27 July 2012

Greece 2012: Exploring Paros III

Date: 23 June 2012

Location: Paros

Walkers: Helen, Dom, Josie, Lloyd & Christina

We were up early(ish) this morning to walk the Byzantine Road. This walking route - dating, as the name implies, from Byzantine times - starts in the village of Lefkes where we were staying and winds its way through the countryside and down to the coast, several kilometres away. First, we made our way into Lefkes, via the main road...

As usual we did a fair bit of meandering around the old quarter (and got a little bit lost too, looking for the start to the walk).

It is easily to get lost in Greek villages, especially if one is easily distracted by flowers...

... charming cafes in shady squares...

... and houses, old and new.

After a while we found a signboard pointing us in the right direction.

And we set off down the hill, following the ancient way.

Another sign confirming we were on the right path.

The route took us down the valley beyond the church. The terraced hillside was golden with summer grasses and wild-flowers.

The warm morning sunshine was streaming down. It was so good to be out!

We looked back to Lefkes....

... and to the hills and sea ahead of us.

In some places the Byzantine Road is a track, but in other places it's a paved route with drystone walls on either side. Very easy, pleasant walking up and down the gentle hills.

I loved the grey-green olive trees....

... and the low round shrubs and grasses...

and the fragrant thyme growing along the wayside.

We came to a plateau with a view of the valley beyond.

And we followed our path onwards. Most of the walking was downhill.

These stone walls are everywhere: all over the countryside, all over the island. Makes my head hurt thinking how much work they must have been to build, over the centuries.

After a few kilometres of walking we came to a small village, Prodromos. We strolled around a bit. Not sure why the blue and yellow bunting was up but it did look very festive!

Prodromos was very pretty.

We stopped for some fresh juice and frappes, and decided that we'd done enough walking for the day. My chest was still rather tight and sore from the bronchitis, and I was really tired from the morning's exercise. So we made our way back to Lefkes.

And I had a long afternoon nap while the others went out to meet some friends. Later on I took another stroll into the village.

I had missed lunch so made my way to the kafeneon for a slice of their most delicious apricot cake. Yum! And then a bunch of very smartly dressed folk began to gather. A wedding!

Later that evening we were back in the village for supper.

And found that the community celebrating the 'burning of the wreaths'. This local midsummer festival involves the building of a large bonfire onto which are thrown the wild-flower wreaths that are traditionally made on May Day. We'd seen these wreaths, nicely dried so many weeks later, all over the island (see pic above - I'd got one in the frame, without even realising it, when photographing flower pots in Prodromos earlier in the day). After the wreaths have burned the boys and girls took turn leaping through the flames...

... and then the dancing started. A fun time was had by all!


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