Profitis Ilias, Koutsoutis, Seven Springs, Akropolis Lindos
|Profitis Ilias Apollona||798m||473m||Rhodes, Greece|
|Akropolis Lindos||116m||91m||Rhodes, Greece|
Profitis Ilias, Apollona (798m)
There is a distinct mountain ridge that begins with Akramitis in the west, continues across the Attavyros massif, Profitis Ilias, Koutsoutis mountain (wind mill farm) and drops off towards Tsambika on the east coast.
Our goal for the day was Profitis Ilias – the 4th highest top on the island, after Attavyros, Voskotopi and Akramitis. From Lardos, we chose to drive along Gadouras -the largest lake on Rhodes, and of course a very significant freshwater source. But from what I understood – the lake only serves the villages on the northern side of the island. The road on the east side was a gravel road, so we took the road on the west side instead.
When we got to Apollona, we followed a curvy road up to the ridge road, where we turned west. Soon after, we passed the “Profitis Ilias” signpost, and it didn’t occur to me then, but that must be the place where the monastery is. It was the Elafos hotel that caught our attention. And from what we later read, Mussolini’s summer house (Villa de Vecchi) was located just above the Elafos hotel from 1928 (and the Elafina wing – an extension from 1932).
I had been under the impression that, any Profitis Ilias chapel must be on the top of a mountain. Hence, there are quite a number of Profitis Ilias tops in Greece. To distinguish one from the other, one adds the name of the nearest village or town. In this case, the village of Apollona. But in this case, you will only find an antenna installation on top of the mountain.
There is a path from the village Salakos on the north side, but it seemed to go to the top east of Profitis Ilias (or the monastery, I am not sure), and so we decided to take the shortest route to the top – a dirt service road starting at the ridge road.
Shortly after, we reached the top of the mountain and the high point was behind a fence. We walked around the fence and I was prepared to settle for a “close enough” visit, when I saw that the fence was damaged – allowing a person to pass without problems. If it had not been for the antenna, I would have thought this place was totally abandoned, and so we decided that we could walk the 20 meters over to the high point without feeling that we had done a major crime. We hope we are forgiven. Our intentions were only good. We have traveled a long way to reach the summits on Rhodes.
We returned the way we came and drove down to the Elafos hotel for a cold orange juice.
Trip statistics: 3,1km, 135 vertical meters, 50 mins.
Pictures from the hike:
From Elafos, we stayed on the ridge road, eastbound. passing the village Elousa. I was up for one more hike, and why not hike Koutsoutis now that we were there. We continued to the village Arhipoli (Archipoli) where Anne decided to wait for me at a local cafe. But first, she drove me to the start of the mountain service road east of the village, after a failed attempt of finding a short-cut from the village and up to the mountain road.
It was a really, really hot day and the temperature was just below 40 deg. C. when I left Anne. I had a 5,5km hike ahead of me before I reached the first set of windmills on the first hill on the mountain plateau. I had a feeling that the high point could be on the second hill further southeast. Time would show.
With only a small bottle of water (I was traveling light), I decided to save it for the high point. Like a reward. I walked as fast as I could, with two things on my mind; 1) locating the high point and 2) surviving the jog back down. My feet were really killing me now, with blisters on both feet. But pain can be tolerable – especially if there is a mountain top in one end and a cold drink in the other…
When I got to the first hill – and the first set of windmills – it was not easy to say which was the highest point – the first or the second hill. So, I followed the service road to the second hill where I discovered a point – clearly higher than the hill I was on. Getting there meant crossing a rocky section for 200 meters, and the rocks were not only sharp, they were needle-sharp!
When I finally got there, I kept staring at a rock 0,9km to the northeast. Was it a higher point? There was no way I was going over there, so I could only trust my 50-metre contour GPS map, which showed that I was on a 550m contour and that the other top was on a 500m contour. My GPS read 542m on the high point, and I added 15 meters (hence, 557m) which was the average deviation between my GPS readings and the map heights, from all the hikes I did. It’s most likely not the accurate height, but should be close.
I drank my bottle of water, crossed the off-trail section and tried to jog when I got back on the service road. That was too painful, so I walked over to the north hill, while telling my brain that pain is only a thing in the mind. It helped, and I was able to jog all the way down. I had texted Anne on top of the first hill, and she waited for me at the trailhead with a cold can of Coke. Bless her!
Trip statistics: 12,8km, 470 vertical meters, 2h:07m.
Pictures from the hike:
After the Koutsoutis hike, we drove to Epta Piges to check out the “Seven Springs“. We were a bit tired after a long day of “sightseeing”, and didn’t have the patience to properly explore the place.
We were not sure where the springs were. All we saw was a creek with running water and a signpost pointing to a 150m long tunnel, leading to a lake.
The tunnel (with running water) was only wide enough for one person, and as we didn’t know what the general direction was, we didn’t want to risk running into people going the other way, in the pitch dark tunnel. So, we skipped it.
On our way out of the area, Anne decided to take a look at lake (one doesn’t have to go through the tunnel). But from what she saw, there was no reason to park the car again. I guess it’s all about context. From a Rhodes’ point of view, this was probably a very scenic place. But for tired and hungry Norwegians, quite used to epic scenery throughout the country, this place just didn’t seem epic enough. Having googled the place afterwards, I can see that we had clearly missed some of the scenic parts. But OK. You win some, you lose some…
Lindos Akropolis (116m)
We returned to the hotel via Lindos (and not the usual route via Lardos), as we would go there for dinner later in the evening. Now we got a good view of the Akropolis above Lindos, and it was an impressive sight. Getting to the top was a must. But, that would be later on…
We returned to Lindos in the evening, parked at the free parking west of the town and followed the crowds into the “white town“. We decided to visit the Akropolis first, and just followed the “main road” which led us to the stairs leading up to the fortress.
There is a lot of interesting history in this archeological site and you’re better off looking it up on the internet, rather than be informed here. We only had 30 minute before they were closing the place for the night and already 15 minutes later, staff with whistles told us that we were in a hurry. On top, I decided to take a step on top of the wall for better pictures. It was probably a very bad thing to do, and whistlers were moving in, fast. I shrugged my shoulders – scuuuusi– and decided it was time to head down anyway.
Afterwards, we headed down to one of the many rooftop restaurants. It was quite memorable to see the sun set, feel the gentle ocean breeze and enjoy a nice meal in this very unique town.
Lonely Planet states that this rock (I assume they mean the fortress) is 116m high. This matches my own GPS reading (100m + the usual 15m discrepancy I saw everywhere).
Trip statistics: 2,7km, 125 vertical meters.
Pictures from the visit: