Earlier, I reviewed our accommodations on Thassos Island – Athos Bungalows – and wrote that I had really enjoyed the location – close enough to the beach, but up on the mountain slope where I could walk some trails. We had a marvelous view of Mount Ypsarion (Ipsario), the highest peak on Thassos Island at 1,205 metres (3,953 feet).
While I did not hike up the mountain to the peak (I hope to be able to do that on a future visit), I did enjoy walking the dirt road or trail that was close by to our cottage. On about our 4th day, with the skies a bit overcast and cloudy in the afternoon, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take Beans for a decent walk and see where we might end up, walking further. Beans, being a Boston Terrier, does not do well in direct sunlight on hot days and so walks of any distance are done in the evening or on cooler/cloud days. We set out, with no plan – just to walk and go as far as we could, with the remaining daylight hours we had in the day.
I had heard quads and motorbikes on the trail, and it would be possible to take a car at least part of the way as this is a better “road” than some of the others we drove the Mazda 3 on, and for the most part, was easy level walking as well. Not long after we started out, we did say hello to a couple of other hikers going the other direction. Along the trail, we saw quite a few ripe berries (but I’m not sure what they are) that made for a nice photo:
Two other sights in Greece that are ubiquitous are olive groves and apiaries (honey bee hives). Sure enough, we passed those as well:
Speaking of which, Thassos apparently has its own unique olive trees – Throumba olives, and its believed that they have health benefits that other olives don’t have. We would later sample some olive oil produced on Thassos, and I enjoyed it and purchased a 5 litre can for 25 Euros. I also enjoy honey (being a former beekeeper myself) and it’s always on my list to sample local honeys as well. In the shop that we purchased the olive oil, all they had was local Pine honey but it was very good and so of course, a bottle of that was brought home as well.
Continuing with our walk, we did come across a fenced in area where someone was keeping chickens. Joining the flock of chickens were a couple of geese that didn’t seem to happy to see us. Or, perhaps they were very happy and wanted to talk. Of course, I talked back to them (everybody knows I’ll talk to just about everyone and everything), and the one continued to honk away at me.
I don’t know if these geese are permanent residents here, and perhaps being kept for someone’s dinner plans, or if they are wild. Greece does have some numbers of wild Graylag Geese, which these appear they might be but I can’t say for sure.
A bit further on our walk, we came to a football (soccer for North American readers) stadium – the field definitely needs some work, but maybe it’s normally in better shape in a non-COVID-19 year:
It was about here that we decided to change direction. At this point, we were going to continue walking along the trail that went alongside the stadium, but we appeared to have been “warned” that it might not be a good idea. A lady in a pickup truck indicated that she had been feeding her own dogs further on, and they were much larger dogs than Beans. In Greece, dogs are often kept near sheep or other farm animals in order to protect them from other wildlife – and these dogs can be very protective! So we decided that we change our route slightly.
We didn’t know where we were exactly, but we didn’t realize we were so close to the village of Potamia. As we continued along the trail, I spotted a light in the distance, which turned out to be shining from the exterior of a house. We were actually pretty surprised to realize we had reached the village – but its not hard to become a bit disoriented with directions and where you are in proximity to other places, especially in Greece.
Village of Potamia
The village of Potamia should not be confused with Skala Potamia; they are two different places but are “connected” in a way. Many of the villages on Thassos Island have a “lower” village with the same name but “Skala” in front. Skala means “ladder” in Greek, and in older times, Skala Potamia might have been the “port” area for the village on the mountain slope, named Potamia.
Often, communities at sea level would be in danger of pirates so inhabitants would have their community at higher elevations above sea-level, where they could also have a view of the sea and prepare for invaders that would arrive from that direction.
Indeed, we had a view of the sea from the village of Potamia:
The Greek word for “river” is ποτάμι (potami) and the village was named for a river that flows through it. We never saw the river, however.
One of the nicest views we had was of the village church, Ιερός Ναός ΕισοδίωνΤης Θεοτόκου or in English, Holy Church of the Assumption of the Virgin:
We met a few people in the village and talked with them – all the villagers we came across seemed very friendly. One told us that she had moved from Athens to Potamia about five years ago, and enjoyed the way of life that she now had. However, she indicated that in winter, everything is “dead” with very little open and not many jobs available.
We didn’t stay too long in the village as we did not have much day light time available and didn’t want to walk back to our cottage we had rented in darkness. But before we left, a photo of one of the streets:
I had forgotten to set my watch to record our walking trip via GPS until we had almost reached the village, so I’m estimating we walked approximately 5 km – generally a pretty easy but enjoyable walk. Beans enjoyed the walk as well!
Athos Bungalows & Restaurant – Skala Potamia, Thassos
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