Saturday, July 15, 2006

Backpacking in Greece Part II

Day 4 - Crete, Samarian Gorge

It is regarded as one of Europe's greatest natural wonders and believed to be the longest in Europe at 18km. To be able to complete the long hike, we had to set off early and reach there by 9am so that we could catch the ferry back at 5.30pm. (When I calculated the distance i covered on the first day in Athen by foot, it came up to abt 7km only and i was already very tired! Imagine 18km...)

The whole hike took us about 5hours. The beautiful scenery, interesting rock formations and ever changing landscape makes the trip all worth it. At the end of the long hike, you could even chill out at the pebble beach before taking a ferry back to Chania. Though I must warn anybody who can't wait to jump into the inviting, sparkling clear blue water, as it's ice cold even on a hot, hot day. (Reason: Aegean Sea..erm.. I think it should be the Libyan Sea..)

Trekking down the Gorge

Misty Mountain range in the distance
The famous iron gate
Day 5: Crete - Rythemno
In the afternoon, after breakfast at the balcony, we had to bid farewell to our wonderful hosts and the nice countryside view of mountains and greenery to get to our next destination. Before we catch the coach ride to Rythmno, we went back to Old Town Market Square for the yummy lamb soup. Though it looks simple, every mouthful is well infused with the flavour of lamb, with bits of chewy pasta to whet your appetite. Indulging in the soft, tender meat that easily separates from the bones is ever so heavenly... we were lucky (it was on the house) to have a cup of chilled house white to wash down the bread to wrap up the satisfying meal. Nevermind the simple set-up and the close proximity to the butcher store (perhaps that's why all their meat dishes, even fishes, are fresh!), going to where the men clad in black is having their meals is never wrong.
Clear, but flavourful soup...
Light and fruity white wine with Compliments from the Owner
The Master Chef of the Yummilicious Lamb soup
Rythemno is famous for its romantic night view. I like the small, little shops that line the streets. A rather huge fortress sitting on elevated ground, facing the beautiful old town of Rythemno. A pity we spent most of the time scouring for a reasonably priced rental car for our next day adventure, though I am always trailing behind as I stopped intermittenly to admire the beauty of the streets, or the colourful wares of the quaint little shop.
Day 6: Crete - Iraklio
Road trip to Iraklio! Exciting! Though I wish I could get to control the wheels too... That would be a real adrenalin rush. Anyway, being a vehicle commander is not too bad as I could afford to drool at the picturesque valleys, sleepy villages, or even occassional miniature little churches built on little stilts, though time and again, I have to be reminded of my important task on-hand. Well, considering the out-dated tools (tourist map) that I had, I guess I didn't fare too badly, as we managed to find out why colourful boxes are placed out of nowhere on mountains, see some mountain goats, get to where we need to go, and of course, get to Iraklio at the end of the day!*Grin*
The Crew: ~Sky Ge Ge
The Official "Vehicle Commander"
Little churches built along the expressway on random spots.
When we realised why, it was rather spine-chilling...
Well, let's look on the positive side..
Matala Beach
Knossos, one of the important Archeological site

Day 7: Iraklio, the capital of Crete
For Breakfast, we tried the specialty of Greece at a little traditional bakery - little golden balls of doughnut drapped with honey, and sprinkled with cinanmon powder for flavour. When you sunk your teeth into its crispy skin, it reveals a warm and soft dough that melts in your mouth. Oiishi...
Lunch was just another meal of Slovakia. A good one though. Hot grilled slices of pork, topped with generous helpings of thick, crispy (yet soft on the inside) fries, slash of sour cream, fresh tomatoes, onions and salads - wrapped with in a pipping hot pita bread. All these for 2.30 Euro! The serving is so generous, it was filling for us though both of us only shared one.
Dinner was a sumptous mixed grilled plate from a Slovakia store. Most restaurants are closed on Sundays (I meant traditional looking ones that served local favourites and not kind that caters to tourist), so we ended up there since such slovakia outlet usually serve reasonably priced food and the dishes wouldn't go wrong. We did not regret it. The servings are huge... it's more than enough for two.
After dinner, we went for a slow walk along the fortress wall that fenced up the old harbour. We even manged to catch the sunset. Beautiful!
As the sky darkens, the Arched Arsenal of Venetian influence nearby stood up from the rest - it glimmers under the colourful spotlight that defines the simple lines on the structure.

(Next day, to the most photogenic island in be continued.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Your photos look amazing! I was telling Pat that we need to save to go to such exotic places too. One question though, were most of the signages in English? If not, was language a problem for you?