The Legendary Iguana Beach

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July 8th 2019
Published: July 9th 2019
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We have booked a big day of hiking tomorrow, so in preparation for this we decide that we will spend today relaxing on a nearby beach. We walk along the road from the hotel to inspect a couple of possible candidate beaches, before settling on one in a quiet cove sheltered from the breeze. Signs tell us that it is called ”The Legendary Iguana Beach”. It seems to be well colour co-ordinated at least; the signs are all in red, yellow and green, as are most of the umbrellas and sunlounges. We rent a package of two sunlounges and an umbrella for ten Euro and settle in for the day. The man who seems to have invented the rules for sunlounge rental here tells us that if we only wanted one sunlounge and an umbrella this would have only cost us five Euro. This would seem to imply that the umbrellas are free. I think about asking him if we can just have a free umbrella and lie on the sand, but I sense that Issy might not be all that happy with this arrangement, so in the interests of matrimonial harmony I decide to keep this thought to myself.

I Google “The Legendary Iguana Beach”. It seems that the “creator of Iguana Beach” was someone called George, and the site says that he created it in 1996 after wandering the world for two decades looking for inspiration. I wonder what was here before 1996. I doubt that God would have left a few blank hectares in His creation just on the off chance that George might turn up millions of years later and plonk a beach here. I then decide that it might be better if I moved on to thinking about something else.

We relax, sleep and take the occasional dip on what is a very pleasant sandy beach.

I decide to go for a wander to take some photos. There’s a Greek Orthodox Church on the headland on one side of the beach, and a tiny shrine in the middle of the road leading up to the church. We’ve noticed a lot of tiny and model miniature churches on the sides of the roads here. Apparently these are sometimes built to remember accident victims, or built by survivors of accidents to give thanks for their survival. This tiny church has barely enough room to fit one person. Issy says that maybe it’s a confessional. If so, you’d be confessing either to yourself or directly to the Almighty.

I wander through long grass along the headland on the other side of the beach, thankful that I’m not back in Oz where if I did this I’d be at high risk of having some deadly serpent sink its fangs into one of my legs. I thought I might have read somewhere that there weren’t any deadly snakes in Crete, but now I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I’d confused this with Ireland. I’m not sure why I would have done that, as I’d never get Issy to go to Ireland; it’s too cold. I Google “snakes in Crete”, and I’m relieved to find that there are in fact no dangerous snakes here. Whilst I’m not entirely sure that this particular website’s author is a trained herpetologist, he does have a couple of interesting observations to share. There are apparently only four species of snakes on Crete. One of them, the European Cat Snake, is “rare in Crete”. Apparently it’s so rare that he goes on to add that he’s “never heard of anyone who has seen one”. I’m sure I must be missing something here in wanting to know how anyone knows that there’s any of them here if no one’s ever seen one. You’d apparently be most likely to come across another of the four species, the European Rat Snake, “Lying on the road in the evening”. No problem there though as apparently “more often than not, they’ll be dead, having been driven over”.

Tomorrow’s hike is through Agia Irini Gorge, and Issy asks me what she needs to bring, and for some more details of the itinerary. I tell her that it’s an eight kilometre hike, and that we’re being picked up at 5.50am, and dropped back at the hotel at about 8pm. Her reaction suggests that I may have neglected to mention some of the finer details about this previously. She asks for some assurance that the activity won’t kill her. I’m not sure I’m sufficiently qualified to give such an undertaking, so I take the safe approach and pretend that I didn‘t hear the question.

We again catch the bus into Chania Old Town and dine at a restaurant on the waterfront. Last night we were each offered a single shot of raki as a digestif, and just managed to stagger home. Tonight’s offering is a full carafe. I’m now struggling to focus, and the stumble back to the bus stop is a blur.

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