On September 25th 2013 we walked this hike of 7,74 km’s in 2 hours and 1 minute. This is including a detour to the cave of St. Cosmas. On the following spots I took the pictures you can see below.
Not far from the main entrance of Chilandariou a monopati leads you to Sografou/Karyes. Soon the monopati disappears and you will follow a dirt road uphill.Spot 1: looking back at Chilandariou. On your right hand Cape Arapis in the background.Spot 2/3: this partly ruined kelli lies on the other side of valley. Here, in a sharp turn of the dirt road, the monopati to Sografou starts again: beware, you’ll have to climb 1,5 meters to reach the path from the dirt road and you can easily miss this turn! (spot 4)A beautifull path looms, with these kind of large oak trees (near spot 4)near spot nr 4: the path to SografouThe monopati, with good signage and well paved, continues towards SografouAs it should be: well paved and horizontal, the ideal way to hike from monastery to monastery on Athos. Who needs a car?Here the sign pointing to the right will bring you to Sografou, the left sign is showing the path back to Chilandariou. The path continues until …….spot 5. Here you will see some stones hidden is the dence bushes (at your left hand). Are these stones the ruins of a old house? When I took a closer look at the stones I saw this extraordinary carved round object, with a bobble in the middle, made of natural stone. Could it have been a place to grind wheat? Or was it ment to crush olives and make oil? And then – suddenly – the monopati ends and a newly made dirt road appears (spot 6). To my dispair this road leads from Sofrafou to the cave of St. Cosmos, where once a beautiful path was located! It was a grim sight, the way the trees were cut down roughly and nature was destroyed, only for one reason: now pilgrims can reach the cave by car!Although the hike ended in a disappointment, the trail is worthwhile walking and I can recommend it to all of you!At least the old wooden ladder of St. Cosmas’cave was still there. Next time more about the cave of St. Cosmas.
You are right, Wim, the increase of dirt roads and cars is realy a disaster in this environment, in my opinion. But Athos needs ‘development’, as they say. Last month I saw activities for a big new road to I.M. Panteleimonos……