Friday, January 31, 2014

Back to Heraklion

We woke up to a pink popcorn sky. The bus was not to leave until 10:00. Plenty of time to cook breakfast and enjoy it on the terrace. 

A look back at the road we had just traveled. Did I mention that Sfakia is remote and that it is located at the mouth of the Impros Gorge? OK! Enough said. What hasn't been discussed in all these Sfakian posts is the rich history of the town and the gorge. This area played a very dramatic role in World War II complete with an airborne invasion by the Nazi Germans,  heroic actions by military and civilians alike, and the kidnapping of a German general.  Oh, there will be stories to tell next year.

A last look at the Libyan Sea.  I can't wait to return.

Reflection Day

No matter how exciting a trip is, there has to be time for quiet and reflection. We needed a day to be still after our big adventure along the southern coast.

We walked around town, did a bit of shopping and met some of the townspeople.

The best part of the day came at the very end. A delicious dinner along the harbor with a sunset that just wouldn't stop.  

The entree? Lamb with yogurt sauce. It may not look like much, but you cannot imagine how good it was.

Ferry Ride Along the Southern Coast of Crete

Everyone was ready to go . . . a long line of vehicles, a longer line of passengers.

A look back at Sfakia.

Past Sweet Water Beach

To the remote village of Loutro. Accessible only by boat or an E4 coastal path, it is the typical "white house with blue shutters" village that tourists visualize when they think of a small town in Greece. We had over an hour to kill in Loutro so off we went in search of lunch and a walk about town.

It didn't take long to see the sights 

And one good thing about traveling late in the season - you don't have to wait long for the table of your choice at the taverna.

 It was a short easy hike to some ancient ruins on the hill.  There wasn't much left to see 

 except for the view.  

A last look at Loutro as the ferry pulled away.

And more




Much more rugged shoreline and crystal clear water.

Until we finally reached the mouth of the Samaria Gorge 

And the tiny village of Agia Roumeli.

Serious hikers start at the top and work themselves down the eleven mile trail to Agia Roumeli. We were on the wrong end of things, but we hiked up about half a mile, admired the scenery and returned to town.  I'm not sure I will be up to the whole hike next fall when we plan to return, but I would love to do more exploration of the gorge.

 For now, it is enough to say that it is a beautiful, magical place. 

We had just enough time for a quick snack and then back on the ferry for the last shades of sunset.

By the time we reached Sfakia, the village had turned on the lights.

Sometimes, we forget that the people who cater to our needs as tourists have real lives. What could make that more clear than a tupperware party?!?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Filaki Beach

The next day we walked to Filaki Beach.  It wasn't all that far, not more than two miles.  Keep in mind that the round trip was four miles - uphill both ways and it was a very sunny day.

The sea may be a long way down, but it's never very far away.

Even the goats get a sea view.

Another beautiful beach!

Touring the Town of Sfakia

The following is a collection of pictures I took as we walked around town. We were falling in love with this little village.  

By day's end, we had made reservations to spend two weeks in Sfakia next fall. You should make plans now to join us. It's going to be wonderful.
Back to the hotel to shower and change for dinner. I just had time for another sunset outside the hotel window.