Chris has walked a lot of the trails on the island, and this fall he even took us on a few long hikes. The trails were marked with red dots and in some cases, the signs like you see above. Awhile ago, I saw on another blog that Angelos, the man who helped to create and maintain the trails for the past 15 years, was finally going to “resign” from his volunteer position. I commented and thanked him, telling him how much we, as a family, have enjoyed seeing Ikaria on foot because of the work he has done. He later contacted me and told me about an organized hike at the end of March going from our village of Karavostamo, up the old path to Arethrusa, the village in above. He welcomed the children, and we agreed to go. We were at Stella’s, and when I mentioned it, her kids said that they seen the hike advertised on an Ikarian website! Eight months into our trip I learned that there was another way to disseminate information without having to drive around in a truck with a loudspeaker!
The following Sunday morning was beautiful–blue skies, warm temperatures, and not a cloud to be found. We met in the platia with about 35 other people, including Stella, Marina and her girls for a three-hour hike on the old trails–across the river, up the mountain, through flowering fields, and a stop at one of the many small churches nestled in the hills. Apart from it being a wonderful day for a hike, we met new friends–American friends…English speaking friends! Robin and her husband David have lived here for six years, and Thomas and Barbara only for a month. It was great to have new conversations, and I think the kids enjoyed that more than I did.
There was another walk scheduled for two weeks later, but the windy weather postponed it until this past Sunday. This hike was scheduled to take four hours, instead of three, and go from Raches to Kambo. We met early on Sunday morning, leaving our car in Kambos and catching a ride to Raches with someone else. Word had circulated that Zach and Rea tend to get car sick, so they offered us the back of a pickup. The kids were thrilled about the prospect…riding in a pickup, wind blowing in their hair and all without seatbelts! Seemed like a dream come true, until they found out that looking backwards increases the speed at which car-sickness sets in. One minute Zach was laughing and smiling, and literally,the next, he was loosing his pancakes in the airplane bag we had brought along.
About 20 people showed up for the second hike, including Robin, David, Thomas, and Barbara. Once again, we were witness to wonderful views, the small reservoir, lots of sheep, a few cows, bee hives galore, more wild flowers, an abandon truck cemetery, stone houses built 500 years ago, and a monastery–Monastery Theoktisi–which we have visited before. Because of the distance of the hike (9 kilometers/5.5 miles) and three lengthy stops, the hike took six hours. Thank goodness for Barbara who was great at playing games with the kids to keep their minds off their tired legs and their mouths from uttering complaints!
We are looking forward to Chris’s return on Sunday and introducing him to our new friends. There are still new places we have to explore and our time is running out. We bought our tickets home yesterday. Less than three months left of island living.