Wandering amongst the hills and valleys of Pellana

Abalinx 10 April 2019 Peter Adamis

I remember as a youngster singing the song, “I love to go a wandering along a mountain track”. I still sing or whistle a couple of bars to the melody when I am hiking, orienteering or merely just walking along the numerous tracks on the hills and valleys that surround the cottage.  I try and share as much of my journey with everyone to demonstrate to one and all that no matter our status or personal circumstances, life is still worth living.  The best things in life are free and nature abounds with gifts galore. Green grass velvet floors, golden leaves and blossom, flowers with the colours of the rainbow, blue or many shades of grey light up the sky and the buzz of insects are like a natural orchestra. 

On this occassion just after midday, I took a long walk towards the North to a place called Kefalo-Vrisi (Head water stream). It was located near an ancient stone bridge whose origins are unknown.  I wandered over hills and meadows, taking photos of interest. One such case was the cottage home of a family long since gone. It was a one room home with a low roofed stable attached next door to shelter the animals, possibly sheep from the elements. The cottage was at least 150 to 200 years old and certainly post War of Independence.

In front of this tiny cottage/stable made of rocks was also a 35 metre round threshing floor pounded together with rocks and clay to create a hard surface. This threshing floor would have been used to separate the wheat from the storks and chaff.  Located up on a hillside it would have made use of the wind that blew in from the North and South.  Surrounded by olive trees, the small cottage/stable would also have had a family garden, a outhouse and a well.  

Located nearby there may have been an area where rubbish and the remains of trees pruned were burnt. The ashes then scattered into the garden to fertilise the soil along with the manure from the stable.  Leaving the cottage I sauntered up a track to find the track barred by a large metal gate and the fields surrounded by an electric fence. I correctly assumed that it belonged to Kostas Glekas who ran cattle in the hills surrounding the village of Pellana.  Returning back along the track past the old ruins of the cottage, I came across George Skortsis who happened to be in the area checking on the status of the olive treese. George is in his early twenties and his father and I are related.

Moving towards the main track I came across what appeared to be an ancient road but on reflection it could also be the remains of an old dried up river bed.  I am still not sure on that as the jury is still deliberating its verdict.  Further to the North, near a fast flowing stream I came scross Christoforos Karalemas sheep that were penned in on the side of the road.  The flock of sheep guarded by six mammoth crossbred wolverine sheep dogs that snarl, bark and appear menacing and somewhat intimidating lie the ancient ruins of a water channels. 

I never was able to bypass the dogs as I confess I was intimidated by being confronted with six large dogs all at once and made a detour along the road to reach my destination. Once on the banks of the fast flowing stream, I immediately felt at ease and at home with my environment. I have always loved a jungle environment and the more dense the undergrowth the better I like it. 

I have the love of seeing aspects of the jungle environment that others may only give a passing thought. The pebbles round and smooth, the rocks harsh and unforgiving, the evergreen foliage and thorny brambles interwoven to provide shade or a hide for an animal, bird or insects that are found amongst them.  Wild flowers with all of the colours known to man lying in haphazardly all over the place, tantalizing, seductive in some isolated cases hanging precariously from the edge of a rock face, over hanging branch or merely trailing its leaves in the swift flowing stream hanging by the mere threads of its roots to some solid earth nearby.

What is missing sadly from the stream are fish and other aquatic species that are often found in the jungles of Far North Queensland back home in Australia. I can only assume that the reason for no fish is because the stream is non perennial in nature and dries up completely in the hot summer months. However, even then, nature provides those with the adventurous spirit to use the dried creek and stream beds as natural highways into the jungle. I have in the past walked along the mighty Evrotas River bed for some five kilometres. A wonderful experience that I remember well. 

On this occasion all the streams and creeks are fast flowing and all feeding the Evrotas River. Past hills, narrows, re-enterants, shallows, waterfalls, rock pools and undergrowth, nature carries with it the refuse of mankind.   In doing so it removes the rubbish that is dumped annually by those who should know better. Eventually the river empties its belly so to speak into the wide blue Mediterranean sea. I took off my walking shoes, socks and carefully made my way through the shallows until I had reached a suitable spot to rest and capture the natural beauty of the forest. I remained in this spot for some tome to recharge my mobile and take additional videos and images.

After some time I glanced at my watch and saw that it was after 4.00 pm. The sky above had changed colours to shades of grey as if by stealth alone and raindrops began to fall on my Aussie hat and on the leaves and in the stream in front of me.  Time to go it was and leaving my environment was not easy. It took me an hour to return and by the time I reached the cottage gates I was drenched from head to toe. The Yovanna Chooks were returned to their pen and the two shivering canaries (Vasili and Kaliopi) brought into the warmth of the cottage.  A quick removal of clothing followed by a cup of coffee and a hot showed brought me some measure of comfort for my efforts for the day.

Well that’s all for now. Stay strong, be of good cheer and hope you enjoy the images and videos as much as I enjoyed being there.

Peter Adamis is  a Freelance journalist