Finally the sky is clear again, since the wind has shifted to the northwest.
A van loaded with plants and pots made its way around the village in the morning.
Three of us drove up to Askifou (at Amoudari) and walked the steep path up to Tavri. The path has deteriorated even more since last year, which means you need to be careful on the descent.
The sides of the path are strewn with white cyclamen, and a few of the lovely yellow Onosma erectum. Nearer the top we found a single campanula in bloom, and scatterings of small pink quadripunctata orchids, but we only spotted a couple of Orchis tridentate at the top – the mild winter means fewer orchids are out now. The peony bush near the top of the path is past its best, but there are still a few fresh smaller peony bushes on the plateau.
The Askifou plateau looked so green from gaps in the trees on the way up, and the Tavri plateau at the top was beautiful under the clear blue sky. But there was a cool wind blowing up there that forced us to put on jackets.
As we made our way along the road to the Niato plateau, we passed large patches of intensely yellow buttercups, deep pink silene, and tiny blue forget-me-nots. A few arums were still coming into bloom in the deep shade, but almost all the daphne bushes had long since finished blooming. [additional flower photos in separate posting]
The Niato plateau was also a fresh green, and only a few small patches of snow could be seen on the mountains towering over it. We stopped for a picnic beside the thorny Berberis shrubs which line the road and are just coming into bloom. One of our group then continued on to Trikoukia and found the path down to Imbros (marked sparingly with blue dots).
We returned the same way we’d come, with a brief stop outside the Tavri hut to shelter from the breeze a while. Close to the hut we found a prostrate cherry just coming into flower, and lots of the very small rayless chamomile on the path. The sweet scent of the spiny spurge filled the air.
Before taking the path back down, we walked up to the little church of Agia Pnevma that sits on the edge looking down to the Askifou plateau, with the grave of the legendary fighter Stavrianos Polentas (Sisanes) at its side. A small flock of sheep wandered up and were surprised to see us.
On the way back down, we enjoyed the views of the plateau in the afternoon sun and the chatter of several types of small birds.
At night, a cool north wind started gusting in Sfakia, and continued to do so on Saturday.