Views At St. Simon (Simeon) Church, Kea, Greece

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exterior of st. simeon church, kea island, greece
A view of the exterior of St. Simon Church, Kea, Greece.

On our third day on the Island of Kea, we decided to really burn some fuel – and if you are going to travel around the island in a car, be prepared for some high fuel consumption! Over the course of the days we were on the island, we drove perhaps just over 200km, and used up half the fuel tank in the Tiguan. It was a full tank before we left but with all the steep hills and mountains, with their S-Curves on the narrow roads, it’s not often you stay in a high gear for very long.

We wanted to head to Ioulida, but we didn’t have definite plans – mostly to just drive around, stop when we wanted, and continue seeing what we could see. We took a route that had us drive up the steep slopes on the east side of the island, and then headed somewhat inland. But on the way, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery along with rugged rocky walls that are ubiquitous to Kea.

A couple of times we would take a road “just to see what was down there,” and at one these, we saw this odd-shaped hill or mountain with some kind of structure on top. “Shall we see if we can make it up to the top of that and see what’s there?”

“Absolutely,” was the reply.

Here’s what were seeing in the distance:

building structure at peak of mountain

We weren’t exactly sure if the direction we were heading would take us to the road that leads up to the peak, but eventually we found it. It was a very rough unpaved road and again, probably not a road you want to drive if you’re in a vehicle with not much road clearance underneath. But the Tiguan had no problems.

According to Google Maps topography, the peak is about 420 metres above sea level, or if you prefer, approx. 1,378 feet. Before we arrived, we realized we were heading up to a Greek Orthodox Church named “St. Simeon or Simon,” in the Greek: Άγιος Συμεών.

We ended up traveling this fairly narrow road (although it looked wider from below but that’s because we couldn’t see the rocks along the way). In fact, you reach a point where you are told to drive up the right hand side of the road to get there, while leaving, you take the other road on the other side.

When we arrived at the top, the views were spectacular:

spectacular view from st simeon church, kea
View from Agios Simeon, Kea.

When you look at the photo, consider we’re 420 metres about the sea level – a cropped photo might alter the perception of just how high were above the sea.

We are looking at the south-eastern shoreline – one of the most rugged areas of the Island. It is very difficult to get to the shore on that side of the Island – there are simply not many roads because they can’t really be built. There are a few beaches along that side of Kea, but are only partially accessible if you have a real 4X4 vehicle, or you are in a boat.

Night Skies Of Kea

In doing some research about locating very dark night skies, I discovered this side of the Island could be a prime candidate if you can find the right place for milky way and other astro/night time photography.

Perhaps another time I’ll head to Kea for the purpose of checking that out, and head for this side of the island.

St Simon Church

It’s not really a very big church, nor does it look as majestic as many of the other Greek Orthodox churches I’ve seen, but apparently if you go inside the church, the murals and paintings are outstanding. I don’t know too much about it or how often you might find Orthodox worshiping here.

It literally is though, built on rocks – as you drive up to and then around it, in order to get into the church you must ascend some stairs. This photo provides a better perspective at where it is built in relation to the road that leads up to it:

st simon church, kea, up on the rocks above the road

We didn’t go inside the church for a couple of reasons, the biggest being the hot temperature of the day, and having Beans, the Boston Terrier with us. Beans just cannot handle the hot Greek sun for very long especially when the temperatures head north of 30C. After just a few minutes, he’s panting like crazy and laying down as close to the ground as he can get – and even in the shade, he’s not well. And it was a hot day with a lot of sunshine.

The other reason is that weirdly, although I used to never be afraid of heights and quite enjoyed them, lately they have been freaking me out a bit. I think it has something to do with the fact I now have tinnitus – and it sets me off balance. Standing there on the road, and being so close to what seemed like a drop-off just feet away from me, had me feeling nervous, which I was not happy with, but when things go wrong in your ears, it can be a side-effect.

Regardless, it was a nice side-trip with great views, on our way our planned destination of Ioulida and parts in between.

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