Travel Diaries

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South West Crete

Our August Holiday was taken in South West Crete this year. Typical of most of our holidays, time was not given to lying around on sunbeds soaking up the sun; instead we opted for a more strenuous approach, spending every day walking, travelling and mountain biking. From the Samaria Gorge to sections of the E4 coastal path, we baked in temperatures averaging 35°. Here is a selection of images for you to enjoy.

  • Crete Agia Irini Gorge
    After arriving in Crete we wasted no time and set off down Agia Irini gorge. Much shorter and not as grand as the Samaria gorge it does not attract the same amount of footfall, making for a more peaceful experience. We didn't arrive at this point until lunch time due to a late start, by which time the temperature was already soaring.
  • Crete Agia Irini Gorge
    There are many beautiful stop off points along the gorge, all of which make for superb photography. This little shrine a couple of kilometers into the walk is hard to miss and offers respite from the heat.
  • Crete Agia Irini Oasis Taverna
    The gorge officialy ends at the Oasis Taverna, if ever a taverna was aptly named it is this one. With temperatures pushing the upper 30's sitting under these grape vines sipping cools drinks felt like heaven. However as we soon found out the walk doesnt end here and we had to push on a further 4KM at a fast pace to be in time for the last ferry from Sougia to Paleochora, where we were stopping.
  • Crete Sougia
    After refreshments & a plate of Octopus we had a wonder along the seafront to purchase our ferry tickets.
  • Crete Sougia
    As the ferry was running late we had time to capture a few interesting images such as this old anchor lying on the beach.
  • Crete Sougia Ferry
    Sitting on the back of the ferry enjoying cooling sea breezes.
  • Crete Tav Cat
    Over the years we have visited Greece, we have noticed a growing tolerance toward the cat population. More and more feeding stations have sprung up, offering refuge to the homeless and unloved. This mother had two kittens to look after. Sadly one was run over a few days after this image was taken.
  • Crete Paleochora
    Paleochora has a few interesting corners to discover. On the headland beyond the old fort, the corner of a field contained an odd collection of driftwood sculptures.
  • Crete Paleochora Fort
    The old fort contains little more than a few low walls, but the view over the town towards the White Mountains is stunning. We spent a few evenings here watching the sun go down...with our cameras of course :-)
  • Crete Bougainvillia
    Vibrant bougainvillia.
  • Crete Paleochora
    A dead, spiny and very unpleasant thistly thing below the old walls of the fort.
  • Crete Paleochora
    Away from the tumbled fort walls a single building stood in the centre of the plateau. The big sky and open sea gave it a feeling of isolation, and we would like to have captured this scene with a stormy sky
  • Crete Paleochora Church
    The church at the end of the main street in Paleochora gave us many photo opportunities. This is the main gate and bell tower, taken from below with an infa red treatment applied.
  • Crete Paleochora
    Beautiful in its decay, this old house on Paleochora's main street was still clearly loved, as can be seen by the amount of potted plants surrounding it.
  • Crete Paleochora Pizza
    Life doesn't get much better than this, pizza scattered with feta, black olives and fresh tomato!
  • Crete E4 Coastal Path
    We spent a couple of days walking in either direction from the town following the E4 Coastal Path. These led to many suprises, one being this beautiful lagoon where a duck took an interest in what we was doing and swam down to pose for some pictures.
  • Crete Olives
    The ancient olive, icon of the mediterranean.
  • Crete Paleochora
    The first of our sundown visits to the old fort in Paelochora... an incredibly windy place!
  • Crete Paleochora Sunset
    Sundown accross the bay.
  • Crete Paleochora Graffiti
    No Greek town is spared the artistic brush of the graffiti artist!
  • Crete Paleochora Night
    Paelochora's main street; a beautiful place to sit and while away the evenings as it is closed to traffic allowing tavernas and bars to spill their tables onto the road.
  • Crete Chania
    The rooftops of Chania, a 90 minute journey by bus through the mountains from Paelochora.
  • Crete Chania
    A view of one of Chania's many picturesque streets.
  • Crete Chania
    Chania's old town is criss-crossed with shady alleys and full of interesting architecture.
  • Crete Chania
