Thursday, May 12, 2016

Gush forth

When researching hot springs you are either overwhelmed by all the information available or underwhelmed by the utter lack of information.  

Searching for the hot springs named Tria Pigadia on the Greek island of Milos, the latter is the case, such so that all I have is a hunch and a map with the name Tria Pigadia on it. 

Let's start with the hunch.
'Tria Pigadia
Temperature: 33-41 C
Composition: alipiges (hot springs)'
It then briefly mentions Tria Pigadia again:
'At the above beaches (Alikes, Provatas, Skinopi, Paliohori, Tria Pigadia, Kanava), in the places where hot springs exist, you will see fumaroles gushing within the sea water and you can enjoy your swim completely for free all year round'.
Not much to go by. A beach. 
Then the website, which despite the excellent information given, always looks like it's an antiquated website, if such exists on internet:
'Tria Pigadia is not a village but a secluded beach [great]. It took its name from the three wells that are there for watering the animals. The Tria Pigadia Springs are long forgotten, which means you're unlikely to find anyone there.
How will you get there?
They're 9 kilometers away from Apollonia. You take the road to Varytini and after 5 kilometers you turn left (there's no sign). You enter a dirt road and travel for 2,5 kilometers until you reach a crossroad with a sign that says "To Tria Pigadia", on your left. After 1,5 kilometer you'll find the beach.
So, here it goes.
On the right side of the beach, facing the sea on the root of a secluded rock, you'll find the springs. There are two big rocks two meters inside the sea. Between them a natural basin is formed. It's the best spot for swimming.
That's about it for the Tria Pigidia hot springs: the hot springs are there and there is a beach with the same name. On the northeast of the island.

But how to get there?

One must note that large sways of Milos island are part of a mining operation(s) and thus the area where Tria Pigidia is to be found, lies in a massive area on the east coast which is home to quite a few mines and many a road connecting these mines.

Setting off after a lunch at Pollonia on Milos island's northeastern point.

Nothing ventured nothing gained. 

From the sleepy village of Pollonia (above), we head down along the eastern coast of Milos. 
Straight away we are in the midst of a mining operation. 
The road winds itself through a number of these mines upwards to the plateau. 

Then it gets tricky.

Like the description above, we take a left, which turns out to be a dead end. Back to the main road, return in the direction of Pollonia, then another track heading eastwards.  
Looks OK, miss what should have been our second left turn, but follow a circular road which ends as a trail but then all of sudden we end up at a significant crossroads. 
Another eastwards turn here and we are heading towards the coast, the road drops a little. 

At the edge of the island we stop: the road ahead is very steep. But it certainly looks like we are at the right place: google maps refers to a couple of switchbacks at the southern point of the beach.

The car ditched, we continue on foot down the steep track to the beach. 

The beach is not deserted. A naked lady has set up shop in the center of the 500m or so long beach amply guarded by 3 barking dogs; no idea how she got here. 

From my info I know that the springs should be off the south cliff. Below is what the south cliff looks like.


Hmm, the seawater is still cold and the only way to explore is to jump in and wade oneself to the rock face. 
I am a little quicker in stripping and about 50m southwestwards, I gather some whiffs of sulphur. Close.

Exploring a little closer there's a sizable spring with water heading straight into the waves. 
Shifting some rocks here and there and there's a one person hot and cold soak: cold after a wave crashes the party every minute or so.


I explore more along the cliff face, the description does note 2 big rocks with a basin. The shore is a lot more steeper, so no more wading. And though I feel the temperature at some places to be higher than at others I have to conclude that, alas the basin is not to be found today. It will remain elusive.

Anyway we had a great day searching and finding another soakable spring.


As said, the area of eastern Milos is well-known for it's mines and is pretty desolate otherwise. 

Another great place to visit, not so far away from our soaking site, are the old sulphur mines which can be accessed more to the south than Tria Pigadia, which again entails a search for access (road), followed by a hike down (and back up!) thus avoiding ruining your rental car (if not already wrecked ....). 
Do note that finding this place is a lot easier than the above soakable beach.

It's locally known as Thiafes / Thiorychia (mymilos) or Paliorema (Tripadvisor). There's a lot of info about the mine on internet, the first already mentioned link is a good start as well as the Milos Mining Museum, their geowalk no. 3 heads this way.

Having completed the hike down, what waits is the eerily sight of a once vibrant mining community, now open to the elements of time and degradation.
Well worth the effort. 

The beach is also exceptionally nice and awaits the visitor willing to enjoy as naturally as one can / wishes ....

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