With the opportunity of my visit in the beautiful Crete, my hospitable friend Stelios proposed one more tour. The arrival of George P. was a pleasant surprise, member of the travel companion of MotoAdventures. The welcome formula is well known: meet George P. At the port, a visit to eat the local pie (chaniotiki mpougatsa) at our known haunt and after that the first coffee of the day at any traditional coffee shop that is open at 7 o’clock in the morning, with main topic –what else?- traveling, past and future travelling!
Around 9 o’clock, George P. left for a social obligation and we returned at home in order to plan our tour and get ready for it. Around 11 we were already on the coastal road to Kissamos, heading west, with a view of Chania and Kissamos bay. It’s 10 years past since I last drove in this route and it was a different season. Without tourists and heavy traffic, the images were completely different back then, giving the landscape a spell.
Just after Kissamos, we left the coastal road, heading to the mainland. Driving was enjoyable. Soon the road became narrow, offering a unique view of the islands west coasts, while at some point we could see the famous beach of Falasarna. We made lot of stops for pictures, but –mainly- to admire the landscape!
The weather was cloudy, but not threatening. After the village of Sfinari, we headed to Elafonisi. The road –now- got even more narrow getting lost in the massifs of the region, while meeting territories with oil trees. Watching them, I often wondered about the way that they were planted, hugging on steep slopes. The harvest period had already begun and in many spots nets were placed in order to gather the oils.
At the village of Livadia we faced the sea again. We were very close to the famous beach of Elafonisi. We left behind the monastery of Chrysoskalitsa –in our right-, that is build in a rock, offering to the visitors, great view of the sea. Looking to the monastery, I wondered about how it took the name of Chrysoskalitsa. The answer was given to me by Stelios, telling me that it was named that way because the monks, during the time of Turkish possession, were hiding precious objects in one the steps of the monastery!
The road was ending in the impressive beach. It had nothing to do with the «summer» image that I had in mind. We were the only visitors. The look of the all white sand and the rough sea, was giving the impression of a art paint. We left the bikes at the parking area and walked at the beach for quit a long time, taking pictures of the unique landscape!
We left from Elafonisi taking the way back from where we came for a few kilometers, meeting the signs for Vathi-Elos-Palaiohora. The road went cross a mountain trail, and in some spots rocks were hanging on top of our heads. Despite the many turns, driving was enjoyable as there were just a few other vehicles in the road.
Getting close to Palaioxora, we faced the sea once more and precisely the stormy waves of Libyan Sea! We stopped in a small canteen that it was closed as it works only during the summer, but offers a fantastic panoramic view of the area! The wind was strong and cold, but that didn’t stop as from having our cameras “on fire”!!!
The tortuous, narrow, downhill path was leading to Palaiohora. We left her behind, without a stop and continued our trip to Anydrous, driving through a sort beautiful canyon!
At the village of Anydroi, we stopped at a very stylish store, named: «The School», as in the past it was used as the primary school of the village –and possible of the area. Despite the first impression that the store is in the middle of nowhere and no one knows about it, the reality is much different… During the summer months is very crowded by Greeks and foreign tourists! So we made a stop in order to test and try the local traditional cuisine.
The time passed without noticing. So we decided to continue our trip before the night comes. The road from there was the same pattern: narrow, with a lot of turns and in some spots the altitude was 1000m! we drove, passing the villages of Rodovani, Kampanos, Epanoxori, Alikianos, and trying to enjoy the trip, while it is still a day. Unfortunately, around 40-50km to Chania the night fall, so we lost the opportunity to enjoy the view. Its ok, that will be a good reason to come back and visit the area again!
As soon as we arrived to Chania, we changed our clothes and headed to the graphic port of the town, where the narrow streets around it, hide small tasty “treasures”. In one of those taverns we entered too, that previously was used as an Ottoman bath! We enjoyed the delicious cuisine, chatting… and like that our night passed.
THE NEXT DAY
The next came with lots of clouds and very strong wind! The arrival of one more member of MotoAdventure was the good news. It was Merkouris from Heraklion, who came just to meet us.
Despite the bad weather conditions, Stelios suggested to visit the beautiful canyon of Therisos. And so we did. As soon as we went inside the canyon, we realized the unique beauty of it! The extremely high trees gave us a unique feeling while driving a tortuous path along a dry river. Stelios informed us that the water goes under the dry river, except the winter season, that during the rains the river comes alive! In our bad luck, rain drops started to fall. We made a stop just before the village of Therisos to take some pictures and after that we headed back to the town of Chania. Our next destination was the village of Armenoi.
Driving to the national road that leads to Rethimno we took the exit to Armenoi and soon we arrived at a very beautiful restaurant, named «Tzitzikas». The idea to visit that restaurant was Stelios and mine as well! I knew this restaurant since my last visit to the island, during the wedding of some Romanian motorcyclists that made their wedding reception there. Since then I wanted to visit it at this time of year. It is a wooden restaurant, under very tall trees that instead of walls it has glasses all around, giving you an impressive feeling while raining!
Right there we had the chance to try the delicious cuisine, but mainly I had the chance to get to know Merkouris better, who I felt like I knew him for years! Not strange at all… as he is a friend of Stelios an George P. But despite that, the most important it that the people that have traveling as common passion, through their experiences, they fill that match together, they fill like they have been met before… maybe somewhere out there, on the road…
I want to thank them, from the bottom of my heart, for their great hospitality!