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Monday, 26.4.: A Walking Tour

Today the sun shines again and we realize during these holidays that the weather changes every day. At first we walk along the busy coastal road to a shop one kilometer away. But there is nothing advisable, no fruits and vegetables, the vine is expensive. We buy some postcards and then look for the continuation of our tour. We find a road towards the mountains where we can walk. It must be said, that no detailed map of this area exists, so everyone must explore on his own and it may happen that one ends in a dead-end street now and then or always.

The landscape is wonderful. Large olive groves and as higher we come the wider is the view to the coast, the sea and the mountains of the mainland behind. On the meadows there are goats and sheep. The sheep use to gather together in a circle, heads inside - we don't know why. At a tavern we turn right and trust to our orientation skills. Sometimes there are barkink dogs in the estates, fortunately seperated by a fence. But Heidi gets a hollow back and increases the speed. Once as we just have our troubles on a muddy path two huge sheep dogs come up and bark as furious as they can behind a narrow fence. This time we retreat.

Some time later we reach a crossing. There we see some high-tech mountain-bikers (Kestrel). Moreover they have a support van, driver and reserve bikes with them, may be due to their assets. Other wealthy people have gained luxury estates up here, surrounded by huge olive groves. Some years ago these areas have been extreemly cheap, one grove for DM 5000, so our waiter Dimitri tells. So we toddle on down to the busy coastal road just aside of our hotel. For two hours we have been on the walk and now are glad to return to the pool: "Can you cream my backside please?"

If I want to tell something more of this day I must talk of the swallows. There are lots of house martins, whirring in the air, and now and then they plunge down to the water surface to pick up an insect. So they clean the pool, may be they prevent a mosquito plague as well, because their nests are tolerated wherever they occur (one nest is sticked to a floor lamp inside of a building). Aside our rest place at the pool there is a wet spot with clay among the grass. There they come, our friends, and pick up the clay to build their nests. We observe one of them as it flies back to it's construction site. They just begin to form the nest and two days later we can report: the nest is completed.

On the other hand there are some nests abandoned, others have come to live in there and these are the sparrows. They make the entrance hole wide and stuff in this or that as cushion material. So there hang down halms and strings and it looks like odds and ends.

In the evening we find a bottle of vine at our bungalow, this is the reparation from the organizers for the noisy weekend.

Tuesday, 27.4.: Walk to Eretria

Meanwhile we like to walk or hike around and this day we want to find the footpath to Eretria. We march to the shop nearby and some time later go up a side road. Then we turn left towards the town but finally end in a blind alley with barking dogs. "Look back for a moment" I say to Heidi and there is a barking dog in the middle of the street. Thoroughly we pass by and then end - guess - at the busy coastal road. 200 dangerous meters later we can climb across a gully to gain the narrow green stripe at the coast. I avoid to mention that there may be rats in the gully.

We follow the skidmarks of a tractor. There are mighty agave plants with flower spikes 3 m high. Finally we reach the gravel beach and ballance for the rest to Eretria. We cross an area of another hotel and then the path is boring. This area is under development for a later settlement. But we see a swallowtail butterfly. (Once in my youth I had found a green inchworm and put it with some leaves into a box. I then had forgotten about it, and some months later found the box again and there was a wonderful swallowtail butterfly inside. I was sad that he never came to real life but I preserved him for years until he turned to be dust).

At Eretria we see a "Dream Hotel" at an peninsula at the end of a sterile promenade. At the ferry quay some cars rush on the ferry boat and while the last rolls on to the platform this is pulled up already. We go back by bus and relax for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, 28.4.: Walk to Amarinthos

It would not be effective to make such a journey and be lazy all the time. This day we go to the south and 20 minutes later reach the mountainbiker's crossing of two days ago. We continue uphill and see a brand new church. Then we ask some workmenfor the route. They show to a sign "Halkida" and we guess that this will lead back to the busy coastal road. But there is another sandy side road and we ask some other men. They assert that it is the right path and moreover offer to bring Heidi by car whereas I should walk. But this is not our favourite solution.

The road is very nice, up and down in a more wonderful landscape than before. There was the rain at the last weekend and there is still a large puddle as wide as the road. At the better side there is a swarm of bees so we must ballance through the mud on the other side to avoid a bee-sting.

The walk is so interesting that we suddenly arrive at Amarinthos. As usual we walk towards the sea. There we find a huge butterfly which has been overrun by a car and is nearly dead. We put him aside into the grass, that is all we can do. No one will believe the size of the butterfly:  as large as a hand inclusive fingers. The colour is grey with brown rings and circles. Unfortunately I missed to make a photo so it will be difficult to find out the species. May be it was one of the big night moths.

