Last night the wind was vicious! It whipped down from the mountains to harbour with such a force that I had to get up in the middle of the night to rescue things from the balcony. The drying rack full of my clothes was clattering around on the terrace and I fully expected it to be down on the quayside had I not brought it in. The wind seems to have calmed a bit this morning (despite the sailing ban) so I aim to walk to Volissos again.
When I’d first arrived in Volissos I’d noticed a large sign in the lower square outlining the Malagkiotis walking trail. The trail starts in Volissos village and takes you along the old road that connects Volissos with the nine watermills of the Malgkiotis Valley. It was described on the board as a moderate hiking trail with lots of changes in landscape. The walk takes you past planes, oleanders, oak trees and olive groves – but what caught my eye was the in October (which it is) you can see the Spiranthes Spiralis orchid. I like the idea of this very much – not so much the walking but just seeing the orchid. I wouldn’t have to walk the whole two and a half hour trail – I’d just go far enough until I’d seen an orchid and then I’d turn around and come back. Or that was the idea. So off I set to Volissos with a vague notion that this is what I will do this morning.
Once in the lower square, I look at the sign to see which direction I need to take out of the village. The sign doesn’t really give any clues but I’d found further information on the Chios.gr website:
Amongst my phobia’s and conditions there is one that is playing on my mind. Snakes. Before I set off from the square I Google what to do if I see a snake. Google automatically brings up a post about Chios snakes and tells me that there is only one potentially harmful snake and that’s the Ottoman Viper. It says that they only attack if feeling threatened and this is usually when walkers haven’t noticed them. If bitten the advice is to cover the wound and seek medical attention. Now here lies the problem. I’m on my own and about to attempt a walking trail in the middle of nowhere. A whole host of scenarios run through my head.
I decide to see how it goes and there is nothing lost if I decide to turn around and come back. After walking down out of the village I see the first sign which I follow down a steep dirt track. The track is wide so I can see either side of me is clear. This brings me down to an olive grove which runs either side. All good so far as there are plenty of open spaces. Eventually I make it to the first landmark which is the Church of Metamorfosi Sotiros. After this things get a bit more difficult. As the trees begin to close in, the gap between myself and the edge of the path lessens and I begin to get a bit nervous. Insects are biting me through my clothes., it’s hot and I’m getting agitated. I decide to call it quits there and then. Once I had snakes in my mind that was it – as far as I was concerned there would be one around every corner waiting to get me. (ridiculous I know).
Whilst in Volissos I may as well do some more street wandering and then of course – a breakfast of bougatsa at the patisserie bakery on the hill.
As I leave Volissos village I wonder how to spend the afternoon. If the buses permit I may visit Agia Markella a couple of kilometres around the coast. At the bottom of the hill at the large crossroads I can see someone sitting in the bus shelter. From a distance the outline of the figure looks like an apparition of the Mother Mary. No I haven’t been on the booze. This must be a sign surely. As I get closer and the sun is no longer glaring into my eyes I see it is an elderly man with a white hat. I great him with a “Yiassas” and he responds with the same. I ask him if there is a bus due to Agia Markella. He says he doesn’t know but will make a phone call. I really didn’t want to put him to any trouble but it seems he is on first name terms with whoever is in the know! He tells me that there is a bus due at 4 O’clock but doesn’t know if it will go all the way to Agia Markella. Oh well. It was just a thought. We chat for a while and I tell him that I can detect an American accent. His name is Constantinos and he spent most of his life in the United States where he still lives. However, he comes back to his island every year. We spend about 15 minutes talking about this and that and again it is nice to connect with someone, albeit for a short period of time. This seems very easy to do on Chios.
Anyway, time to head back to Limnia. Do you know I’ve no idea where the five days here went. Time is moving fast now and tomorrow I head back to Chora – but just for one night. I’ve made a last minute decision to spend time on Lesvos so I’ll be back in Chios Town just for one night. It is a wrench leaving this wonderful island but I’ve decided to rip the plaster off and just go. I do have a plan to come back again soon.
The one thing that I’ve loved about this trip is having absolutely nothing planned too far in advance – not even a return flight home. The feeling is so liberating. However, I also have to bear in mind other trips I have roughly sketched out for the near future. Since the disastrous Brexit I have to keep a careful count of my 90 in 180 days. Not that I’m anywhere close to that but it’s always at the back of my mind.
I spend some time on Gonia Beach just watching the waves crash onto the shore. There’s time for another quick art installation! After watching the sunset from Limnia harbour I eat at Hook.