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Published: September 15th 2017
Note: the panoramic photos at the start of the blog change every 7/10 seconds and give a larger and clearer image than when viewed with the other photos. Also, there are more photos below the text if you want to skip the diary details; and if you double click on any of the photos you will get an enlarged, clearer, image. You can return to the text anytime.
Wednesday 13th September: off to Paleochora on the south coast of the island. An easy 28 mile journey through the mountains; via the spectacular Topolia Gorge where the road is reduced to a single lane tunnel along the wall of the gorge. This time the traffic light control system wasn't working so access to the single lane section was manually directed. Then we went up and over a mountain range, through endless olive plantations and down to the valley leading through the village of Kandanos to the sea at Paleochora. We stopped for coffee in Kandanos which we knew well from previous visits to Crete; it's one of the villages that the Germans had destroyed during the war in reprisal for the deaths of several soldiers by the Cretan resistance.
On the way to Paleochora
Interestingly this village has memorials to both the German dead as well as the Cretan dead. Also, near Kandanos was a roadside stall where previously we'd bought some excellent thyme honey and honey raki; and happily it was in the same location as before so we were able to buy new supplies. Then it was down the 9 mile valley/gorge to the coast and Paleochora where we had lunch followed by an exhilarating swim (for me) in the rough seas: remembering to stay well within my depth. Afterwards we went to a cafe overlooking the beach that we'd visited on previous visits to Paleochora and it was nice that the waiter (owner?) remembered us. The drive back to Kissamos was easy and we spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening on the beach in front of our hotel.
Thursday 14th September: I'd seen a sign in the Stelios & Katina Restaurant about a photo exhibition that was being held at a place called Merada near Kissamos, and when I looked it up on our map there was a nearby village called Lousakies which was shown as having a good viewpoint. As we'd seen a signpost for Lousakies
On the road to Paleochora
Heading down the 9 mile hill from Kandanos to Paleochora
in Kissamos Town we decided it give it a try (the satnav is invariably useless when it comes to little villages and hamlets as either they are not on the data base or the spelling is different). Our well detailed Michelin map doesn't show all the lanes and roads but we were able to find Lousakies and the probable viewpoint; which was very special as the panoramic photo of Kissamos Bay shows. Then we carried on through a couple more hamlets until we came out on the main road near Platanos on the way to Falasarna, where we'd planned to spend our penultimate day in Western Crete. However, we saw a signpost for Sfinari which I thought that I'd read something positive about and as it was only 7 km away we thought that we'd have a look. The road was spectacular, halfway up the end of the western mountain range which sloped quite steeply all the way to the coast. It was a long 7 km, even allowing for the twists and turns in the road, and it took us at least 20 minutes to get to Sfinari. There wasn't much to see when we got there, just a
shingle beach which faced west and exposed to the strong wind coming from that direction. We stopped just long enough to take a photo of the rugged coast and then headed back the way we came and on to Falasarna for a last swim on the very nice beach there: and another delicious lunch at the taverna above the beach. The sea here was a lot calmer than our previous visit, and much quieter than along the cost at Sfinari, but there were still some half decent waves to allow me to do some body surfing. We returned to Kissamos quite early so that Jane could go for a swim there in the flat calm water of Milos Beach; where our hotel is located (I don't know why it's called the Aphrodite Beach Hotel especially as Aphrodite was supposed to come from Cyprus not Crete). A final dinner at a restaurant we hadn't tried previously but which turned out well then back to hotel for our last night: sorry to leave.
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