05.22: Mini Road Trip East Crete 2

Chiona And Xerokambos

4th & 5th May 2022

We started the day with a run. Fab views over the Chiona Bay.  Set off on a walk up to the Peak Sanctuary associated with the Minoan site of Palaikastro, but it was super steep and full of loose stones.  We aborted, but still skidded our way down.  James landed heavily, which for a diminishing man (loosing weight … I’m not!), is quite a feat.  He has the bottom bruise to show for it.

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Views from our aborted walk, the Peak required peak fitness!

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Relocated to Xerkambos.  3 sandy beaches but only inhabited by a Dutch man being shot blasted by the sand.  I chatted with his wife about the treasures of Crete.  They are here for 2 months, will leave the car and return in September by plane to save the ferry expenses.  It is sunny still but the winds are at 37kmph and gusting at over 60.  The van is facing the wind and the hab door tied back.  We are passing the time with walks to the beaches and  the salt lake and coffee / wine in one of the 2 tavernas.  I dont much fancy driving Jez in these winds so were are here another night.  

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The cafe yesterday brought us a tasty advert  … lemon chicken and potatoes. We shall eat here on night 2.

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Our Xerkambos parking for 2 nights.

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The salt lake.  

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Even the taverna staff were bringing in the tables and chairs due to the winds.

Voila, but with a Greek accent, Kapsa Monastery and Gorge

6th May 2022

A stunning drive up over the hills.  We had been this way before, but in a hurry.  We had been headed for Ierapetra to get new acquired Corrie her booster injections and have no memory of how remarkable the scenery was.  We tend to think the west of Crete has the best scenery, but this area is special.  

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Up in the hills it was a short detour to an abandoned Medieval village with a Venetian fountain, called Voila.  Wondered if it had a French connection.  Chatted to a lovely Greek dog walker who explained that one property had been pretty much restored so people could see what the interior looked like.  She was a geologist who worked in hotels. Time again we find people with degrees as Doctors, teachers etc who cannot get work in their field or it is better paid to work in tourism.  

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Then the day didn’t quite go to plan.  We parked up by the Kapsa Monastery.  Incredible location, hanging in rocks.  Got chatting to two lovely Canadian couples who had flown their bikes in.  Needless to say they looked super fit and lean.  But whilst chewing the fat (ours not theirs!), we watched a chap arrive by car … as we were about to go into to the monastery and chapel, he came out and told us it was now closed.  10 minutes early too!  

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Kapsa Monastary.

Lunch back in the van.  J nanny napped and then we walked back along the road to the Pervolakia Gorge.  We managed to scrabble up quite a few boulders before calling a halt.  Corrie being a Greek mountain goat, bounds up and over, stopping periodically to check we are still coming.  Oscar, our solid plodder, however, was struggling to find purchase with his claws.  And after a a bit of a slide down a large rock, I called a halt.  It’s quite handy being able to blame the dog for our not completing a 9km there and back gorge walk.  I did read after that this gorse is considered challenging.  Note to self, do thorough research first!

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Pervolakia Gorge … looks easy at the mouth!

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Cave Dog.  Otherwise known as Hanibel Lecter!!!  

The muzzle is to stop him eating everything … bones, poop etc.  We can’t seem to get through to him that he wouldn’t have to wear it if he refrained from making himself ill.

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We bimbled further west along the south coast looking for a remote spot to stay.  All the turnings looked too rough of narrow, so we ended up in Makrigiolos.  Our hearts dropped on arrival as it was wall to wall hotel complex.  But we knew there was a car park along side the beach.  And it was right on the beach.  And the original, much more charming,  part of the village was from here on.  An ice cream and a glass of wine helped us forget the horrors of hotel complexes.  But the wine wasn’t sufficient to knock us out so we didn’t hear the 2.00 a.m. revellers walking past.  Why is it drunk people have not quiet button?


Pefka Gorge

7th May 2022

Just a little way back into the modern part of Makrigiolos is the start of the Pefka Gorge.  Billed as being much more accessible.  We knew we wouldn’t make it all the way to the top as it was over 6 km each way.  And today was warm.  Now I’m going to blame Oscar again!!!  Corrie being Greek, sun bathes in direct heat at 32C.  Oscar melts at 20C.  I prune his fur but he still pants.  And we had an incident a few weeks back where he had a mini fit from over heating.  So we are careful of him.  So we made it a little way up the gorge before deciding O had had enough!  Lunch was back in the old part of Makrigiolos.  

This was our last activity before heading back home.  Dropping and emptying the van at the secure airport parking.  Picking up the car and heading back to Almyrida.  We’d had a great trip and it totally reminded us of why a) we love touring in Jez and b) how wonderfully diverse Crete is and c) how Oscar can be blamed for everything!

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 View of Makrigiolos from the Pefka Gorge.  The walk was more along the top of it than in it.

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Bonus pic … not every day you get to see James’ bottom!  His bruise from where he slid coming down a mountain is developing nicely!