The Road To Leka, Samos Island, Greece
Leka is a small village above Paleo Karvolossi. There is an excellent walk that some of my friends do most years and I decided to join them for this one. Although it would be quicker to start from the house, it would cut out many of the reasons that this walk is so special, so we took the longer circular route which starts at the beach and takes about 3 -4 hours (including a pit stop for coffee) thus ending back at the house for a well deserved breakfast.
As soon as we left the beach and headed upward the road deteriorated into a potholed and rutted track. Climbing steadily on one side of the gully we passed the castle and looked back at the spectacular views of Potami.
The path took us by shaded forests, mountain streams, remote cottages, a bare-faced mountain, regimented bee hives and small rotund churches. Hawks wheeled over-head, walnut and fig trees perfumed the air and flowers lined the wayside. It was magical and reminded me that there is so much more to this island than azure water and glistening stone and sand white beaches.
The old Platea at Leka still has, unlike so many these days, trees planted throughout its space. Boughs intertwine covering the whole area with leafy shade, rustling in the breeze whilst elders play checkers and chess seated at tables that look out onto an endless view.
After a coffee we wandered around the village. Tumbled-down ruins complete with picturesque paint peeled shutters and doors abutted imposing restored yellow stoned two-storey mansions. Admiring one particular house whilst waiting for one of our number to procure fresh eggs we were invited in by the proud owner to look around – how could we say no? the restoration was stunning (inside and outside).
Leaving Leka we headed homeward towards Paleo. The old donkey road winds down, past the old communal wash-house – which contains some kind of ironwork man used for, I presume, an ancient ceremony. Here an old peach tree overhanging a stone wall dangles dusky yellow rose peaches in the faces of passers, offering thirst quenching juice for dusty dry throats.
We arrive home, hot, tired and with aching muscles. Bacon and fresh eggs were soon sizzling in the pan, bread and fresh tomatoes as a side, and fresh coffee to wash it down. I collapse on the sofa with a sigh of satisfaction and bid goodbye to the others who have still another 3 kilometers of walking to do to get home. Life is good!