Walking on History
by Robert van der Most
Sunday afternoon, walking on history with the view of today, through the valley of Lefkes with unbeatable views and with the scent of fresh herbs and flowers along the way: thyme, sage, oregano and wood violets, so small you can hardly see them.
Walking on the ancient Byzantine Path from Lefkes to Prodromos, on stones worn down and gently rounded over many years, I get to wondering... if these stones could speak what sensational tales they could tell about all those who – celebrities, strangers, local people – have passed this way by foot or carried by donkey.
Organized through the Paros Community Walkers Group, this walk is about 7 kilometres in length, across the sides and tops of the hills, always with the beautiful view down to the channel between Paros and Naxos in our sight. At the halfway mark, we stop for a short break and, perched on the wall of an ancient bridge, open our rucksack for a bite to eat – a piece of local cheese and a refreshing glass (well, plastic cup!) of wonderful white Paros wine.
We lie back in the warm afternoon sun. Except for the sound of the wind between the chinks of the old stone walls and the steady splashing of the brook of clear water under the bridge, all is quiet around us, restful, beautiful, a breathtaking silence.
As we continue on down the trail, for the connoisseurs among us a herbarium opens in all its glory. After a period of three months with generous rainfall, the island has been transformed into a fresh green and colourful flower paradise.
Slowly the contours of Prodromos come into view, white and shiny below in the valley awaiting our arrival, the end of the walk, and the beginning of a culinary trip.
We stop at a small traditional Greek restaurant full of character, seated in the inner courtyard with big marble tables, served by the whole family, it seems – grandfather, grandmother, son, daughter-in-law and even the grandchildren!
What delicacies! Almost everything on the table comes from their own garden, free of pesticides and prepared in the classical way, fresher than fresh, like manna from heaven on your tongue.
Beans, fried mushrooms, horta, beetroots with skordalia, French fries in the Greek style, sausages and fresh bread, a table full. White, rose and a more fruity red wine are waiting to be savoured.
In the warm glow of the sun the day takes on a golden hue, then… home, satisfied, tired and ready for a nap, we drift off to sleep to dream it all over again.
Tip: Make sure you always take plenty of water with you when walking in the hills. In the summer months the best times to walk are early in the morning or late in the afternoon; in any case avoid the hours between eleven and four because of the heat. Good, firm shoes are recommended and don’t forget a hat if you want to avoid sunstroke!
Kalo taxidi, kali orexi.
Paros Community Walkers Group
A walkers group has been created in the Paros Community web pages, organizing walks through different areas of Paros and paying particular attention to areas which are experiencing environmental deterioration due to uncontrolled building, illegal dumping of garbage, indifference, etc. The group records what they notice on these walks and publicizes irregular activities.
Walks take place every Sunday – if the weather is fine – and are announced in advance, together with details of the length and level of difficulty of each route, in the Paros Community Events. Everyone is welcome to join.