Feb 17- 18 1991 Clean Monday. Walk with Pippa to Perithia
Pippa and I did a walk up to the abandoned village of Perithia. A grey morning with cloud sitting on the tops of the hills threatening rain. We might have been in Scotland. We trudged up the track among the boulder strewn hillsides with almond blossom just beginning.
When we reached the spectacular old village of Perithia with the pink and white almond trees just coming into bloom – the dark trunks , the smoke grey aureole of small branches on which the blossoms had begun to assert themselves. The trees right through the village – the Italianate roofs angled this way and that, the churches with their belfries in this cloud of smoke grey twigs with pink and white blossom.
The village of Perithia is substantial with at least 6 or 7 Churches. The houses are falling into ruin, but could yet be restored. I wished I had a remote control gadget to flick it all back into its old life with its well tilled terraces. Sheep and goats are still up here. There is one taverna operating in Summer for the tourist trade. Some houses are being bought up by foreigners as summer places. Better it stays as it is. It is a magic place as if the inhabitants had been led off long ago by a Pied Piper. It has a Rumplestiltskin spell on it, tucked high among the enfolding hills , with view to the sea and beyond the sea to High Albania. It should be kept as a museum.
We stumbled about the boulder strewn hillside looking to the path to old Sinies – the other abandoned village on the other side of the hill – not far as the crow flies but quite an arduous slog by foot. The path is difficult to trace as it is no longer used. We will find it one day.
Deserted kitchen, Perithia
Feb 25th 1991 with Pippa to Perithia.
I wanted to get back to Perithia for the almond blossom. This time we attacked it from Pantokrator, walking ‘Momos’ road, the useless agricultural roads they bulldozed at EEC expense to serve no agricultural purpose at all. The original terraced hills are nude of agriculture now. Only sheep and goats need apply. There aren’t even olive trees up here. From the saddle of the mountain between the abandoned village of Sinies on the south side and Perithia on the north, we looked for the track to take us down. You can see the houses of Perithia below you like a flock of sheep – and so much in harmony with its setting. The path seemed to lead too far over to the right, but in fact it was the right path so we plunged straight down a slope of dead bracken where the first anemone- blandas were already in flower – a cartwheel of this blue, such a sweetly pretty flower , yet ‘blanda’ sounds so insipid a name for them.
We made for a dell where a tree stood, and where several paths seemed to converge and cross. This led us to the top of the gully we had been trying for from below last week. The path was much more definite from this way. These paths are often more visible from a distance than when you are on them. They get lost among the bone white boulders and grasses. So we descended toward Perithia by a stony slope on the other flank hiding part of the village and concentrating the eyes on a charming path of green meadow terracing in which stood magnificent almond trees – pink and white in bloom .
We came to the pink almond tree which marks the start of the way up from Perithia. It was just the moment to see the place with the houses lapped by the froth of almond blossom. The dwellings are cradled in the lie of the land , a little chapel stands on a knoll making a landmark. Below it is the head house with its ornate arch at the entry. The family crest on the keystone and gun slits in the wall.
We skirted the west end of the village, looking for the path away to the hills on the other side. It looked a formidable climb but it was easier than we anticipated, and led through an oak coppice. Flowers are coming out now, the dwarf irises everywhere but nearly finished. Celandine, purple anemones, Star of Bethlehem’s. Much later will be the orchids. We came on one patch cradled among rocks with celandines, anemones, and Star of Bethlehem’s posed at the base of an Iris.
We had our picnic facing Perithia from the opposite hill to where we had descended . The houses look so content embedded in the blossoming trees, like hens on the nest. It was quite a haul to get ourselves back over the hills onto the track that would take us back to the car. 4 hours walking.
Deserted Bakery, with the Loom in the corner.Return To The Life and Works of Theresa Nicholas