At the beach of Amarinthos there are some picturesque scenes. There is only one shabby hotel and not much touristic activities. But a promenade is there too and some nices cafes and shops at the landside of the street. As usual the fish shops are the most interesting though not everything looks quite appetising. This is especially true to the octopusses with their tentaculars and acetabulums.

As we have seen enough we enter the bus and minutes later are back again. In the afternoon we stay at the beach and wait, that a two-masted vessel will start it's journey. But we could have waited for long for it goes off neither today nor at one of the following days.

In the evening we meet a couple from Zwickau. They have participated in a cruise today, which leaded to some odd islands Aegina or Hydra or something else. They have started at 4 o' clock in the morning and were driven to Athens and Piraeus where they entered the ship. But they were not able to understand the declarations of the guidance for this was in French and English according to the participants. "We old oxes sit around and did not understand, we even did not know where we were" - this is said in the nice saxonian dialect. And they have paid DM 160.- each for this one day trip.

Thursday, 29.4: Bustour to Kimi

The weather is cloudy so we will make a bustour. But first we must do something for Heidi's foot for she has got a bleb from the yesterday walk. We go to the reception where they speak English. We try to get a plaster there but do not know the translatation and say something like "wound-pad" or so. But they do not understand, so finally we show the bleb at the foot and now they shout "Ah, Hansaplast".

Then we sit in the bus and ride along the coastal road to Alivieri. On the left side there are forest slopes which are burnt down recently. May be we read about it in the newspapers unaware that we will see this in reality. Along some ridges they have made aisles, but this was useless because during the fire there was a strong storm. But no one knows the origin of the fire.

At the seaside is another attraction: in the sea there are large areas surrounded by nets or planks. This will be fish farms to produce large masses of fish without the trouble to catch them. Heavy trucks with the inscription "Aqua Culture" are loaded by the frozen goods. Later our waiter Dimitri tells us, that during a storm many breeded fishes escape into the open sea. And the "normal" fishermen are happy about that because they now have a greater profit.

Alivieri seems to be a busy and original town. Outside there are some industrial sites as gravel or concrete production. The bus stops in the center and a lot of people want to come in but they are declined by the driver. The bus continues to the bus-depot. There we are informed, that we have to change the bus. And as the right bus arrives all the excited people from before sit in it already. So we dont't get the best places in one of the front seats. Later the seats behind the driver get free and we can change and have a free outlook. Some days later our couple from Zwickau will do the same tour. And they tell, that the bus was so jammed that they didn't see anything outside.

The bus now rides inland to the north and there is a wonderful landscape. Wide olive groves and orange and lemmon plantations. On some hills there are the ruins of former fortifications. Once we see a very picturesque village spread upon a hill and the driver tells the name and I can verify on the map: the name is Avlonari. I do not succeed to make a photo from the bus, imagine we would have gone by bike, then some films would have been produced.

The route gets more and more attractive because the bus screws higher and higher and passes some romantic mountain villages. We have deep sights into the valleys and finally we see the Aegean sea on the other side of the island. At Kimi we go to the centrum and look for a pharmacy. We must buy a new plaster and this time we have learned to say "Hansaplast".

Kimi is located high above the sea and we walk some distance outside of the town to have a free view to the sea. Nearby in the haze there is the island Skiros. It would be a nice tour to go there by a ferry boat. But then we have to go to the harbour first which is 8 km away. But we think this would be too much time and propably we cannot get the last bus going back. So we stroll around for a while and finally do hard to find the bus station. At 2 pm we sit in the bus again and are happy that the afternoon and some relax hours are still available.

In the evening the hotel hall is full of people which seem to speak a Slavic language. At first we guess them to be Russians, but then we see on a sign that this is a congress of Polonian pharmacists. Perhaps they discuss about "Hansaplast"?

We must tell about another possibility for a bus tour. There is a bus going until the far south end of the island with the town Karistos. This tour shall be even more attractive. There are some mountain roads where the sea is visible on both sides. But this bus starts at 6 o'clock in the morning and we are too lazy for this.

Another group of 3 older persons - a couple and accompanying sister-in-law - are not so well on foot and so they have hired a car. They are very busy and ride around every day. Of course they see much more than we with our modest undertakings. "We want to get known to the country and the people" they say. Once they even proceeded to the circumference of the Olymp mountain. If one considers the crude style of driving by the locals it may be that the daily relaxing would be the better way.

Chapter 3