Eleftherios Venizelos, Therisso
The first Prime Minister of Crete
Once again, another hot and sunny day dawned in Chania. Another day lay ahead with the fine prospect of a pleasant walk with stunning mountain views, remote paths, Greek food and flowers.
As on other days, breakfast was followed by ensuring the water bottles were full of ice cold water and the correct map was to hand and the compass(es) stowed appropriately.
Taking the bus out of Chania, I headed up into the foothills of the White Mountains, alighting in Therisso, a little village deep in the heart of the mountains, hanging on to a little ridge.
Despite being so remote, this little village is close to the heart of many Cretans as it was here that Cretan independence from the Turks was realised, the revolutionary leader (Eleftherios Venizelos) becoming the first Prime Minister of a Crete unified with Greece. Indeed, his photograph can be seen in many of Chania's establishments.
After viewing his statue, I set off up the road, climbing in the early morning heat before plunging into the welcome relief of the trees.
Heading through the shade, I gingerly made my way along an old and somewhat overgrown but beautiful path before reaching
an open vista and a small rocky outcrop where I stopped in the sun for water. Heading steeply uphill, I eventually reached the road and was greeted by an amazing view towards Zourva and Lakki. Even today, the area is remote and local clans rule supreme, evidenced by the road sign somewhat peppered with buckshot!
After more water, I set off down the hill eventually coming to a little dirt track leading to a large goat house. There, the farmer was trying to push a reluctant billy into a goat house full of nannies; you could almost hear the billy demanding another five minute's rest before returning to the fray!
Wading through chickens, sheep and goats, I joined a narrow goat track, skirted a rocky bluff and made my way through a wooded gulley. Disappearing between a Plane tree and a Cretan Cypress, I slipped into a wood and, thankfully, more shade before coming to a spring.
Even though cool, clear water seeped from the rock, the presence of so may mosquitoes was enough for me to refrain from sampling such delights and, reluctantly, I resorted to my now warm water.
Resting briefly, I continued uphill
View over Lakki
Apparently, the road signs are replaced two or three times a year
along a sunken mule path ascending and zigzagging through the trees.
Finally, with lunch in sight, I reached the road and passed through Zourva, stopping at an excellent little taverna towards the far end of the village. Everything for lunch was produced by the owner, including the eggs (for the omelette), the sausage and the cheese. Only the beer was imported - from Holland!
After lunch, I headed back into the woods and, whilst steadily going downhill, kept my eyes peeled for the flowers promised in the books. Sadly, as it had been a cold spring, followed by heavy rains and a hot May, the flowers had been and gone pretty much in a matter of weeks. Nevertheless, some Orchids and Gladioli were still in flower, as were the Dragon Lilies - though sometimes smelt and not seen!
Finally, the large church of Meskla came into view, its red dome clearly visible through the trees. In its shadow, I waited for the bus to take me back to Chania, a shower, an evening meal and a rest!
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