Wow, already two weeks are over. Slowly, I get used to Crete. The Greeks are still funny and in the hostels I sleep like a baby. I even missed, that a German roommate one almost died in one night due to his coughs, my Canadian roomate had to tell me about it. If I bother my roomates at night? At least, no one told me so far. =)
Now it’s time to speak about the Greek language. Although the German vocabulary is based on ancient Greek too, I do not understand a single word. It sounds very interesting and beautiful, in my opinion, especially when a Greek woman talks. However, I can not understand, nor can I read it. Crazy letters everywhere you look. Of course, I’ve learn some necessary words of respect. Some basics, everybody has to learn if he’s visiting a country. Once a women in a shop probably asked me if I speek Greek, after I paid. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand her. Anyhow, Greece is a great start for the trip, so I can slightly slip into the Arabic culture, without beeing shocked by it. A lots of great things happend to me during the last days. Three of them are worth telling here:
To say it right away: it was one of the best hikes I ever did. We went off early in the morning. And when I say early, I mean it that way. At 5:30 a.m. we went to the bus. Unfortunately Maddi from Canada could join me. But Mauro from Argentina, came with me. Weh ad an awesome guide called Marco and he told us some interesting facts about the region and the daily routine. He was very detailed and well read in Greek mythology, which was very impressive. Marco told us, that we already did the hardest part of the hike: getting up that early. But it was worth it. We were the second bus that reached the canyon, just before the great masses. The sun was still low and we could start our hike at about 1,200m above sea level. Here in the „Lefka Ori“ ( "White Mountains") are peaks up to 2.450m height and Zeus, the boss god, used to have his vacations here…those funny Greeks.
We went straight down to 400m above sea level. We passed adventurous passages and beautiful flora and fauna. Mauro, who was unfortunately traveling with thin shoes felt quite soon, that the day is going to be very challanging for him. Luckily I had my hiking shoes with me. A fantastic scenery led us to the first narrowing of the gorge. Along the small river we stopped had some rest at a small settlement in which people lived continously during the last 5.000 years. Continuously until 1962, there the inhabitants were relocated due to the establishment of the National Park Samaria. So we went on, the 16km long path towards the coast. After a few climbing exercises on a rock, we arrived at the "Iron Gate", the narrowest part of the gorge. There are just 3m space between the ~300m high cliffs of the mountains. That was quite impressive.
After a few more hours we reached the coast. A swim in the refreshing water was just right. The black sand of the beach was very beautiful to look at (but not to walk on). The place can only be reached by ships and so we made our
way to the ferry, which brings us to the next village, where the bus was waiting for us. A brilliant, but tiring day,
what I got to feel the next days.
After a leisurely day at the beach right behind my hostel, I went to finally visit the center of Chania with Mauro. My hostel is located just outside, at the small village of Agii Apostoli, but the bus system in Crete is easy, cheap and comfortable. The old Venetian city has undergone various crews and offers fantastic views and unique buildings. Such as the church of the three religions. A mixture of Catholic, Orthodox and Islamic. It’s curious to see a steeple with bells next to a minaret. Although caused by various wars, I like the building pretty much. A place in which three different religious groups could live out their faith in community with other faiths. A beautiful symbol
During World War II, Chania got attacked by German bombers. Today the vessels of the EU mission „EUNAVFOR MED“ are refueled and loaded here. Among others also German warships visiting that harbor in the Mediterranean to supposingly save refugees and fight smugglers. Of course, the main sight of the city, the approx.700 year old Venetian lighthouse, was nice to see as well. But the best thing were the unusual, changing and authentic streets of the old town. Various architecture, colorful designs, creative use of plants and furniture forming the many small taverns, shops and art shops in different shapes. But it is as it is: There are loads of tourists in Chania these days. Countless... well, it is high season in Europe, but the tourists and therefore also the tourist-dependent people are totally hot on spending or earning Money.
So, I have chosen to have lunch at a restaurant that advertises on a sign, that they do not tug on the streets to passers urge to eat. Althought the Greeks are very friendly and mostly respectful, getting asked to eat like every 3 minutes is freaking me up. But I also had a nice experience with a Greek who does have approached us as a seller, but when he realized that I come from Stuttgart, he has invited us for
a Raki. He’s in Stuttgart every year to be part oft he wine festival. It seems that he always have been comfortable with experiences or businesses in Stuttgart. And yes: I was uncertain too, but it was
actually free and there were no further acquisitions.
A Boat Trip
And here it is, the reason why my knee is bleeding. Dumb as I am, I stumbled over a rope. It was wavy, but I'm such an idiot. However, I survived it. A 12/13 year old swedish girl was so kind to take care of me with water and handkerchiefs. But now to boat trip. In Chania, one of those random salesmen came up to me, we
were chatting and in the end I booked. He did a good job. I was just thinking, that for 15 € you can not really go wrong. And it was outstanding. On a historic ship (supposedly the oldest working ship in Chania) we went to an island. According to mythology, from here the hero Talos have destroyed many ships. Talos, a bronze giant, was the protector of Crete, he kept on walking around the island three times a day and threw big rocks at ships. Should a ship managed to arrive on the island, he has embraced the intruders to burn them…Greek mythology is really funny!
However, we arrived on the first snorkeling spot. Here lies the wreck of a German war plane from WW2. To be specific, a Junkers 52. But to be honest, I didn’t even recognized, that this is a plane. But anyhow, I had so much fun with my underwater camera. The second stop was an even smaller island, which consists of only a few rocks, a sandy beach and one of the typical mini-churches. Here I took some fish photos. I almost felt a documentary photographer, although I really do not have any skills regarding photography. For me it was just exciting and challenging. I am looking forward to my first real scuba dive. But I keep it for countries, where it’s going to be cheaper.
Today it went from Chania to the south coast of Crete, to a little village called Plakias. Here is located the southernmost hostel of Europe. And I absolutely love it. It gots something of a hippie commune, which I think is amazing. After just about 10 minutes after my arrival, I was already the king playing my guitarlele (A mixture of guitar and ukulele). Currently, I still feel like being on holidays. I still have the feeling, to have to go back to Germany soon. I still can not grasp what it probably means to be on a long trip like this. You’ll find out next week, what else is going up here.
Until then, all love to you, Schilli.
- Black sand comes straight from hell! Hot Hot Hot!
- Olives still taste musty and disgusting. Sorry Greece, we can’t agree on this.
- I have to lament my first loss. I forgot my cap on the bus. = (
- In Chania I ran into Miro and Vanessa (AUS). I know the from my first day in the hostel in Heraklion.
- Since the Farewell Festival I shot >1,000 photos.
- Relaxing lying on the beach? Not that day. There was an international volleyball tournament. Very impressive!