Walk on Easter Saturday, 19 April:
I carried out a recce in Sinarades on Palm Sunday evening, and have secured the services of Taverna Arhontariki for coffee at 10.30 and lunch later. The folk of Sinarades apparently have quite a tradition of pot-throwing at 11am, as well as a habit of firing off shotguns (hopefully skywards). Of course the ceremony won’t be as prolonged or as intensive as in Town, but on the other hand we won’t have to brave the terrible crowds.
Post-pots, we’ll get down to the usual Saturday morning business, with a truncated version of the West Coast Loop walk, heading out directly over the hill at the north end of Sinarades to visit the Church of Evagelistria on the summit, then taking the coastal way in the reverse direction (different set of views!).
Arhontariki is lodged in the ground floor – the original storeroom – of an old building just on the edge of the main square of the village (the square with the bandstand). Here’s my review from the easyJet Magazine of August 2011: ‘A good repertoire of traditional casserole dishes is supplemented by delicious pizzas, home-prepared from the base up. Unless your appetite is gargantuan, each is big enough for two.’
As well as pizzas, we’ll be offered casserole dishes – and on behalf of one regular walker (you know who you are!) I have requested a dish containing octopus.
That will set us up for Easter!
On another theme, do take a trip this coming week along the Ropa Valley to look at the amazing display of Asphodels, which proliferate so densely in some parts of the plain that you can hardly walk between them. They have long slender leaves and flower-sprays borne on a spike; white star-shaped flowers with a hint of pale pink around the edges. They reach a height of between four and five feet and a few even top me (though admittedly that’s not a benchmark for tallness).
Regarded from eye level, the flower heads at present seem to form a pinkish-cream mist, hovering just over the ground; from above (approached down the road from Temploni), they carpet the valley floor. The back road from Ermones to Giannades and the road alongside the Ropa River are the best routes for Asphodel Watch.
In Greek legend these flowers grew on the Elysian Fields, where each one was said to represent a human soul. We must ask: Is the Ropa Valley the true location of Elysium?