Published: September 15th 2012September 12th 2012
What with delayed planes and the amount of time it took for baggage to appear, I was five hours late in getting to bed after having arrived in Crete from Manchester. I was so tired that nothing short of an earthquake would wake me.
At 06h30, a magnitude 5.5 earthquake woke me. Furniture rattled and my bed shook even though the quake lasted only a few seconds. This was certainly going to be a fun trip!
Before breakfast, I headed into town to get a copy of the bus timetable - from the new bus station. This was described to me as being in the second square, not the first
. When I eventually found it, it was actually in a lay-by! Fortunately, inspection of the timetable revealed that the buses I would be using were not running on the winter
After breakfast, I booked a taxi to take me to Polyrinnia - the start of the day's walk - and went for a quick walk around town to see whether anything else had moved since my last visit. It appeared that everything was as I'd left it and so, before returning to the hotel, I purchased a
At exactly midday, my taxi driver arrived. As lunch would have it, he'd also brought a taxi with him. The drive up from Kastelli into the hills was uneventful (and slow) but within quarter of an hour, I was standing beneath the vines of the Odysseas Taverna. Later in the week, I would be back sampling the fruits of those vines.
Leaving the taverna, I walked through the little village and into an open square containing the parish offices. Opposite was a ruined building with three impressive arches.
Passing this ruin, I turned through what appeared to be somebody's garden before finding a little footpath taking me up the hill. Concrete steps helped but these soon gave way to a partly cobbled path which continued to climb, sometimes steeply, eventually coming out on a plateau upon which was sited the Church of the 99 Saints. From this viewpoint, there were impressive sea views.
Continuing up the path, I passed my first obvious signs of archaeology when I passed through ruined ancient walls, eventually coming to the smaller church of John the Baptist. In the shade, a drink and packed lunch was welcome, especially with
the views afforded.
After the epicurean delights of a spinach pie and (warm) water, I continued up towards the summit before returning to the chapel and, eventually, the Odysseas Taverna, where a drink was taken without too much persuasion.
Leaving my empty bottle, I left the village by a phone box, cutting down a track and cutting off a corner. After walking a short distance along the road, I did the same again and cut down a dust track. This continued downwards towards the dry valley bottom before turning around and climbing up the other side of the valley.
Once on the ridge, I simply followed the path whatever! Barking dogs and donkeys did nothing to stop me in my quest of reaching the hotel, not even a newly built house sitting over the location of the footpath would stop me. In fact, nothing did - I made it to the hotel in good time to shower and change before heading out for a meal!
There are more photos below