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  • Writer's pictureGilly Cameron Cooper


Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Easter in Greece, which is a week later this year than in most of the rest of Europe, is the country's most most important religious festival, and with nature wildly and gloriously resurrecting, normally a magical time to be walking on the islands of the Cyclades. Holy Week is usually filled with rituals, traditions and processions building up to the fireworks, feasting and family gatherings of Easter Sunday. Rugged mountains and hills are softened and greened by winter rains, terraces and meadows painted with hosts of wildflowers at their spring best. This year, of course, churches and tavernas are closed, travel, tourists, and gatherings banned. Instead, this Sunday, from my London confinement, I shall re-create my Greek Easter walk from the mountain village of Koronos, in the N of Naxos, to a tiny wedge of bay at Lionas, and a feast of Pascal lamb with friends at a family taverna.

The age-old route between mountain village and fishing harbour plunges down a narrow wedge of valley. Many parts are paved with marble, though in April, stream-fed upper reaches may be obscured by luxuriant vegetation - from acid-green Euphorbia to starry alliums and .co.upins. A grassy path along a plane tree-lined stream provides the last shade before open rocky landscape of Mediterranean scrub, dropping to the dark gashes of a gorge, and flanked by naked crags punctured and scarred by emery mines. It's an exposed trudge up to a pass between two rocks at the summit of the only climb, but then downhill all the way to the neat vegetable patches, a handful of white-washed houses, and two tavernas (both of which, when open, offer lifts back to Koronos), grouped around the beach of wave-smoothed pebbles.

Photos (havent worked out how to edit and caption yet!): 1. Koronos at the head of the valley, 2. path from Koronos, 3. plane tree walk, 4. stone bridge, 5. the mountain pass before the descent to the sea. #greekislandwalking #ciceronepress # #naxosisland #cycladeswalking

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