Day 4 - Coastal walk to Paramonas

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June 14th 2010
Published: June 14th 2010
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And after a night of next to no sleep.............why? Well behind the appartments at Santa Barbara is a stream and it is full of frogs. Any from sun down to sun up they do more than croak; they screem, it sounded more like a maternity unit than the frog corus. Usual breakfast at 8:30 whilst watching local fishermen pull imn their nets. Other workers are putting out the sunbeds and a digger is movign sand to open up a river outlet further along the beach. All is quiet but the sun is up as I leave at 9am. Its a walk along the beach to Ag Georgios (South); simple I hear you say. Well lets just say the beach is a lovely soft sand and it stays that way even at the waters edge. Every step I sank about 2 inches. This made it hard going but soon I was walking over the rocks that separate Santa Barbara beach from that at Ag Georgios (South). More lovely soft sand. To ease on the feet and I suppose to aviod crowds at busier times you leave the beach and follow the coastal road through the village. I stopped for some water. This south western coast really is the place to come if you like long sandy beaches, plenty of space for everyone, nice clean sand, good for swimming. It really is almost continuous sand for mile after mile. At end of village back onto the beach just past the small harbour. The sand at waters edge is firmer here and we move onto what is called Issos beach. Still backed by soft pale yellow sand. It was on this coast they filmed James Bond scenes in 'For your Eyes Only'. There were two beach volleyball pitches and a club was having a training session as I walked past; seemed odd watching people run to net jump and aim to make a smash shot but all without the ball..........must have been warm up exercises. Now we approach the tricky part as the coast changes to sand dunes which are higher than I had anticipated. This area which is covered in Juniper Trees is of course not suitable for waymarking so you just have to make a guess of it, trying to be left of mount AG Mattheos in the distance in front of you and not straying too near to the Lake Korrission on your right. The dunes themselves were firmish but walking up them from the beach was like 2 steps forward and 1 back as you slid back down the hill each step you took. Once on top of the dunes I headed in what I thought was the right direction but soon realised I was seeing too much lake so I turned left. It was hard, hot walk over the dunes, the landscape all the same in every direction. I was moving forwards though, even if in a zig zag sort of way, and heading for a forest of cedars and then hoping to find the path that leads through them. Eventually I did dind a path and of I set through the forest, cooler here. I thought all was well and then suddenly I am on the shore of the lake (no mention of this in my notes). Follow along watching fish jumping until I see a path going away from the shore follow this and I'm soon at the bridge where I stop for a break after that hard walk over the dunes.
Lake Korrission is actually a lagoon, long an dnarrow and covering some 1,500 acres. It is a Natura 200 site. There is a systematic method of fish farmiong here going back hundreds of years. The lagoon is linked to the sea by a venetian made channel and the fish caught are mullet, sea bass and sea bream. The whole area of dunes, lake, juniper trees and cedar forest is a composite and well-preserved ecosystem of high aesthetic, biological and economic value. Important too for th eprotection of wildlife and the preservation of spontaneous vegetation of the area. The area is the nesting ground for over a 100 species of bird such as oyster catchers, great white egrets, curlews and the smaller bird species of warbler, wheatear, flycatcher, bunting and finch. Birdsong is all around you but you see very little as they are in the reeds and bushes at the waters edge or on the dunes. I was realy expecting more visual but I was at the wrong time as many o fth ebirds here are migratory visitors. I was thinking I'd see no larger bird species when I stumbled across a 1991 pocket diary at the trackside; full of pictures of a different sort of naked bird!! I saw no signs of tortoises here but did see some snake trils in the sand. The bridge over the channel was very old and unstable in the middle and it was fun watching two people walk their push bikes over it. I sat for while drinking water and watching some chaffinches playing. Time to cross the bridge and move on. I follow the rough track rather than walk over the dunes on the beach, not sure it was the best decision. Anyway it was a nice walk and onthis side there were several cars as people drive, park and use the deserted beach. I spotted a group of Germans in difficulty as they had driven their car too far into the dunes and sunk; they were frantically trying to dig it out of the soft sand. Finally I saw some larger birds, a grey heron, a purple heron and a great white egret. Two of them on the wing but unfortunately all just too far away to capture a photo. Finally the lake is passed; it really is a very long lake and much bigger than I had thought. I follow now a road and soon reach Alonaki Bay where I stop at teh taverna for lunch. Lovely grounds with chickens roaming about. and great food. I had 2 starters, fried courgettes and cheese pies. The two plates were overflowing, the pies were size of mini sausage rolls and delicious, the fried courgettes were very crispy and soft inside. So many I put half in a plastic bag in my rucksac for later on.
Moving on the road and suddenly it is fenced off. I can see why; half the road has fallen into the sea below and cars can no longer use it. I walk around the fence and continue. You can go off route here to Gariki Castle but I decided not to; this a 13th Century Byzantine Castle octagonal in shape. Onto tracks now and the signs are confusing as a local villa has also used yellow paint; think I did about 1/2 mile in wrong way here as a result. Finally back on the correct path and now feel pain in my right leg, a shooting pain near the ankle. Foot starts to swell. Was I bitten, was it a sprain from the dunes. I do not know but walk on slowly and soon reach the gun emplacement where I'm to turn more into the olive groves. Its a big gun emplacement in a strange place. Was it WW2 or Greek Civil War, I ask a local at my next stop and he says they think it is much older (maybe 200 years old) from the time of defending against pirates. I'm not convinced myself. Draw your own conclusion from my photo. Coninuing on I soon enter Paramonas which is on the lower seaward slopes of Mt Ag Mattheos. I find my apartment (which is a room under a house about 500 m uphill from the beach) and change for a swim. I hobble down to the beach as my leg is rather sore, hoping a swim will ease it for the rest of my walk. Beach busy but rather pebbley. Nice swim while Shrek relaxed on a pedalo! I then visit the beach taverna for a beer; it is here I am due for breakfast; decide to ask for packed one as I dont wish to walk 500m down a steep hill have breakfast and walk back up the hill to start the next days walk. I have a nice if different meze for starter followed by a Sofrito with potatoes. Soforito is made with either veal or silverside steak, salt pepper, flour, olive oil, garlic, parsley, white wine, vinegar and sometimes whiskey. When in the pot water is added and it is simmered until the sauce has thickened. You can have with potatoes or rice. I retire to my apartment with a supply of water and packed breakfast (half a loaf with tomato and feta plus an apple and orange) to rest my leg and pack for tomorrow..........the first climbs. There are many cats at my apartments and rather noisey they are to at times. Hope they dont sound off during the night and my leg is ok for tomorrow.

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14th June 2010

Another great blog entry!
Your blogs are full of lovely things, like delicious meals, info about the natural landscape, pictures of birds and (injured) snakes. Obviously I was v interested in the pic of the church at Ag Georgious - did you hear those bells going? Looking forward to the next entry . . .
14th June 2010

Church Bells
Annabel, I have lots of bell tower photos especially from Corfu Town at end of trip. Will download more. Only heard bells ringing the once and sorry but cannot remember what sort of tone they were. Most of the bells have rope hanging down the tower side for the ringer to pull.
14th June 2010

When I say "brilliant" I'm talking about the writing and the photos. Really good stuff Dave! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. David
19th May 2011

love the blog, I'm off there on Monday. Small error on - it's a goldfinch.

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