Yesterday we travelled from the south west end of Crete to the north east. As far as possible really. Our day began with an early wake up screach from the alarm. Dreadful racket. We walked over to the bus depot along a very windy harbour front. The sky was clear though, the last of the stars blinking out as the sun began to rise. Sitting
outside the depot awaiting our bus, we were greeted by a frolicking lamb. A tiny wee thing that came over to snif us before returning to its dog companions. The strangest thing. The lamb’s tiny hooves clicking on the sidewalk as it leapt about between us and playing with the dogs. The dogs were smaller than the lamb. Their owner finished his coffee, scooped up the lamb and popped the whole menagerie into his pick up truck and drove away with a smile. We’d of course been taking pictures and ohing and awing.
The bus arrived and left on time. It arrived in Hania on time. Once there, we ate some of our enormous packed breakfast that the owner of our hotel had made for us the evening before. The next bus left on time and a few hours later arrived in Heraklion on time.
We did a bit of grocery shopping before catching our third bus which also departed on time. The scenery became more agricultural as we travelled east. This is one of the most important olive growing areas in Greece. Perhaps the world? Besides olive trees there is rock and scrub land. The coast was dramatic as the storm of the last few days continues to blow furiously.
We arrived at our last bus stop – Sitia – on time and were met by our taxi driver. The last 46 Kms of the trip has no bus service at this time of year so our hotel host had booked us this ride.
There are at least three great doubters out there who were pretty sure it was not possible to make this trip by bus in one day. Well folks – Crete busses are clean and comfortable and seem to run on schedule.
The last few kilometres felt like we were travelling to the very ends of the earth. The road was however new and smooth (part of the Greek dept to the EU perhaps?) Soon we were rounding a corner high above the sea and there below us in a tiny green valley at the head of a beautiful bay lay Kato Zakros. The edge of the bay was frothing with huge waves and we could see the palm trees bending under the enslaught of the gale.
Down into the hamlet we went, then out again on a much smaller single lane track and eventually up to a treed courtyard – we had arrived. So far a 12 hour day.
We’re tired. We meet our lovely land lady, Stella. It’s bitterly cold. She shows us into our charming room, it’s freezing. There’s no power. It’s been out all day due to the storm. The wind is too strong for the crews to get it fixed any time soon. Maybe tonight but more likely not.
Kathy and I just have to laugh! This trip has presented so many weather related calamities, why not another!? We get changed and Stella drives us back down the hill into the hamlet so she can show us her recommended taverna for us to get dinner. She will meet us there later with candles and a lighter for our room. We have taken our head lamps so we’ll be able to find our way home in the dark after dinner. On the way we stop to put a few stepping stones across a large area of the road that is flooded by a creek rushing down the gorge we’ve come all this way to hike! Stella locates a bamboo pole and insists we bring it with us. Presumably it’s to be a walking stick, not a weapon.
Dinner is great. But when we are looking at the menue we notice sword fish and think that would be perfect. The owner hears us and comes over to explain that no one went fishing today or yesterday in the storm. Well don’t we feel a bit stupid! I think North Americans can sometimes be a bit disconnected from the immediacy of food sourcing that many people take for granted. Rough ocean, no fishing, no sword fish for dinner. We have souvlaki instead and it is delicious.
We also have a bit more wine than usual so our return journey in the pitch black, our way lit by the comparatively feeble glow of our head lamps, wind raging around us seems unduly hilarious. We negotiate the flooded road. Me with the aid of our bamboo stick. Kathy just scampering across in the water! We hadn’t noticed all the wee side roads previously and there are a few but we find our way. Passing by a huge archeological dig at an ancient Minoan palace and safely arriving at our dark little home.
We climb into beds warmed by hot water (propane stove) in our drinking bottles. And so ends a rather long but as usual very interesting day. We wonder what more surprises await us on this trip.