A Warm Afternoon in Olympos

It was a warm afternoon, as Archontoula and Anezoula both said later. But I had to seize the opportunity and go. For once, I wasn't too busy or rushing back down to Agios Minas. It wasn't cloudy or windy. So I waited until after five, drank some water so I wouldn't have to carry anything, put on my walking boots and set off up Profitis Ilias.

Olympos is roughly halfway up the mountain. I walked to the edge of the village and followed the path, gradually zigzagging up the rocky slope, the day's heat bringing out the aroma of sage and thyme. Approaching the ridge, suddenly a swathe of green appeared, sweeping down to an amphitheatre of semi-circular field terraces.

Had it been a clearer day, I'd have seen Tilos to the north. But the horizon had been hidden in a heat haze since the morning. No matter, I'll be seeing Tilos soon enough. I thought about what an amazing experience I've had since arriving in Olympos a year and a half ago. Walking here on that first day, I'd been offered a ride for the last section of the journey by kind locals. Another branch of the same family have been making life impossible at Agios Minas all summer. It got so bad that I left for a break, went back to Tilos, found myself a little house to rent for the winter. So now these are my last weeks in Olympos for some time, and I want to make the most of them.

The signage was both clear and confusing. One sign at the start of the path had said it was twenty minutes to Profitis Ilias. I must be walking very slowly, I thought as the little church on the top never seemed to get closer. I realised later that twenty minutes must mean to the point where the Olympos-Spoa intersects with the path to Profitis Ilias. I was thirsty as I pulled myself up the mountain. It was something of a relief when the sign at the top said it was an hour and a half down. Except that by then, the sun was setting...


I arrived back in the village as it was getting dark. Archontoula said my face was red. I showered, then went back to Kafeneion Kriti for a beer, and a hearty dinner of meat and potatoes and bread. I spent the evening wandering from place to place seeing friends. I'm not finished with Olympos yet.