We reached Crete via a short super quick ferry from Santorini. Crete is one of the most prominent locations to see in Greece so we were excited to check out it for the next 10 days. As usual on arrival we were pounced on by taxi drivers who declared that the buses had stopped running. Our travel experience always tells us that taxi drivers are not credible so we hoofed it to the bus station anyway as well as sure sufficient a bus was waiting.
The bus expense 7 Euros, whereas the taxi would have been 70. Patience pays. We shown up at La Luna apartments around 9:00 pm just after the sun had set over the Mediterranean. We inspected in as well as yet once again we had an remarkable apartment. this time around for just 20 dollars! The apartment had a kitchenette, 2 beds, a reading area, as well as a significant balcony with a view of the sea. The value for money in Greece is unbeatable. We put our leftover groceries as well as booze from Sandy Villas in the fridge as well as watched a couple of movies on the laptop before going to bed.
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Hanging out by the remarkable pool. Stalis, Crete, Greece.
The next day we got up as well as took the bus to Herisinisos, (about 10 minutes) to scout out a rental car. After going to about 6 different locations we realized that the cost was quite common around the town (20 Euro, completely insured) so we opted for a beauty Hyundai Prime. about the size of a suitcase, it was blue (Dariece’s option in the absence of pink) as well as really drove a great deal like a bit go-cart.
We very first took the cars and truck to Knossos, an ancient Minoan village that has been colonized for over 7000 years. The site was extremely great however most likely over brought back by its over-imaginative founding archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. There were small fragments of paintings discovered which he handled to take as well as make into excellent murals depicting what he believed would have been the ancient portrait or scene. It’s a great deal like when astrologists take a 4 star constellation as well as insurance claim it to be a wild bucking bull.
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About an hour after we shown up in Knossos the sky closed in as well as a quite wicked rainstorm was underway by the time we were heading back to the car. On the method house we stopped at our new preferred grocery store, Carrefour, where we chosen up a couple of bottles of wine for just 1 euro or $1.40 each!! We should have bought the whole pallet…what were we thinking?
Dariece waiting on the bus. Stalis, Crete, Greece.We like renting a car! Cruising with Crete, Greece.Ruins of Knossos. Crete, Greece.Some vases at Knossos. Crete, Greece.
The next day we woke up early (9:30) as well as packed up our cars and truck as well as headed out on one more road trip, however very first we had to fill up the gas! now I understand we’ve always complained about the expense of petrol in Canada being $1.20 a litre, well we are damn lucky. The gas right here is 1.74 euros/ litre. That’s $2.40 per litre! making that bit Hyundai seem like rather the gas guzzler.
We put in 30 bucks as well as got less than a quarter storage tank in that bit go cart. Anyway, we drove out to a lovely region of Crete called the Lesithi Plateau. The method there was up, up, up so we were watching the gas storage tank go down, down, down however when we reached the top we were able to coastline on any type of downhill parts of the road. any type of time we hit a hill we’d shout “COASTAL ROAD” as well as put it in neutral as well as coastline up until the cars and truck almost reached a stop in a feeble attempt to save gas.
The views however, were stunning. in spite of the cloudy, somewhat rainy weather, the rich eco-friendly valley looked beautiful. We passed with village after village where the road turned into a bit lane right with the center of the village as well as the pavement altered to cobblestone as we past with bit cafes as well as restaurants. We went into into some more traditional Greek way of lives with shepherds herding sheep as well as farmers cutting crops. At one point, a herd of a hundred or so sheep totally blocked the road as well as we just had to wait while they passed with the cling clang of their neck hung bells.
Stopping off for some lunch. Lasithi Plateau, Crete, Greece.Sheep blocking the road. Lasithi Plateau, Crete, Greece.
Once they cleared we headed to Dikteon Cave, stated to be the birthplace of Zeus. We’ve seen lots of caves in our travels as well as although no cave will ever top the Jietta Gorotto in Lebanon, theynever get old. The cave was lovely as well as as we went into the mouth of the cave we promptly started descending directly down on a meandering wooden staircase that snaked its method past the stalagmites.
This cave was fascinating since its entrance was on such a steep decline that it was almost like a hole in the rock rather than a cave. inside there were the ponds as well as creeks typical to those kinds of caves, which show the lovely formations off their calm, glass-like surface. On the method back from the caves we passed numerous white sailed windmills that were developed in the early 17th century.
Apparently there utilized to be 20,000 of them, however have just recently been torn down for more farm land as well as more efficient, contemporary means of irrigation. inside one of the villages we stopped for lunch at a traditional Greek tavern. We had a tasty meal of feta cheese, pork gyros with pita, tzatziki, bread, as well as a carafe of red wine. It was delicious.
Heading in to the Dikteon Cave. Lasithi Plateau, Crete, Greece.
Inside Dikteon Cave. Lasithi Plateau, Crete, Greece.Nick entering the famous Dikteon Cave, obviously where Zeus was born. Lasithi Plateau, Crete, Greece.
mmm, bread, tzatziki dip, gyros as well as red wine. A perfect Greek lunch! Lasithi Plateau, Crete, Greece.
On day 3 in Crete we had yet one more road trip. this time around all the method to the southern end of the island, to an old hippy hangout called Matala. Matala is now a busy tourist town with bit of its hippy appeal remaining, other than the general chilled vibe as well as the lovely beach which is lined with a wall of rock cut caves that have been utilized for shelter for numerous years…including a sleeping hole for hippies up up until about 10 years back when regional authorities put a stop to it. This is likely one of the most lovely beaches in Greece if you’re just looking for a chilled out vibe.
