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Via Volos to Pteleos

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Tuesday 19 June, via Volos to Pteleos

A storm is coming Teije in Agios IoannisIt stormed all night and the thunderstorms stayed right above us, not reallky a quiet night. We leave here today and we have to cross the winding, narrow roads to Volos again, I do not like that with this weather. Around 9 o'clock the storm stops, but it still rains heavily. By 10 we decide to leave and in the pouring rain we run with our bags to the car. After that, we first have breakfast in Agios Ioannis, just like the last few days. But this time we sit inside and when we're done it suddenly stops raining. In one night more than 25 millimeters of rain fell, as much as normally falls in a month.
Storm damage at Xania Storm damage at XaniaIn various places we see the damage that the storm has caused. Luckily there was little wind, otherwise there would have been a lot more trees fallen down. Now there is a lot of gravel on the road and occasionally a hole in a wall where the stones have fallen out. On the way here the roads were still clean so this is really from last night.
Volos Upper VolosWhen we are over the top of the Pilio we see Volos lying in the distance again and I am relieved that it is not raining anymore and we are already so far. We go, advised by Paulien, a fellow student of Teije's Greek conversation group, with whom we have an appointment tomorrow, looking for the Kontos House or Theofilos Museum. It is somewheret in Anakasia, a small village just past Upper Volos.
Dog on the road, Upper VolosJust like a few days ago there are a lot of straying dogs on the road in Upper Volos and they do not intend to step aside for our car either. We cautiously maneuver around them, but when we see a dog with only 3 legs we wonder if they sometimes get run over and lose a paw. We have only seen one dead dog in Greece in all those years. Stray dogs are a problem here and especially at night you hear them outside the villages making a lot of noise, and if you are unlucky near your accommodation.
Chiron the centaur AnakasiaAccording to the navigation, we are at the museum when we see an image of Chiron. Chiron was a scholarly centaur in Greek mythology, half human, half horse and a famous healer and there are a lot of stories about him. Unfortunately he was accidentally hit by a poisonous arrow from Heracles and gave up his immortality to get rid of his severe pain. Unfortunately, there is no explanation why this image is here. But the museum is elsewhere and we ask how we can get there.
Wall painting, Kontos House or Theofilos Museum Kontos House or Theofilos Museum, AnakasiaThe house is a bit hidden in the back of the village and the signs are not all that clear (why does that not surprise me?). But in the end we find it and two men sit at a table playing backgammon. One opens the gate and Teije is lucky again: they do not speak any English so he can practice again. The man explains that the normal guard is gone and he is watching the place. And no, it costs nothing and yes, we are allowed to photograph everywhere.
The house is special because the painter Theofilos Chatzimichail painted the whole house on the inside at the beginning of the 20th century. All walls of the restored building are painted with scenes from nature or from Greek history with the uprising of 1821 against the Turks playing an important part.
We walk around for a while and admire the paintings that use a bright-realistic style and occasionally our supervisor points out something or opens a door. We understand that the painter found shelter here as a poor man and when the owner of the house, Yannis Kontos, discovered that he could paint well, asked him to make wall paintings. That has been quite successful and in 1965 the government bought the building to make it into a museum.
Then we drive out of the mountains to Volos and go to the archaeological museum.
Tomb in the archaeological museum of Volos Excavated kitchen from DimitriadaIt is a small museum but very beautiful and clearly set up with lots of information about the archaeological sites in this area, Thessalia. Especially the reconstructions from prehistory are very impressive. We see more and more such kind of museums in Greece where you are not overwhelmed by a large amount of objects but everything is limited to the most beautiful and important things with good information. This makes a museum visit more fun and more instructive. Now only the attendants have to become less shaggy, it seems part of their job, following visitors to make sure they don't do anything forbidden.
Greek Orthodox church in Volos Apostle Church in VolosThen we walk along the boulevard and in the heat we go looking for a electronics store because we can not find the charging cable of our camera and the battery is empty. It is the camera that also registers the GPS co-ordinates. Fortunately, we have another camera with us but it is so useful if you can see afterwards where we took a picture. On the way we see beautiful buildings again but most of the shops are closed, so we stop wandering about and look for a terrace near the sea.
Monument for resistance fighters, Volos Monument for a Greek patriot, Theodore KolokotronisThere are two large parks close to the coast and of course there are many monuments that keep the turbulent Greek history alive, such as the modern monument for resistance fighters by the sea and a bust of Theodore Kolokotronis who fought against the Turks in the war of independence and now is considered a popular hero. This war, almost 2 centuries ago, still has a lot of influence. Perhaps that is logical because it was the beginning of an independent Greek state that had never existed before, not even in ancient times.
Volos is not really a special city but it is nice to walk around.
When we leave the city we pass the old theater and the remains of an old palace but we have seen enough cultural things for today and drive further south on our way to our hotel in Pteleos on the coast. There is a small beach and there is only a dead-end road between our hotel and the beach.
Elisabeth never drinks beer The White Beach, PteleosWe are heartily received by the owner but when Teije starts talking in Greek he is completely ignored and the man continues to speak to me in English. Teije then tries it twice more but the same: no reaction at all, they pretend they have not heard anything and start talking to me again. Well, there will be more opportunities again elsewhere. Once we have our luggage put in the room, we go outside again and sit ourselves on the terrace along the beach. After the bad weather tonight and this morning we did not expect it to be so warm and beautiful again.
The White Beach, Pteleos Agia Marina, the coast at PteleosThe beach here is called the White Beach, probably because of the white pebbles. We walk past it, it is at most two hundred meters long and there are only few people to see. This place is well hidden and obviously not very touristic, which we like. That's why we also try go to touristic places before the tourist season.
We also have a nice big balcony where we can sit outside until late, I am glad the weather is much better again.


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