    The sea on the north coast was incredibly rough, we watched many tourist boats set off from a calm harbour only to be caught up in the deep swell further out. We wondered how many half-digested meals ended up over the side of the boats!
  • Crete Chania Harbour
    The lighthouse on the end of the breakwater, Chania harbour.
  • Crete Chania Cathedral
    Chania cathedral, beautiful from the outside and more so from inside.
  • Crete Chania Cathedral
    Dedications… each one a representation of someone’s prayers and hopes.
  • Crete Chania Cathedral
    Beautiful and ornate, this incense burner is one of many suspended in Chania Catherdral.
  • Crete Paleochora
    Painting and bougainvillia found on a bakery wall, Paleochora.
  • Crete Gingilos
    The start of the Samaria Gorge trail, at the very top of the Devil’s staircase. This is a view across the ravine toward Gingilos mountain, a height of 2080 meters.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    The descent into Samaria Gorge is very steep and at this altitude the air feels alpine in its coolness. It is difficult to imagine how the temperature soars just several hundred meters below.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    It appears customary to leave small stony cairns at many points along the Samaria trail. Not that they are needed as waypoints - the path is very well defined. These feel more like mementoes of the journey made by countless thousands of people.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    In August, the river that carved the Samaria Gorge has all but dried up in many places. Some cool rock pools did exist which provided a good opportunity to scoop a hatful of water up and throw it over our heads.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    The gorge is ‘policed’ by several rangers posted at various intervals along the way. They get here by donkey and this is the only means of transport out if injured.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    A view looking east across Samaria, around 7 kilometres along the trail.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    It was places such as this where we really felt the strength of the suns rays. By this time it was early afternoon and baking hot. Tree cover was becoming limited and the way ahead offered much less shade.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    Towards the end of the gorge, the river emerged and wound its way down to the port of Agia Roumeli. The river is a source of water for the village so care is taken not to contaminate it by human activity like bathing. The water is perfectly drinkable - we filled our water bottles several times from various springs that fed the lower reaches.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    The southern end of the Samaria Gorge, looking North. Here the high limestone cliffs were giving way to more hilly scenery indicating that we were approaching the end of our walk.
  • Crete Samaria Gorge
    A small chapel hewn into the cliffs.
  • Crete Paleochora Sunset
    Dusk at Paleochora, from the old fort. For us it is the most enchanting time of the day and not to be missed photographically.
  • Crete Paleochora Moonrise
    We were treated to a spectacular moonrise during this photo session, the moonlight giving the impression of sunrise.
  • Crete Paleochora Moonrise
    Moonrise from Paleochora fort, looking across the bay to where the White Mountains meet the Libyan sea.
  • Crete
    We have come across some interesting W.C’s on our travels, but particularly liked this one!
  • Crete
    These sheep look a lot more hardy than the ones we are used to seeing in Derbyshire. We have no idea how they withstand day after day of dry Mediterranean heat.
  • Crete E4 Coastal Path
    Pine Tree on the E4 coastal path.
  • Crete Anidri Gorge
    The Anidri gorge; this tiny gorge is just a couple of kilometres long but is much more difficult to walk than the more popular ones. The heat here was really intense but the lure of a Taverna at the top spurred us on.
  • Crete Anidri
    The Tavera in Anidri, once an old schoolhouse, offered refuge from the baking heat. We stayed here for at least three hours before climbing back down into the gorge for the return journey.
  • Crete Anidri Taverna
    Taverna, Anidri.
  • Crete Tav Cat
    Taverna cat… always a good source of photographic material.
  • Crete Agios Georgeos Church
    Agios Georgeos church, Anidri. Frescoes surrounding this iconostasis were painted around 1320 and still in stunning condition.
  • Crete Agios Georgeos Church
    The exterior of Agios Georgeos church belies the beauty lying within.
  • Crete Paleochora Evening
    Early evening in Paleochora.
  • Crete Greek Salad
    Awesome Greek salad; it doesn’t matter how many times we rustle one of these up in the UK, it just doesn’t taste the same.