Dionysos – German cemetery 25 Feb 2012

Our walk of 25 February 2012 takes us on a loop, all on dirt roads, around the lower slopes of Mount Penteli, in the Dionysos area. This is a walk of medium difficulty, of 2 hours walking (2 ½ hours with stops). We start at 2:00 pm. Xenophon is leading this walk, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call him on 6937055502. A souvlakia meal will follow. This walk is characterized by bare slopes, caused by fires, and a first half of downhill, followed by a second half of uphill climbs. Thus its nickname “what goes down, comes back up again”. The starting point is the German war cemetery. Old time strollers will recall we visited this area several times, several years ago.

About the area: The cemetery is resting place for 9973 German soldiers, who were killed during the 2nd World war. The surrounding mountain was burnt by fire, once in 1995, then in 1998. The cemetery has been subsequently restored. Time permitting, we will visit the cemetery when we finish the walk.

Clothing: You are advised to have with you a wind jacket and a cap or hood; they will be useful if the day is windy.

Coming via Nea Erythrea: Take Leoforos (avenue) Kifissias and get to the principal square in Kifissia, on Kifissias avenue. This is the place with Alsos (park) Kifissias on your left hand, and the bus terminal in front of it; old Athenians refer to this point as ‘trohonomos’. There are traffic lights here. Zero your odometer and drive north, along Kifissias avenue. At 0.4 km you pass traffic lights with an Aegean petrol station on your left; at 0.6 km you drive past an EKO petrol station on your right; at 1.0 km you drive past a Shell petrol station on your left; at 1.6 km you drive past an AB Vassilopoulos super market on your right; at 1.8 km you reach the principal junction in Nea Erythrea suburb, with traffic lights. At this junction you find Alpha bank, National (Ethniki) bank, Millennium bank and a Shell petrol station. On your right is Charilaou Trikoupi street, leading towards Kefalari and Melissia. (On your left is the road which comes from the National Athens-Lamia road- Ethniki Odos, for those who have turned right at Promot Lainopoulos Smart cars show rooms). Zero your odometer at this junction and drive straight ahead. The road will take you via the suburbs of Nea Erythrea, Kastri and Ekali. At 1.2 km you ignore a left turn for the National road and Varibombi; drive straight ahead at the traffic lights. You are now on Leoforos (avenue) Thisseos. At 4.1 km a blue road sign shows the way to ‘Marathon and Agios Stefanos’ if you go straight, ‘Schinias, Nea Makri and Dionysos’ if you bend to the right. At 4.2 km you take the road that bends to the right, following another sign, ‘German cemetery’. You are now in ‘Odos (road) Dionysou’, driving uphill, through the suburb of Dionysos. At 6.1 km you drive past an Avin petrol station on your right. At 8.8 km there is a brown road sign for the church of ‘Agios Georgios Chiopolitou’ on your right, and the road bends to the right. The principal road changes name and is now labeled ‘Leoforos (avenue) Dionysou’. At 11.1 km there is a blue road sign ‘German cemetery’. At 11.2 km there is a 2nd blue road sign ‘German cemetery’, where you need to turn left for the cemetery. At 12.3 km you reach the parking area in front of the cemetery, where we meet.

Coming by bus: You cannot get to the walk start by bus. If you need a lift, ask before end Thursday.

The Taverna: Dinner will be at the taverna named ‘Iordanis’. It is on the principal road crossing Old (palaia) Penteli suburb, at the junction with the road that drives up to the children’s hospital (Nosokomio Paidon). Apologies for the 13 km distance from the walk finish; there are no suitable eating places nearer; ‘Iordanis’ is a place we have used several times in the past, and are pleased with its offering. ‘Iordanis’ has a reputation for its tender and juicy souvlakia on a skewer, with salads and other choices for vegetarians.

How to get to the Taverna, from the walk finish: Zero your odometer as you set off from the walk finish. At 1.1 km you reach the principal road (from Dionysos to Nea Makri). Turn left here. At 4.1 km look out for blue road signs indicating a right turn towards Melissia and Penteli, while going straight takes you to Nea Makri. This position is called Agios Petros (since there is a ‘hidden’ little church on the left). At 4.2 km slow down and take a sharp right and uphill turn. (This turn comes just before a cafeteria named ‘Panorama’ on your right). Zero your odometer again at this turning. You are now on a long road that drives along the slopes of Penteli (non-built area) and takes you to Palaia Penteli. It is a straight road, without any junctions, until you reach the built-up area. The distance until ‘Iordanis’ is about 9 km. When you enter the built-up area, you encounter one square lined with tavernas; you drive past these, heading for a second area with tavernas, about 500 m. lower down. Parking is behind the restaurant on your left, under the pine trees or on the right hand side of the principal road, opposite the taverna. If you prefer, stay close to the walk leader, and ask to drive along in a convoy, from the walk finish.