Around Artemonas – the full version
Do a full round tour of Artemonas and end up at one of the taverns or restaurants in the village! It is not difficult at all, look :
Take the asphalt road to Cherronissos from the square of Artemonas (where the parking area and the bus station are) then follow the signs to Agia Anna. On the way you will see caper bushes (it is a magical plant, I will tell you more about it another time), oregano, sage, olive trees and wheat. The view to the east is super gorgeous!
If you look down below to the right, you can see the only functional windmill on the island, operating once or twice a year, keeping the traditional way of making flour alive. A few meters further, you can’t miss the view of the dry stone walls everywhere. In another note I will explain why these walls is the reason we are here!
A bit before you feel tired of going up, you are at Agia Anna neighbouhood, at the top of Artemonas village. As you continue walking you will see two pottery workshops – you are always welcome – and a bakery. Take the stone paved path starting from the bakery, turn right at the first corner and … no more going up! Please be careful on your way down because the marble stones on the paved path can be really slippery…
Most of the houses here belong to people who live on the island all year long. You can tell by the clean and tidy yards and the white lines around the stones. On your right, you will see Panagia tou Bali, the most popular church in Artemonas. When it is the name day of that church nobody works in the village!
Opposite the church, there is an old house which has been turned into a kind of folk art museum. It looks exactly like a house in Sifnos two centuries ago. If you find it open, it will take you back to history at the first glance. Many of the exhibits are common in our houses and many of us own items like these.
This is where the steps end and the lively part of the village starts. Small shops, art workshops, places to eat and drink, and right there, at the corner, in front of Panagia Kohi (the main church of the village), is the spot which became famous thanks to a photo by Herni Cartier Bresson. To understand what I mean, you have to stand outside the church, looking at the path you just went down. If you still don’t understand and nothing rings a bell, google it!
The final part of the walk is full of beautiful spots. Three bougainvillea in a row, decorative pottery, ceramic chimneys on roofs, the remains of a water mill, another church devoted to Virgin Mary (it is called “Virgin Mary of the Sand”! Look for the story behind that name inside the church!) and of course the special neoclassical houses which characterize Artemonas village and provoke imagination.
At the end of the walk, just before the square of Artemonas, you will find two bakeries and the oldest pastry shop of the island to reward yourself for the great exercise!