Text: Anna Kalatzi
Photos: Gerard Kramer, Valentini Desculidou, Olga Karagianni
Translation to English: Violandi Vratsanou
The Arni Circular Route is a green mountain footpath in the most forested and biodiversity-rich area of Andros, at the central mountain chain of Kouvara. The rich tree vegetation, the springs, the running waters of the tributaries of Arnipotamos, the arched bridge of Epaminondas, the chapels and churches of Arni, are just some of the highlights that attracted the 23 hikers of our recent maintenance hiking on Sunday 22-05-2022.
After the usual introductions were made in order to introduce the group, we started at 11.00 a.m. from the church of Panagia at the headquarters of the Arni Association, where the old primary school had been previously located.
The Mazani spring, churches and rich vegetation
We descended towards the spring of Mazani following path No. 11 until we met the circular route of Arni, on which we walked anticlockwise passing by the churches of Agia Varvara, Agios Kirikas and Agios Georgios. At Agios Georgios we made our first small stop to take a breath from the ascent and admire from above the lush green area of Arni. The footpath then turned downhill, passing through wooded areas with rich vegetation, being so unique that it’s hard to believe you’re on a Cycladic island.
The area even today reveals its purely agricultural and farming identity, as it was once the most fertile and production-rich area of Andros. It is a blessed place with abundant running water and coolness, which make this hiking route a refreshing retreat for excursions even during the hot summer days.
The arched bridge “Epaminondas”
Descending from Panochori, we arrived at the arched bridge “of Epaminondas”, where we had a break for a tsipouro and some cheese and crackers, kind offers by the hosts of the route in order to thank the hikers for their kind contribution to the maintenance of the footpath. The cameras went “on fire” to capture landscape and people, people and landscape, satisfied faces from all they saw, smelled and felt along the way.
Our satisfaction is great, when we see the people responding to our call and sharing our labour, worries and joys.
We thank you deeply and invite you to stay tuned with us until our next hiking to the wonderful places of Andros, as constructed and shared by those who knew how to respect it.