Saturday, May 7, 2016

Testing the temps

Hot or not?
The Greek island of Evia (Euboea) is well-known for what? 

Well, it's close to Athens, there are actually two bridges with which it's connected to the Greek peninsula, it's one of Greece's biggest islands, beyond's it's capital (Chalkida) it's sparsely populated thus has some rugged and deserted high country and beaches. 
And ..., oh there's a very popular hot spring town on the coast called Loutra Aidipsos, even regarded as Greece's most popular spa town (source). 

But besides the many hot springs which keep this town drawing in tourists, across the bay from Edipsos to the east, on the tip of the island is the other hot spring of the island by the name of Gialtron or Loutra Gialtron to be precise.
Likewise it's popular big brother, it's also located on the coast, but it has been spared all the hoopla of it's neighbour. It seems to actually have been forgotten altogether.

While exploring this part of Evia, we made it out to Loutra Gialtron, more on a hunch, with little intent. There's not too much info on internet, certainly nothing as complete as Loutra Aidipsos.

Feelgreece seems very typical of what can be found:
'Loutra Gialtron is the seaside area of the village of Gialtra. It also has mineral springs but tourists do no [not?] know about it as the place is not advertised and you can hardly find any information about it. 
Loutra Gialtron has a narrow beach strip of sand and pebbles and a small pier for fishing boats. Some taverns and cafes can be found along the beach but they operate only during the summer season'.
But the existence of the hot spring still came as a surprise. 

We had cycled the what was it, 15 km or so over from Aidipsos to Gialtron along the road and track hugging the coast and were catching our breathe while infusing on Greek coffee; but in all honesty we thought we were still off our destination by a bit. 
As stated the seaside village of Gialtron has a couple of seaside taverns and our hostess was trying to strike up a discussion with a mix of Greek, English and German. I took the opportunity to ask where the springs were, only to discover that the beach bar had been built just two meters from them!

From the terrace we could see water gushing out from the sea retaining wall. Stairs have been built into the wall and after descending these we can discover that 
a. the water is (too) hot, 
b. it's salty and 
c. not much effort has been made into possibly using this exit as a place for soaking.

Back up the stairs and across the road is something that was once a place to bath in. A number of structures resemble an oldish bathing building (photo below), but it's seriously into disuse. The hot water comes from beyond but there's nothing as such to establish as the source itself.

Not much to do than finish the coffee and pedal back along the bay.

There is this source of info on the springs themselves:
'The name of beach is "Mylos" because of the Mill that exists in the region. The beach is in short distance from the village of "Gialtra". The beach is sandy with small pebbles and the green trees that create a very nice landscape. The vineyards that surround the area are an important piece of wine production from older years until nowadays. This kind of wine is well known for its quality and taste (mafrouka or moudiatis). The area is known for its warm waters ranging from 47- 49 degrees Celsius and its ingredients containing chlorine, sodium, carbonic acid and hydrogen sulphide, which help in the treatment of rheumatic'.
On our return we actually did stop at the Mylos beach, at least that's what I think it should be named, there was a mill (or was it a lighthouse?) Anyway a great place for a skinny dip, possible not so in the height of summer ...

Not everyone is just as successful as we were, though not too difficult to find. Charliedogcametoo notes how they passed Gialtron twice:
'The sun returned the next day, revealing Evvia’s mountainous spine and providing a fine day to drive down the steep and rocky south coast. Another search again failed to spot the hot springs at Yiáltra [=Gialtra], we even felt the sea this time for signs'.
A visit report on virtual tourist (2014):
'It's best kept secret, that we only discovered from a local who saw me going for a swim, is the thermal spring. Completely free of charge, this spring gushes from the harbour wall and falls into a man-made pool from where it trickles out into the sea. There are steps down to it and a couple of plastic seats someone has placed there. I actually found the water in the pool too hot to sit in so simply had a swim in the sea where the thermal water mingled with the salt water. Later, I dipped my feet in the pool and rubbed thermal water over my body! We watched a German? man come and lie in the pool, my goodness, he must have had thick skin!
And then there is this blog report from 2012 which suggests that what i refer to buildings in disuse were only just then contructed. 

I did find some info in Greek on the set-up / situation of the baths. Istiea News (May 25, 2012) report mainly on the negligence involved. In summer the renovation works look to have been finished (source), certainly it look smart.

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