The decision to spend our summer holidays in Pelion was not difficult, since it combines the sea and mountains and can satisfy the lovers of both. That’s why we picked it as our destination. Everything was ready for our five-day getaway in the mountains. The hero of the story is the little “smart” which travelled from Athens to Pelion without protest. Our destination was the village of Milies, a mountain village in South Pelion and specifically the traditional lodging “Anemoessa”. The truth is that we encountered traffic on the ring road of Volos, from “Achillopouleio” hospital until the traffic lights of the ring road. We thought that it was Friday afternoon and the local people wanted to escape the city!!!!
The landscape begins to change after “Agria”, where you can start to relax and enjoy the green of nature, generously spread around you. The road signs were very helpful, so we easily found “Anemoessa”. There we were welcomed by Vangelis and Helen, the owners, with a smile and a cup of coffee. The coffee was followed by “raki” since you can hardly resist the beneficial breezes and wonderful views. However, “raki” without “meze” is not a usual thing, so Helen baked a pizza to complete the menu!
Planning for the next day, we decided to enjoy the blue moon (which no one could say it was blue in any way!!!!!) from the balcony of Anemoessa. To our surprise, breakfast was served from 08.30 in the morning until … whenever it was convenient for us!!! First time we met this in a hotel. And we really loved it!!! No alarm clocks for breakfast on vacation!!!! Let us talk adout breakfast now! … .fresh country eggs, Pelion honey, croissants, rolls, cake and Helen’s homemade pie. Cereals, jam, coffee, juice, milk. We were so lucky with the desert!!! Creme caramel!!!! Having breakfast overlooking the mountains and the sea! We wouldn’t change it for anything!!!
After such a pampering, we started our tour making the first stop at “Afissos beach”. It took us half an hour to arrive at the beach which was well organized. Caution at the intersection of Afissos as the sign is … a bit shabby!!! To access the beach you have to go down stairs which, however are easy to descent. It was Saturday and it was really crowded and hot. There were no sun beds available but a girl served us giving us an umbrella (quite small) with two sun beds. We paid 7 Euros for two coffees, an umbrella and two sun beds. As time passed the heat was increasing and so was the crowd! The decision was made immediately to … .set off in search of a cooler place!!! We headed to “Milies”, to the old train station. A place full of trees with unlimited freshness and tranquility!!! The cicadas were literally giving concerts!!! We couldn’t ask for anything more beautiful … .unbelievable views with coolness and cicadas singing!!! It was something we couldn’t easily forsake, so we sat in the restaurant “Old Station”. We tasted a very tasty “vlita (amaranth)” salad and a hearty village salad. We ate well and mainly in the dew!! In the evening we strolled around “Milies”. Those of you, who will choose not to use the car and walk around the village through the cobbled streets, take a flashlight with you at night because the streets are poorly lighted. In the village square, there are trees, taverns and man springs. Two shops are ideal for a relaxing drink, the “Rose and Nightingale” and “Anna, here is an apple.” The truth is that we chose the first because it had tables on the terrace offering a view! It was a good choice … .the perfect view … the moon still perched in the sky and the classic beneficial breeze … .What more could you ask in your holidays? The service was very good!
The next morning we awoke with the sound of the rain falling!! What a nice switch!!! Not a day wasted even when it rains! We decided to visit the mountain. We set off from “Milies” heading to “Vizitsa”, about one quarter of a hour drive. A “green” route, as well!!! Through trees!!! And at the roadside water flowing! A stop in Vyzitsa for coffee and a stroll around the traditional ,quite village. Few people around! The ascent was leading us to “Hania”. A winding, difficult road, but the scenery around compensates you. Lunch in the “Lucullus” where the view, once more was imposing! They serve “Kontosouvli”(pretty good), pasta and “vlita” salad. After enjoying a cup of coffee we set off to our hotel, taking a different route this time, through “Tsagarada”. The road through Tsagarada was in better condition. It was around sunset at that hour and we stopped to enjoy it. In the evening, we relaxed with a glass of cold beer, chatting in Anemoessa with the best company !!! Helen and Vangelis !!!! The next day started with a visit to “Mourtias” beach which can be reached through the road that leads to “Argalasti”. In fact, it is a creek overlooking the Aegean Sea and Skiathos island. The sea was nice, with an impressive landscape of surrounding rocks as well. A quick dip and a visit to the village of Platanias where we preferred to drink our coffee overlooking the sea. Back at our base , a walk and a drink in Milies. And an important decision we had to make… to extend our holiday for another day. How would it be possible to leave this place?
Sleeping until late the next morning, we decided to take “Jason”, the train, to “Ano Lechonia”. So, without wasting valuable time and after getting the tickets, we run to take our cameras and everything else necessary for a trip back in time … when “Jason” was the only means of transport connecting Volos with the South part of Pelion . “Smudgy”, as they call it, named after the ash spread in the passage of the steam engine, which was gasping up and down through the lacy mountain route it started its journey… without locomotive. With a petrol engine that has a similar construction to the old steam locomotive, but without the fumes of the burning coal. It starts its route through the trees of “Milies” and goes downhill with new a version of gasping.
Going up and down the Pelion slopes, you are transferred to another era, back at those times of wooden wagons. The logo of Thessaly railways is printed everywhere; it’s the company that exploited “Thessaly Railways” for many many years back. The balconies in the wagons, just like the seats bring into life smells from another era … the sounds and images of Westerns, as if you expect an instant attack by Indians. The train passes by old stations connecting Volos with the villages of Pelion. “Pinakates” ,”Ano Gatzea”, and the kids being ecstatic every time “Jason” passed through a gallery or an arched bridge. Jumping from one side of the wagon to another to catch some of the view And as soon as you have got used to the images and the humming of lines and wheels, the squeaks of the wooden wagon, you feel the speed of buck-passing declining, as it approaches a residential area and the sign at the station no longer writes Upper Lechonia. But the train does not just stop. It goes down until you see the diesel train changing direction and preparing to go to rest in a special covered area of OSE until the next day.
And if you believe it is easy to travel by “Jason” and you choose to do so … then we’ll help with the following tips:
1. Schedules: whenever- so ask before you set off (information at OSE offices)
2. Itinerary from “Ano Lechonia” to “Milies” at 10.00 am. The trip lasts for about 1- 1.5 hours. Then you have to stay in Milies for about 3 hours and at 15.00 return to “Ano Lechonia”.
3. 10 euros for a one way ticket
4. Plan the trip carefully because the itinerary is one per day and it’s the only one reciprocating “Ano Lechonia” – “Mileai” – “Ano Lechonia”.
5. For railway enthusiasts: don’t forget your camera.
In the same afternoon we decided to pay a visit to Makrinitsa. The road was as usual in Pelion … full of turns!!! Makrinitsa is probably the most touristic village we visited but you without, of course losing its charm and unlimited green. In the central square, there is a shop with products from the Agricultural Co-op of women in Pelion (sweets, pasta). In the evening we returned to Milies for a glass of cold beer at the balcony of Anemoessa.
The last day of our stay was spent in Milies. The last evening ended with dinner at “Panorama” restaurant and plenty of raki in Anemoessa of course!!!! Next morning we enjoyed having our breakfast, we packed our stuff and said goodbye to Vangelis, Helen and of course the Duke!!!! Along with the promise to come back some day!!!!