1 Athens, Pireus
2 Crete (Chania, Elafonisi, Paleohora)
3 Crete (Samaria, Rethymno)
4 Crete (Amari valley)
5 Crete (Heraklion, Sitia)
6 Crete (Vai)
7 Crete (Xerokambos, Agios Nikolaos)
8 Kasos, Rhodes
10 Kos (Tingaki)
12 Mykonos, Paros
15 Amorgos (Hozoviotissis)
18 Santorini (Perissa)
20 Milos (Adamas)
21 Milos (Sarakiniko)
22 Milos (Provatas)
24 Athens (Plaka)
Crete (Chania, Elafonisi, Paleohora)
The alarm clock rang at 5:00 to leave us enough time for an early-morning coffee, before disembarking on Crete. Numerous "economy" passengers were still sleeping in the halls, lying on floors wherever they found free space. We disembarked in Chania (Hania), or to be more precise, in Suda, a harbor some 10 km east of Chania. In the port we found a local bus going to Chania. It was dawning outside. Some people were still sitting in the bars, drinking their last drinks... Even this early in the morning, it was pretty warm. We wanted to rent a car in Chania and drive to the east of Crete (Chania is on the west). After a short walk we bought something to eat and headed for the Avis rent-a-car agency, at which we have reserved a car. But, they wanted to charge us a big drop-off fee, which was not indicated on their web page. They were too expensive for what they offered so we gave up and decided to find a local rent-a-car agency.
And there we find a real market: "special price", "no extra" this or that - but when one asks for the real price the propaganda messages lose any sense. In one local agency a Swedish couple had to leave their passport as a guarantee for the car! As it was a bit too much for us we kept searching and found a small Matiz, not in perfect shape but usable, 130€ for 3 days. And we had to return it in Chania, not on the east of Crete as we've planned. Well, we'll be traveling a bit by bus too.
So we took our car and went to Kastelli-Kissamos, a place that used to be called Kissamos until it was renamed to Kastelli (or was it the other way round?), and as the people didn't accept the new name and kept using the old one, the tourists were confused all the time, so finally two names were combined into one. Kastelli-Kissamos is a place with little interest for tourists but we decided to have a lunch there before continuing further south. We chose a family-run tavern (travel books recommend such places) hoping to eat well. We've ordered some local specialties but were disappointed with the food...
We drove in direction of Elafonisi, a beach and islet on the extreme southwest of Crete. On the way there we stopped at an open-bar that we chose because it had very comfortable chairs in the shade. We had two frappes and yoghurt with honey, a Greek specialty. So big it took two of us to eat it!
The road took us to the sea near Moni (=monastery) Hrysoskalitissas, and then to Elafonisi, one of the most beautiful beaches on Crete, where the sand is fine and endless, and the tourist season far behind us, judging by the empty beach. We walked through the very shallow strait separating Crete from the islet Elafonisi. The depth in the strait doesn't reach a meter. The islet is covered with sand. The only problem is that there is no shade and that the wind is blowing all the time. In the beginning it's pleasant but soon it starts to get annoying. We stayed at Elafonisi until afternoon, when we got hungry.
We drove to the neighboring Paleohora (=Old City), a small place full of life, where we found our first accommodation on Crete. The room walls witnessed numerous mosquitoes that flew in this room for their last time... We killed some of them too. In Paleohora we found a good restaurant, with lots of vegetation, first-class service and low price - a heaven on earth! The night was a bit too warm...
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