Tag Archives: Christian Peters

Remote places and landscapes in Greece – Walks in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor: Part 9

The ninth of Christian Peter’s walks and still in the Dodecanese.

9.     Astypalaia /Dodecanese

Situated between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese the “forgotten” island of Astypalaia  is even today calm and traditional.  Having the form of a butterfly a small band of land of only 200 meters separates the island into two sections: Exo Nisi and Mesa Nisi.  A day-long hike over the entire island starting in Chora ( Exo Nisi) brings you to the remote, almost abandoned village of Exo Vathy (Mesa Nisi). Only a few people live here leading a very simple and traditional island life as fisherman and farmer. One old couple runs a tavern.

Advertisements

Remote places and landscapes in Greece – Walks in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor: Part 8

The eighth of Christian Peter’s walks.

8.     The “Italian Road” from Pothia to Vathi – Kalymnos

Paddy must have widely been travelling the Dodecanese, as he was so obsessed by pebbelstone mosaics. The islands of the Dodecanese offer a great variety of fantastic pebblestone mosaics. Nearly every old church has one  and the Kalymnian capital of  Pothia has one of the largest and most beautiful. Recently Kalymnos became a world class destination for rock climbers, but there are a number of wonderful walks on the island, too. The best known one is the walk on the old Italian Road (Italikós drómos) from the vibrant city of Pothia into the fertile valley of Vathys. Those who really want to follow Paddy’s footsteps  should visit Kalymnos for Easter celebrations. What you will find to happen in the streets of and on the mountains around  Pothia on those days is really Paddy-like: The local people like to celecrate the holy days with dynamite, this is why during those days people tend to call their island the “Aegean Afghanistan”.

Remote places and landscapes in Greece – Walks in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor: Part 7

Back to Crete for the seventh walk in Christian Peter’s series.

7.     From Sougia to Agia Roumeli – Crete

a.       One of the wildest and most difficult walks on Crete is the one along the coastline  between Sougia and Agia Roumeli. But it is rewarding as it offers not only a great variety of natural beauties, but also access to the Gorge of Tripiti which as “a clandestine landing point for the whole of the area” played a major role during the occupation. In his book “The Stronghold” Xan Fielding describes it  as “a needle-narrow opening in the littoral  ramparts, which travelers until recently believed to be inaccessible  except by sea” (p. 55). The Tripiti gorge marks the border between the provinces of Selino and Sfakiá and offers insights into the “highland labyrinth” above Koustogerako which during WW II “was probably the only habitable area in the whole of Crete  which could have sheltered in safety such a vast clandestine concourse as ours had been (Xan Fielding; Hide and Seek, p. 167).

Remote places and landscapes in Greece – Walks in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor: Part 6

The sixth of Christian Peter’s walks.

6.     From Christos Raches to Manganitis  – Ikaría

This unknown, but astonishing walk starts in the mountain village of Xristos Raches in Western Ikaria. The day long walk first heads towards the high plateau of Ammoudia from where you follow a steep, but paved kalderimi into the fishermen´s village of Manganitis.  As Ikaría even today does not have too much tourism, walking on the island still feels like the expedition into the everyday island life of former times .

Remote places and landscapes in Greece – Walks in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor: Part 5

The fifth of Christian Peter’s walks. I hope that you are enjoying this; the scenery is stunning.

5. Amorgos/Cyclades

a. The longest hike on the Cycladic island of Armogos is also the most beautiful. The old connection between the main island villages of Chora in the Island centre and Aigiáli in the North is a one day walk on old, partly paved paths with fantastic bird eye views upon the whole island. Along the way lies the monastery of Chozoviótissa which is among the most important monasteries of the Aegean Sea.

Remote places and landscapes in Greece – Walks in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor: Part 4

The fourth of Christian Peter’s walks.

4.   Sfakián Monopatia – The old connection between Asi Gonia and Anopoli  – Sfakiá/Crete

How often did Paddy, Xan Fielding and George Psychoundakis walk the old Monopati from Asi Goni via Askifou to the Sfakian mountain villages of Anopoli and Agios Ioannis? Did that connection play a major role during the Cretan resistance?

The mountain region of Sfakiá is the heartland of what Xan Fielding called The stronghold.  Here, in the Highlands of the White Mountains, Crete until today remained as pure and unspoiled as it always was. The walk starts in the birthplace of the Cretan Runner, George Psychoundakis, then reaches the hamlet of Goni in the Askifou-Plateau and continues via to Kali Lakki to Anopoli. Next to Anopoli, on the ridge of the Aradena Gorge, lies the ruined village of Aradena, where in 1947 a vendetta broke out and made its inhabitants leave. Aradena is as well the imaginary village, where Ioanna Karystiani’s novel Suit in the earth (Greek title: Koustoumi sto choma) might take place. Karystiani’s family is originally from Askifou. Following the bridge over the gorge, the walker continues to Agios Ioannis, Crete`s highest mountain village. A little bit underneath of Agios Ioannis you can find a place called Sellouda, which for me is the most impressive place in entire Crete. With the Levka Ori in your back you stand thousand meters high above the sea spotting Africa on the horizon. Although the cliffs seem impossible to pass through you can easily follow a stone paved Kalderimi through steepest terrain which leads you almost thousand meters difference in altitude down to the church of Agios Pavlos on the beach. From there you can continue your two days trek to Agia Roumeli.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Books about the region:

Xan Fielding (1954): Hide and Seek. Secker and Warburg.

Xan Fielding (1955): The Stronghold: An account of the four seasons in the White Mountains of Crete. Secker and Warburg.

Ioanna Karystiani (2000): Suit in the earth (German title: Schattenhochzeit)

Loraine Wilson (2002): Crete. The White mountains. A walking and Trekking guide. Cicerone

Peter Trudgill (2008): In Sfakiá. Passing time in the Wilds of Crete. Lycabettus Press.

Remote places and landscapes in Greece – Walks in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor: Part 3

The Third of Christian Peter’s walks.

3.   The village of Olymbos in the North of Karpathos

There is no village like Olymbos in the entire Agean Sea. I don`t know if Paddy ever visited the Dodekanese Island of Karpathos and the vilalge of Olymbos. If not he missed an important impression.  A village without bakery due to the fact that the Olymbites still use their old ovens in the gardens, a village where the women still wear their old costumes, a village where byzantine traditions (Songs, easter Tuesday) are still alive.

The old Monopati from Spoa to Olymbos is one of the most impressive walks I have ever made on Greek islands. It is partly paved, especially the last part leading into the village of Olympos is fantastic. If you want to understand what life was like in this remote village in former times, you need to get there by walking the old path.