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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 » Plakias October 1st 2018

Note: there are more photos below the text if you want to skip the diary. Also, if you double click on any of the photos you will get an enlarged image and you will be transferred to the photo gallery where you can scroll through all the photos. You can return to the text anytime. Thursday 27th September Not much to report nor even display as the weather was not very good. There was intermittent rain throughout the day and we got caught in a couple of light showers when we went for a walk in Plakias town. We had a light lunch of vegetable soup which one member of our team did not rate very highly on account of lack of taste; although I thought it was ok. The view from the restaurant was also ... read more
Plakias to Agios Pavlos
Sleeping Dragon at Agios Pavlos
Agios Pavlos Hotel logo

Europe » Greece » Crete » Plakias September 26th 2018

Reminder: the panoramic photos at the start of the blog change every 7/8 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. Tuesday 25th September: As the weather forecast for the rest of the week was not looking good, high winds and rain, we decided to make the most of the good weather and go for a walk to the church of Timios Stavros at the top of the mountain overlooking Damnoni Beach. Since our last visit in May the track leading to the start point of the walk, halfway ... read more
First select a mountain
Start climbing
Get to the top, and the church of Timios Stavros

Europe » Greece » Crete » Plakias September 24th 2018

Note: there are more photos below the text if you want to skip the diary. Also, if you double click on any of the photos you will get an enlarged image and you will be transferred to the photo gallery where you can scroll through all the photos. You can return to the text anytime. Sunday 23 September Things went very smoothly on the way to Bristol Airport, no delays or diversions, but when we called the Park&Go meet and greet service there was no answer. Several more calls and still no response, also no sign of a representative at the Express Drop-off where we were supposed to hand over the car. Fortunately the very helpful lady on duty at the Airport Information Desk saved the day. She took the details of our meet and greet ... read more
Plakias Bay
Damnoni Beach
Amoudi Beach on the right and Damnoni in the centre background




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