Out of our comfort zone and on to the Cretan roads.
06.06.2013 - 06.06.2013 30 °C
(Please note the BlogWriter is having a break today - the other Idiot has the reigns)
We decided today to hit the bitumen in our bog black Hyundi Accent. It was Annie's turn to drive! We set off about 10.00am. The days are long here so no need to set off too early. We decided on advice to head to south west Crete where there is some incredible coastline and some famous beaches, one with a walk-to island. This was to be about an 8OK journey each way. The weather was just great. Sometimes getting out of Greek towns by car is a bit of a task - the streets are set out like the canals of Venice - without the water! In Chania there are many one way streets and the dual carriage streets are not much wider. The GPS is not much help as it does not recognise the restricted streets of the 'Old Town'. Despite this we managed to clear the suburbs an head west, with some strikingly beautiful vistas to the mountains and green and blue Aegean. Western Crete has some wild ranges and Gorges on the western end of the island. We initially crossed the Rodopou Peninsula - a stark monolith of rock jutting into the Aegean. We stopped at Kissamou, had a coffee and interesting conversation with a lady from the cafe. As in the past we have found the Greek people to very friendly and always happy to have a talk. You can learn a lot in 30 minutes about the mood of the people and their personal struggles with sub standard public education and a frustrating and declining health system - sound familiar? Time to head south to Elafonisi on the far south western corner of Crete. The journey was only about 30K, but a good hour and a half drive. Annie was test pilot for the best high-drive we have ever done! Throw in narrow roads and heaps of hair-pin bends, goats, vehicles parked in the strangest places and some incredible mountainside dropoffs (1500 to 2000 M) and you have a great ride. I did the viewing and and Annie concentrated on the driving! The views on this sparcely populated coastal region were just truly incredible as our pictures will show. We arrived at Efalonisi around 1.00pm and had a quick look at the beach and walk-to island and decided to have lunch up on a hill in the local taverna. We had a nice lunch with a great vista of the whole area. It was time to explore. Elafonisi is a remote area in Crete but it does not deter people comimg here. We collected up our gear and set off to the beach for a walk to the island and a dip. The landscape is spectacular with rugged mountains closely hugging the beautiful water (light blue and deep green). Add some blue sky and white clouds - perfect. We traversed the sandbar over to the island and found a perfect spot. We had a sunbake and swim for an hour or so. The water was cool! But it was an experience to remember.
The only drawback is there is only one road out of this area. So it was my turn to concentrate on driving and Annie's turn to enjoy the vista. Even though we were back tracking, the views made it worthwhile.
Once we reached the outskirts of Kissamou again we veered of the track to have a look at some of the most popular beaches in Crete. The beach at Falasarna was extensive with better sands than Elafonisi. No doubt it would be crawling with holidaymakers in a few weeks. It was time to head home back to Chania. This was about an hours drive on the 'National Road' which traverses the full length of Crete. It makes travel across the regions so much easier than the winding narrow local roads. We arrived back in Chania about 7.00 pm, but it took another hour to get to our apartment! Normally 5 minutes walk. It is here that I must explain that planning any journey in Greece must allow for a very important factor - PARKING! Because our apartment is in the 'Old Town' where there are no vehicles allowed, we have to park outside the area. Well - we arrived back just when everybody was coming into town to eat! Hence parking bays are as scarce as rocking horse poo! Well - with some perseverence some kind folk decided to leave. So at 8.00pm we arrived back to home base.
Tonight we decided to go Greek style and go out for dinner at 9.30pm! We went to a restaurant called Tamam - a former Turkish Bath (some 500 years old). We were recommended this place by our Landlady Silvia. We had a really delicious meal and Raki's to finish. At a 11.00pm it was time to lay the head down for the day.