Text: Anna Kalatzi
Photographs: Maria Lambriadou
Translation to English: Violanti Vratsanou

Under the threat of rainfall, with constant updates from “meteo”, “poseidon” and whatever else you can imagine … we started risking the 2nd hike of 2023. Circular Route of Apropvatou or “Apr1” with starting and ending point the “Balcony of Aegean” at Ano Aprovatou, the village where the sunset and the endless view of the sea is breathtaking.

At 10.30 a.m., after the traditional introduction of the participants – all of them young people, teachers in Andros, hikers from Andros and Athens, fans of Andros Routes and the footpaths of our network and of course the Route Angels volunteers, all together full of energy and enthousiasm – we started to go downhill from Ano Aprovatou to the spring and the church of Agios Dimitrios and from there we crossed the settlement downhill to Kato Aprovatou and to Kouchi beach, enjoying constantly the impressive view to the western coastline and the sea that stretched in front of us reflecting the colours of the cloudy sky and the sunbeams of a well hidden winter sun. And, yet, this moist and winter landscape hid an incredible serenity and tranquility in the balance of mountain and sea that the route combined. The green of the grassy terraces with the grey-blue of the sky and the sea, the herds of well-fed sheep with their young ones all around with the dry-stone rural buildings, composed a special rural landscape and at the same time an admirable residential area . Arriving at the beach of Kouchi, and having crossed 2/3 of the circular route following the path clockwise , the more adventurous of the group enjoyed a dip in the crystal clear waters while the rest enjoyed a relaxing break on the pebbled beach.

Then we ascended from the other side of the beach, following the other arm of the circular route, thus drawing a circle within the rural valley of Aprovatos with the scattered farmhouses and the impressive terraces. As well as being pleasant and rewarding for the soul and mind, our hike was also beneficial for the footpath. Treads from 19 people , swept the terrain vegetation of wild celery, sour grasses and nettles while small and large pruners worked at the pace of walking in the lateral vegetation and we cleared many blackberries, reeds and branches that were obstructing the passage. Not to mention…..two large garbage bags were filled with plastic that had “magically” been thrown onto the footpath.

The weather proved to be an accomplice in our work, since it was fighting against the rain, which started to fall in the last meters of the route when we reached the taverna, where we had started and where most of us enjoyed the gastronomic dishes. But the others, who for some reason had to return to their duties … were also awarded, since a rainbow, the symbol of the truce between Nature and Man, appeared on the route in many colours.

Once again , we from ANDROS ROUTES , feel the need to thank all these wonderful people who come close to us by participating in the network’s maintenance hikings, thus supporting our work. Stay tuned for our next hike , which will have …. a carnival touch…!!!!!

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