Skiadi, the “Mushroom Stone” on Kimolos
The Mushroom Stone strictly belongs to the section about Kimolos but it is worth a mention on its own account anyway. This unusual rock formed by the wind stands in the middle of the unspoilt wild landscape of Kimolos. It can only be reached on foot. If you want to visit Skiadi in the course of a leisurely hike and also spend some peaceful time there, it is worth dedicating a whole day to it.
The little Panagia Faneromeni ferry does not shuttle back and forth with any great frequency between Pollonia and Psathi, Kimolos’ harbour. And since the first and last journeys of the day necessarily present a limited time window depending on the season and weather conditions(!), you shouldn’t overtax the free time of your stay on Kimolos with tight timetables. A visit to Kimolos requires peace and idleness. So I can only recommend not to schedule the hike to Skiadi on your very first visit to Milos’ neighbouring island. It should be reserved for extended walks through Chora, through the Kastro quarter, a brief diversion to the Archaeological Museum and of course trying the local cuisine. Skiadi, on the other hand, is something so special that to give it its due, you can leave it for a later visit to Kimolos – this time with robust footwear and enough provisions for a generous picnic under the “Mushroom Stone.”
The way to Skiadi
The first thing to do is to drive in your car if possible to the starting point of this short walk. Coming from the harbour of Psathi, you drive almost all the way through Chora. So you are generally heading uphill and the alleys become astonishingly narrow. Even if it looks at some points as if you have gone wrong, you can be quite sure to find your way to the northern edge of the village. By the OTE (telecommunications) building, which catches your eye with its aerials and satellite dishes, you follow a fork to the left. There is already a first signpost here. This reliable signage continues all the way to Skiadi itself.
You leave Chora and drive a few kilometres through the wasteland. The first landmark that confirms you are going the right way is a prominent reservoir for livestock to the left of the road. A warning sign points out that this is not drinking water.
Somewhat later, the footpath branches off to the left from the road and you have to leave your car here. The route you will be taking to Skiadi will take about an hour at a leisurely pace.
The start of the footpath is clearly marked and a small levelled area provides space to park your car. Although you can’t yet see Skiadi from here, the view already extends to the sea beyond the valley through which the path will lead you.
From this point on, a fairly narrow footpath snakes across the terraced slopes to the destination. Although the area is developed agriculturally, you will hardly meet a soul apart from a few mules standing around beside the path. Because of a lack of roads in the vicinity, you are alone in the tranquillity of Kimolos’ hilly landscape. The valley doesn't open up until almost the end of the path and then the “Mushroom Stone” presents itself on an elongated plateau.
The Skiadi experiment
Because of the good signage of the route, the hike to Skiadi really does not make any special demands on your orienteering skills. Nevertheless it is difficult in retrospect to define on a map of Kimolos exactly where you walked. During the walk, you cannot see across to Milos at all. It is only at the destination, the exposed plateau on which the rock is located, that the view opens up towards Pollonia.
It is interesting to try and locate the Mushroom from the other direction, in other words from Pollonia, among the hilly landscape of Kimolos across the water. It is definitely within sight but where exactly? My friend Jean-Marie and I wanted to get to the bottom of this question. So on a walk to Skiadi, in addition to my camera equipment for a panoramic shot, I took a small mirror. And Jean-Marie waited in his garden in Pollonia with his video camera.
The result of our Skiadi experiment was astonishingly clear. Jean-Marie recorded it on video and used it again in his nearly inexhaustible store of licence-free music…
Show location of Skiadi on map: