Cretan Highlights

We have just returned from a week in Crete so I thought I would capture/share some highlights:

Aquaworld

Just 1km down from the hotel is Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre; a small place that does what it says in the name. As we arrived we were sent straight through to the back so we could get to watch the feeding of the reptiles. Adam is not a big fan of snakes, but was pretty much immediately handed a baby python! He handled it well and lasted a while before handing over to me.

There were also tortoises, iguanas, newts and turtles/terrapins which we all fascinating and it was great to get up close to them.

After watching some of the sea-life get fed indoors (including a blind turtle and some squid) we returned back outside and tried holding the albino boa:

Just an amazing place, doing good work and definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

Aposelemis Gorge

I had seen this on Google maps, but couldn’t find much information on it. I could find a tour that walked it, but it was 45 euros each and it looked like any other bit of land so we hoped you could just wander in and out at your leisure. Once this was confirmed by our friends staying near to it who asked at their hotel, we planned to tackle it on the Sunday morning.

Meeting up with Jo (one of the said friends), we walked to where we hoped the entrance would be… We wandered, and tried a few dead ends but eventually found a road that looked like it may lead inwards. Luckily it did and we just walked and walked and hoped… Finally we found a sign confirming we were in the right place and we headed onwards.

Part way along, we met the tour group we could have joined and the leader asked if we were going to walk the whole thing, and said there was a great tavern at the end. Great! we thought as we clambered over the boulders for the next 2 miles, dreaming of cold drinks and beautiful views and the sense of accomplishment we would feel… until we hit a fence. Across the whole gorge. Adam clambered over, but it didn’t seem like it would help us on the route. We couldn’t figure out how the tour group had got in. Looking at my phone I saw there was a village above us somewhere, so we looked for a route up rather than along, but saw nothing.

We had walked for 2.5 hours at this point, and had drunk most of our water. We were hot, thirsty and hungry. Luckily Jo had brought a banana so that was split three ways before deciding all we could do is go back the way we came.

So we did. The water ran out, even with Adam not taking any on and just letting us girls do so, and after the last little bit I actually felt like I was going to be sick, which seems dramatic, and I hated saying it, but it was true at that point. But a burb later, I felt better and we continued, finding that climbing down rocks is harder than climbing up.

We were in good spirits though, talking of the things we would do when we survived: drink a litre of water, have a beer, jump in the sea, rub Calippo lollies all over our faces etc.

Eventually we emerged from the mouth of the gorge, and immediately fell upon a lady selling water and sugary drinks. She attempted to talk to us about her upcoming trip to London but we just wanted to force money into her hands, sit down and guzzle.

We covered 9 miles on that walk, plus another two miles going there any back from the hotel. That is the furthest distance I have covered since the marathon back in May! It was really a lot of fun, and I am very glad we did it, and I even gladder that I didn’t feel rough afterwards, probably thanks to the world’s best club sandwich, a thick milkshake, half a beer and a swim in the Med.

Food & drink:

(Not really a highlight, but I needed justify putting in the below pic!)

The Cretans really know how to cook. And we really enjoyed eating what they provided! Adam managed to put away FOUR mixed grills over our 7 nights away (he needed to protein up post-28 mile run the day before we left) and for the last of these I opted for the traditional meatballs in tomato sauce, with roasted potatoes and rice. OMG (I hate saying that but it is relevant here!) – it was amazing! Some of the best food I have ever eaten. I was so happy in that moment, even if it was our last night on holiday 😦

Other highlights in the food diary were some scrummy slabs of baklava, consumed at every opportunity, as well as the aforementioned club sandwich and milkshake along the beach at Analipsi.

We also just bought some cans of Kopparberg from the local supermarket and proceeded to get tipsy while playing rummy:

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Holiday friends:

We usually keep to ourselves on holiday, happy to not make friends/chat with the bar staff, other holiday-makers etc. and this was no different, but this time we knew we were in the same region as our UK-based friends Jo & Neil. So we decided to meet up and do something. That something was mini golf, with some added go-karting, dinner and drinks.

Mini golf was competitive, and very difficult at times, with Adam unfortunately going first on the hardest hole, meaning his 11 attempts taught the rest of us how to do it correctly and we stormed ahead in the scoring. The same happened on the last hole, leaving Adam in fourth (last) place.

He recovered from that performance by watching us three lap the go-kart track a dozen times. Neil lapped me pretty much immediately and then every three laps, and Jo pipped me at the end, though there was no scoring here, but if there was it wouldn’t look good for me.

Dinner and drinks followed and a pleasant evening was had by all I think 🙂

 

Lasithi Plateau:

Just beautiful. 3000ft up the hills, a long, windy hours drive, but stunning scenery on the way up as well as once there.

We ventured here as part of a tour, along with the ruins of Knossos Palace, but first it was the plateau and a hilly walk up to visit the birthplace of the Greek god Zeus, which was spectacular:

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And that was pretty much it. There was also a heptathlon of events including pool, tennis, rummy, table tennis and mini golf, but basically Adam won most of those things so we don’t mention that…

In summary – Crete is great. If you haven’t been, you should, if you have, you should go again and do all of the above things. But that’s just my opinion.

 

I will end with what all things should end with – a stunning picture of a dog, in some woods, in some beautiful autumnal light (taken by my Dad):

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