We basically just laid on the beach all the time relaxing, sometimes breaking our reading to venture 100 meters into the Carrefour to buy some snacks as well as beer. A tough life it is this backpacking. We were never able to peel ourselves off our sunbeds to see the caves though, which were likewise only 100 meters away… perhaps if they offered beer in the caves we would have made it.
Dariece enjoying the beach. Matala, Crete, Greece.
Amazing tree art! Matala, Crete, Greece.A completely carved face. Matala, Crete, Greece.
So the very first half of our Crete experience was over. Crete is such a significant island we had to lease a cars and truck as well as we had to split the island in two. costs half of our time in La Luna hotel on the east coast, as well as then the other half in Balito hotel on the west coast. After seeing all we needed to see in the east we packed our things, checked out as well as started the simplest travel day of our backpacking careers.
Usually on a travel day we have to pack whatever neatly in our bags, hoist them on our backs, as well as hike down to a bus, which usually takes us to the bus station, then we switch buses as well as take a bus to our destination, usually complied with by one more bus or cab to our hotel. Well not today. We just tossed all our stuff in the cars and truck as well as slowly made our method across the island. Stopping for photos as well as pees whenever we desired (aka whenever Dariece wanted) it was so easy.
Sometimes we believe it would be nice if we might always lease a car, however because of the expense it would most likely cut our trip length down substantially. nevertheless it is nice when we have one. now we were off to the village of Kato Galatas in the west of Crete where we will deal with that half of this large island.
We shown up at Balito Hotel at around 2:00 pm as well as the friendly owner who called herself Greek mom showed us a couple of rooms. We selected a lovely apartment with kitchen, tv, a/c, huge bed, as well as significant balcony that dealt with the sunset. turns out you can’t go wrong with spaces in Greece, the location was significant as well as spotless as well as only expense about $32/ night. about twice more than we like to spend on spaces however well worth it for the cost. The very first day there we just hungout by the pool ate a gyro dinner at a regional restaurant, as well as watched some TV on our couch before calling it a night.
One of the remarkable meals we made at our apartment: spaghetti with meatballs as well as regional Greek red wine.
Cheers! at our apartment in Kato Galatas, Crete, Greece.
The next morning we woke up at around 9:00 am as well as made ourselves a nice huge breakfast as we have done the entire time in Greece. Bacon (impossible to discover in the middle East), eggs, baked beans on toast for me, as well as yogurt, fruit as well as eggs for Dariece. always gone along with by espresso cafe au lait’s, which I have to admit are instant, however still delicious.
We left around 10 am as well as headed for Elafonisi beach on the southwest corner of the island. Elafonisi is famous for its pink sand. When we shown up we were surprised to see that barely any type of of the increased colored sand remained. Years of sand thieves as well as tourist shops selling the unique grains have depleted the supply to a few streaks near the shore line.
The beach nevertheless was beautiful. Crystal remove water rimmed the many sandbars that snaked there method out to Elafonisi Island. We just walked in ankle deep, turquoise sea for a few hundred meters to the island itself. The weather condition was cloudy as well as overcast most of the day however it broke up at around 3:00 to expose the true beauty of the beach.
A beach is like a flower in that way, its true colors only radiate with when kissed by the sun. The minute the clouds parted we grabbed the cameras as well as took some photos before the sky converged when more as well as began to rain. We ran back to the cars and truck as well as headed back to our apartment where we drank wine, ate feta as well as tzatziki as well as bread, as well as watched TV up until bed time.
Beautiful Elafonisi Beach. Crete, Greece.
Jumping for joy on Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece.
Goats On The road enjoying a day at Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece.
Day 3 on the west end of Crete we headed out to lovely Balos Beach. once again the clouds loomed overhead with an ominous darkness that sometimes poured rain on our small car. however once again when we shown up at the beach the sun parted the clouds only for about 30 minutes, just long sufficient to swim as well as take some pictures of one of the most lovely beaches we’ve ever seen.
Hiking down to the beach from where we parked the cars and truck we might see the deep blue of the Mediterranean as well as its lovely rocky shore. however when we came around the last bend on our 2km hike we lastly saw what we came all this method for as well as it was truly breathtaking. The cliffs tumbled down to the sea, exposing a sliver of perfect white sand that cut with the emerald bay.
The narrow sandbar had nothing however a few umbrellas as well as chairs as well as we were actually the very first people down to the beach. We never get tired of stunning beaches as well as this was one for the books. unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy it long since when once again the clouds came as well as began to soak us on our walk back up the hill to the car.
Amazing Balos Beach. Crete, Greece.
Nick enjoying the 30 minutes of sun at stunning Balos Beach, Crete, Greece.
Dariece at lovely Balos Beach, Crete, Greece.
Day 4 started early, truly early, at 6:30am we caught the bus from Hania to Samaria Gorge. When we shown up there was only our bus tons as well as a few other tourists at the mouth of the gorge where we bought our tickets as well as began the hike. The morning mist was just lifting from the dew soaked valley as the sun peaked up from behind its large rock deal with walls. The morning was perfect as well as was the only time when we had any type of kind of area between us as well as other tourists.
We stopped at around 10 for some brunch near a little waterfall just off the trail. That’s when the hordes arrived. numerous hikers from around Crete descended on the path as well as all of us ended up being ants in a row making our method to the colony. In this situation the colony was the town of Agia Roumeli at the end of the hike.
Looking down at the valley where we would be hiking. Samaria Gorge, Crete, Greece.
Us getting prepared for our long hike at Samaria Gorge. Crete, Greece.
The hike retained its beauty, however lost its serenity, as w