Saturday, 12 March 2016

Coming 'Round the Mountain

The sun was being negligent. The forecast on ERT1 the previous evening had suggested that it would be a day to get sunburnt if you weren't careful. Unfortunately, the old "Afrikaniki skoni" was about again. Thus the sun did not have his hat on as the weather forecast had led me to believe he would.

Afrikaniki skoni - African dust - is a phenomenon that we get quite regularly here in Greece. It has been known to reach as far as northern Europe and the UK, but we get it here several times every year. Basically it's dust from the Sahara, blown across the Mediterranean from south to north and sometimes it causes nothing more than a slight haziness in the atmosphere as it passes over us at jetstream altitude. Other times it can be quite bothersome. if it accompanies a rain system you can be pretty sure that everything that's outdoors, your tiled courtyards, your paths, your car, your washing, will end up coated in a red dust that's a real bother to remove. Often you end up having to wash down your walls, your courtyard, including for example the aircon units, the windows and sills, plants that have large leaves, with a brush or mop and copious quantities of water to get rid of it. You might have just washed the car, but it'll end up looking like it's just completed the Paris-Dakar Rally if it rains afrikaniki skoni.

Occasionally, and this was the case on the day in question, it accompanies a period of quite high humidity and then it produces a heavy, overcast sky, even when the forecast was for clear skies and sunshine. It's the kind of sky that I tend to describe as a British one and it can be very localised. I'm talking about Thursday February 25th and we'd planned a walk that would take us something over two hours. At the last minute my wife was called to do something else of some importance and thus I decided to continue with the walk anyway on my lonesome.

I mentioned the book "Walk and Eat Rhodes" in the post "A Spring (or Seven) in One's Step" and it was another walk in this book that I wanted to try out. A bit foolhardy maybe, since the walk we did on the previous occasion almost saw us stranded up a mountain overnight on Boxing Day last year. This time though, it ought to be more straightforward. The walk was a little shorter and, from the description in the book, ought to prove much easier to follow, even if the terrain were to prove different from that which is described in the book. The walk begins near a bus stop on the road leading up to Lindos from the "Flevaris" supermarket junction just above Kalathos village. It soon follows a narrow pathway into a steep valley leading around the back of a mountain and brings you out way up on the cliff above Psaltos Bay, from where you turn to the left and follow the cliff-edge around to the back of the valley leading down to Krana square, where all the coaches stop and disgorge their occupants as they spill down the steep hill into the village of Lindos itself. 

The weather, overcast as it was, reminded me very much of Lake District [Cumbria, UK] walks I'd done many years ago. Conditions like these make the landscape, especially at this time of the year when it's quite green, put one in mind of the British countryside and I like that. It's kind of nostalgic. According to the book it's a distance of 7.5 Kilometers and ought to take the average walker around 2 hours and 20 minutes. Of course, the book suggests that the walker carry on from Krana down into Lindos village and perhaps take a meal at Maria's Taverna, but I intended to take a refreshment break at the Lindos Ice Bar at Krana (which serves as a quite regular coffee bar all year around, the "Ice" section being basically a glorified Butcher's shop walk-in fridge that you pay €10 to enter during the summer season), before walking back down the road past the Amphitheatre open-air club to the starting point behind Vlicha Bay. 

So then, off we go (incidentally, the photo at the top [above that is] is a view taken just minutes after striking off up the lane from the road, The hill in the centre is the military camp at Kalathos with Kalathos Bay beyond), turning around and heading uphill...

Dunno what this was, the guide doesn't mention it. I suspect an old animal feed store?

Up until now, the guide's instructions still make sense

This is a Valonian Oak and it does indeed appear where you expect it to according to the guide. A result!

Look left - a fascinating cave, with stones at the entrance to make it into an enclosed shelter.

The weather conditions are very evident in this one. How much nicer the photos would have looked if it hadn't been for the Afrikaniki skoni.

At this point the guide refers to the cairns, like this one, which mark the way. Without them you could very easily get lost. There are supposed to be red paint spots on the stones along the way, but I found few left and those that remained were well faded.

Once or twice the sky spat at me and I started to worry about getting seriously wet. Fortunately though, it never came to anything. There are a few areas where you have to really search to see the next cairn. At this point you're quite a long way from anywhere.

At this time of year these poppies are a delight.

Here I walked through a waist-high "forest" of asphodel. I love that name. I reckon it belongs in a book like The Lord of the Rings. "The lady Asphodel wafted thru the forest of Lothlorien..."

By the time I got to here I was thinking how daft it was to attempt this walk alone. The ground is frequently very stony and a twisted ankle would be a disaster. Mobile phones are a help, but imagine anyone trying to come and find you.

Came across this orchid along the way, lovely eh?

The first view you get of Psaltos Bay far below. Pefkos, of course, is behind that distant headland. You can't make out the next cairn in this one. Sometimes they are so far ahead that you can doubt yourself until you finally catch sight of it.

This pic doesn't really do the height justice. Over these rocks is a drop of a couple of hundred feet. The entire Psaltos Bay is now visible.

At this point you're skirting the top of the cliff and approaching the top end of Krana, although it's still quite some distance away.

Yes, that slightly orange bit [bottom centre] is the path.

Krana now well visible below, although as yet you still have a few hundred feet of rough terrain to cover as you descend the slope. The white buildings immediately below are the Caesar's Gardens apartments.

Orange trees in the grounds of Caesar's Gardens. Tourists rarely see them like this. I quite fancied half-inching a couple, but there was a bloke hammering away at something in the grounds not far below me so I thought better of it!!

Yes, that stony area to the right is where you finally make it to the road. The "path" isn't that evident is it.

You pass the Rafael as you descend gradually toward Krana Square and the Flora Supermarket.

Entrance to Caesar's Gardens.

Yea, this area is normally where tourists park their hire vehicles during the season. Hotels and apartment blocks often look like this in the run-up to the start of the new season.

Peering over my filter coffee in the Lindos Ice Bar, just before I was joined by Dimitri, a Greek friend from Kalathos.  We had a natter for an hour or two before I set off once more to walk along the road back to the starting point.

Moody looking Lindos Bay in the murk...

As above, only zoomed a little.

I was a little peeved that these shots would have looked so much better with a clear sky.
Y'know what? I really enjoyed the walk, even though there were places where the path was pretty doubtful. But at least I found it again and made the circuit without incident. 

The next day it dawned bright and clear, not a cloud in sight to interrupt a cobalt sky. I wasn't about to do the walk again right then and there though!


  1. Have seen that walk in the book and considered it and after doing Arxangelos to Haraki it is almost the same in terrain but more cairns and red spots on Haraki walk and the treat of seeing the arch. May consider this walk that you have done one year but have others to do too. Great photos and blog as always

    1. The arch? Sounds intriguing.

    2. Have a look on Griffs blog at the Rhodes walks, it's on there along with photos :)

    3. There's a link on the "Links" page (for others reading this). It's just under the one to his UK site, - and it's

  2. There are a series of photos on Google Earth which seem to be that walk.
    We did the the walk mentioned by Kat a few years ago but we did it the opposite way starting at Haraki. It was fairly difficult as there is quite a lot more climbing to do in that direction. We also came across the old Greek problem of a wide easy track ending up as a scramble among rocks and prickly shrubs.