This was turning out to be a wonderful walking holiday for me as it had included Old Valsamata (which you can read about here), Fiskardo (which you can read about here), Sami (which you can read about here), Mount Ainos (which you can read about here), and now here we were about to walk around Old Skala. We had driven down from Lassi and parked part way up the main street through Skala which led down to Platanos Square and the beach. As had been the case at every location during this holiday, finding a parking space was not difficult.
We headed up the street away from Platanos Square and the beach to begin our walk to Old Skala, and as with all of our walks this week we were walking under the hot sun. We kept walking straight ahead out of town, following the road steadily uphill as it moved into the country and a wide expanse of hills ahead of us.
We passed two water storage tanks on our left just as a man arrived on a horse, seemingly taking two other horses for a walk. We stayed left at a junction and descended into a dip, following the signs for Old Skala. And then we began the real climb up the mountain roads, which came as a bit of s surprise to us after reading the description in the guidebook, and we kept on going up for about 45 minutes, taking water stops in the shade when we could.
It was worth it when we got to the ruins of Old Skala, although I preferred Old Valsamata, not least because here there were new buildings amongst the ruins which detracted from the overall feel of the place. Having said that, the ruin of an olive press which still contained the rusting remains of a diesel engine made in Bolton by R Fielding was something very special.
We walked along this track past the ruins until a track to the left took us downhill to the bell-tower, cemetary and rebuilt church of Archangelos. However, this again brought disappointment as the church was no longer accessible and someone had built a concrete wall right up to the side of the bell-tower, without any attempt to blend the new masonry with the old.
The spring and wash-house further down the hillside were as they should have been, and so more pleasing.
We followed the track round to the left, which now took us below the village, and I was fascinated by the number of burnt out trees we saw along the route. I have no idea what had caused this.
I took a slight detour off the main track to explore the lower spring and wash-house, where the roof was clearly dangerous, having been damaged by a boulder during the earthquake. We continued along the main track, past the ruins of the church of the Virgin Mary on our left, and soon we rejoined the road we had taken to get up here, which we followed to take us back into Skala. The walk had been 5 miles in total.
We stopped for omlettes before playing a game of giant chess (which I won),
and then walked over to the remains of the Roman villa and its mosaics, which is just the sort of thing I enjoy.
Then it was down to the beach for a swim and some sunbathing to finish off an excellent day out.
Except that our day was not quite over because we decided to drive over to take a look at Poros and on our way we saw a sign for a memorial plaque to HMS Perseus, a submarine which was sunk by an Italian mine on 6 December 1941 with only one man out of the 61 onboard surviving. The memorial is dedicated to the patriotic islanders who put courage before fear to shelter the one survivor, John H Capes, and it was lovely and clearly still tended by the locals and visited by relatives. It brought the day to a poignant end.
You can see more of my photographs from the Old Skala walk here.
You can see more of my photographs from Skala here.
You can see more of my photographs from the HMS Perseus memorial here.