Blogs from Chania, Crete, Greece, Europe

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Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania July 10th 2019

We sleep late after yesterday’s hiking exertions. I’m keen to visit Ancient Aptera, which is an archaeological site about 15km east of Chania. Issy appears not to share my enthusiasm. She says she’s been to a few too many ruins expecting to see Pompeii, only to end up trying to imagine a glorious ancient city based on the remains of a few columns lying in the grass. I think that this is slightly harsh, but I would have to concede that we have indeed been to a few sites over the years that would fit that description. I set off following signposts towards the “New National Road” which is the major highway that looks to run the full length of the northern side of the island. I wonder how new it is, and whether it will ... read more
Roman Theatre, Ancient Aptera
Monastery complex, Ancient Aptera
Chania Old Town

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania » Sougia July 9th 2019

We are up at 5am for our long awaited day of hiking through the Agia Irini Gorge. I think that maybe it’s only me that the “long awaited” bit applies to; I suspect “long dreaded” may be more Issy’s take on the subject. We are picked up just before 6am, and we join a busload full of fellow hikers for the long drive up into the White Mountains where our hike will start. We originally considered hiking the 16 km long Samaria Gorge, which is apparently the longest Gorge in Europe, before deciding that the Agia Irini, at a paltry 7.5 km, was a bit more our style. We assume that everyone else on the bus is also a fellow Agia Irini hiker, but we soon discover that it is only us and one other couple ... read more
Entrance to Samaria Gorge
Agia Irini Gorge
Agia Irini Gorge

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania July 8th 2019

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 ... read more
Yannis Beach
Nature
The Legendary Iguana Beach

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania July 7th 2019

We’re tired after yesterday’s long drive, so we sleep in. We really sleep in; we miss lunch. Issy wants to spend most of the day relaxing. She must really want to relax; she says she’s even willing to let me go out driving here on my own. I did happen to mention something about a monastery which may have played a small part in her decision. Issy’s not really into monasteries. I head off out through endless rows of olive trees and grapevines to the Agia Triada Monastery which is on the Akrotiri Peninsula north east of Chania. I read that it was built in the early 17th century by two Venetian brothers. Its church has three domes and has been built in the Byzantine architectural style. The monks live in rooms off the cloisters surrounding ... read more
Agia Triada Monastery
Agia Triada Monastery
Agia Triada Monastery

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania » Palaiochora July 6th 2019

Today we decide to head to Elafonissi Beach which is in the remote and very sparsely inhabited far south west corner of Crete. Google Maps says that it should take us just under an hour and a half to get there. It seems that this estimate assumes that you actually have Google Maps in your car, and that you’re not instead relying on following your nose and Greek road signs. We can’t even find the main highway. We think we’ve found it, but the backroad we’re on then just takes us through a bridge under it and up into some remote mountain villages. We read yesterday about vendettas and lawlessness in some remote parts of the island. We don’t particularly want to experience any of this first hand so we do a U turn and head ... read more
Elafonissi Beach
Elafonissi Beach
Monastery of Panaghia Chrysoskalitissa

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania July 5th 2019

We’re a bit tired after a long day of travelling yesterday, so Issy glues herself to a lounge under an umbrella next to the hotel pool. Every effort to prise her loose fails, so I take the opportunity to read up a bit about Crete on the ever reliable Wikipedia. Crete is a serious island. It‘s the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean. Its major historical significance is as the centre of Europe‘s first advanced civilisation, the Minoans, who apparently thrived here from 2,700 to 1,420 BC. They then declined or disappeared, and one theory is that they were wiped out by the Thera eruption which created the famous Santorini caldera. That must have been some eruption; Santorini is more than 150 kms away. The Mycenaeans from mainland Greece were the ... read more
Sunset, Chania Old Town Harbour
Chania Old Town
Presentation of the Virgin Mary Holy Metropolitan Orthodox Church, Chania Old Town main square

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania July 4th 2019

Today we have a very long day of travelling from the Dead Sea all the way to Crete. We are up at 5am just as the sun is rising, and the views of the Palestinian hills as the sun is hitting them for the first time today are stunning. Google Maps has done an about face since we arrived here about the best way to get to the airport, and this time we head off up the highway towards Amman. This is a lot busier than the dusty backroads we came here on. There are a lot fewer goats and donkeys to worry about, but a lot more trucks, most of which are struggling to pull themselves out of the deep Jordan Valley up to sea level and beyond. I think I preferred the donkeys and ... read more

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania » Platanias July 27th 2018

I'm pretty sure, that everybody knows myths and legends about Greece, it's Gods and Goddess, olive oil and of course Greek salad. And that is true. Greece (in my case island Crete) is the place where you'll leave a small part of your heart, it's real so. We spent one week on Crete, but it wasn't enough. So many tours and places-to-visit that we were confused, but just a little bit. And we decided to start with walking through Planatanias, near Chania. Actually, this is the place we lived in. If you aren't fond of crowd of tourists (be ready for this), turn round the corner and you'll see true Crete. The first place we have visited wasn't a beach (unexpectedly?), it was a family tavern “Drakiana” located quite far from the center. A small remark, ... read more
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Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania » Sougia June 2nd 2017

Our travels focused on the west and SW of Crete: Chania, Sougia and Loutro Chania has an old city centre which although quite touristy, has a real charm. It was our introduction to the island with some great, and inexpensive, food. We then headed to the southern coast to enjoy some strenuous walking. Samaria is a 16 km gorge which ends on the coast. Several other hikes were coastal paths, parts of E4, with panoramic views along the coast. Sometimes the walks ended with a swim and a boat ride back to the start. At Marmara beach, when the rain had set in, the local taverna owner invited us all into the kitchen out of the rain and turned up the music! Hilarious! With beers and Raki too! Loutro was a really delightful, boat access only ... read more
Samaria gorge
Samaria Path
Loutro harbour

Europe » Greece » Crete » Chania October 3rd 2016

Oli kuuma päivä. Aamupalan jälkeen Jukka meni uimaan mereen, minä hotellin uima-altaaseen. Lähdettiin liikkeelle vasta klo 14. Ajettiin ensin kasvitieteelliseen puutarhaan, joka oli majapaikasta noin 20 km etelään. Se oli rinteessä. Meille riitti lyhyempi kierros. Sieltä jatkettiin Chaniaan. Auto jätettiin parkkiin keskustan länsipuolelle. Käytiin syömässä. Löytyi pyöräilyaiheinen baari. Lopuksi rantaa pitkin autolle. Kotimatkalla tankkaus ja supermarketista ruokaa aamuksi.... read more
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