly with some paths that require careful route picking. Another advantage to cutting out the aqueduct on the return means you get to divert past the spring next to the road, very refreshing if there’s been nowhere to buy drinks in Sotiras!
We are greeted on arrival back into Kallirachi by the sane friendly cat that met us on the way up and consequently followed us all the way back down into the village.
Needless to say the day needed to be rounded off with some lying on the beach. We found a predominantly stony, but empty beach on the way south of of Skala Killirachi and spend a couple of hours resting.
I also found a fairly large, tame bird…. Don’t know what it is though?