Hike to Zogaria


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The peaceful wide trail at the start of the hike

The trail to Zogeria is one of the longest on the island and has been on my hiking to-do list for years. Zogeria is on the northern tip of Spetses and starts with the usual hike up to the ridge road, and then takes a right-hand turn towards the Church of Agias Ilias, the highest point on the island.   Latham and I stopped there for a small breakfast and enjoyed the views from the row of red chairs that look out to the sparkling early morning sea.  From the sterna of Agias Ilias you can see out to both sides of the island (reminding you how small the island really is), but our peace was broken by the bees were up early too, so we grabbed the map and figured out the start of the new northbound trail that we hadn’t taken before.

The first part was easy to follow but finding the turn off was harder.  When we found it, it looked very narrow and rarely used.  Pricker bushes grew over the path or threatened to catapult across your legs, armed with thorns that looked like they could pierce leather.  It was easy to believe that we had taken a wrong turn, but we moved carefully onward and it brought us to the right place, an obscure point on the main ring road which I had never noticed  before as a trail head.  Had we been on a motorbike, we would have turned right and taken the wide dirt trail directly down to the sea and followed the path a bumpy 1-2km to the beach at Zogeria.  Our pedestrian map told us to turn left and walk a short way along the concrete road, turning right on to a long narrow trail that paralleled the lower coast road.  It kept us high up forever, winding back and forth. Now three hours into the hike,  the sun was getting higher and hotter in the sky.  I was starting to wilt and the most challenging part of the walk was upon us: spiders!  Lots of them.   Strung out across the path from tree-to-tree.  You couldn’t see the threat of their invisible webs until they were upon you. If your attention waned for just a few moments, suddenly there would be the caress of an elastic web string pulling across your face, a pregnant pause, and the veil of the web would land in your hair with the promise of a very large spider in the middle of it!   We tried to tread waringly.

Latham grabbed a stick to serve as the Spidermaster 1000, and waving it ahead of us Harry Potter-style, he caught almost all of the invisible webs before they caught us.  A few slipped through the wand’s magic powers and we batted our heads and waved our arms, screaming the spiders out of our hair.   After forty five minutes of this, I was exhausted and wobbly,  but happily the path started to descend towards the sea.  All I could think of was how I was going to  throw myself in the ocean headfirst.

We cooled off in the sea for a blissful 20 minutes, then started the final, easy hike along the coast road to Zogeria Beach.  It had been a 4.5 hour hike with the swim stop.  I’d do it again, but next time I’ll be turning right!

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One of the terrible spider beasties – out to get us!

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Wielding the Spidermaster 1000 against the evil spider army

 

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These people arrived by boat on Zogeria beach.  No spider-battling stories for them!

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The reward of a greek salad at the end of the hike.

A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Rust


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Every summer for about the last ten years, I’ve tried to retrace steps to the other side of the island where we usually don’t visit very often. The reason is that getting back is difficult because there’s no bus to take you back and its usually too hot or too dark to walk both ways in August.

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This year we worked out the logistics with motorbikes and Latham and set off early evening to find an old abandoned house that I remember from years back, Hara.  It’s distinctive gate has its name written above in rusting letters, “Xara” (Hara) meaning “joy” in Greek.  I hadn’t seen it for about fifteen years and remembered little except that distinctive gate.  I did recall though that it had an intact roof and locked doors and windows, which wasn’t the case when we visited this time.

The roof had collapsed in many places, some rooms were filled with broken rafters and tiles, but a few still remained recognizable as their original function.  We wandered around, exploring the nooks and crannies of what was once someone’s home.  The house once belonged to the poet sisters Mary and Irene Botassi, and Irene’s husband Herman, after they retired from living in Switzerland.  As far as I can figure, the house has been abandoned for over fifty years.  It  was both fascinating and sad to see it slowly crumble.

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“Xara” in pebble mosiac, buried under years of pine cones.