TRAVELOGUE
Greece

Crete (Samaria, Rethymno)

Samaria Canyon
Samaria Canyon

In the morning we've had breakfast and then we drove on a country road climbing towards the plateau Omalos, where the 18 km long Samaria Canyon starts. Samaria is a national park on Crete. Xyloskala, a steep descending staircase is where our trekking starts. One supposedly needs 6 hours to get to the Sea of Libya (the sea south of Crete), where the canyon ends, but it took us 3 hours to walk through only 3 km. Walking in the canyon is not easy but the canyon is very impressive.

After the trekking we drove back to the northern coast of Crete where we found a brand new apartment in a house in Kalives, a town 10 km east of Chania (Hania). Our balcony was overlooking the sea. We'll spend two nights here. We've had a shower and went to Rethymno, a city one hour of driving east of Chania. On the way to Rethymno we stopped in a tourist ghetto, full of hotels and restaurants. The music was good and the food so-so. We ate and kept going. The main road on Crete is located on the low northern coast and passes through all bigger cities on Crete, from west to east: Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos (= St. Nicholas) and Sitia (this one is a somewhat smaller city). Driving rules on Crete are specific: when one sees a car approaching him from behind, it moves as much to the right as possible. And it can be dangerous - I once moved to the right to let a car pass by and suddenly the road narrowed and we almost finished in the bushes! Greeks like "creative" driving so it's a good idea to drive carefully. The southern part of Crete is covered with mountains, sparsely inhabited and the roads are winding and often quite dangerous. But the most beautiful places on the island are on the south, not on the mass-touristy north.

Rethymno
Rethymno

Rethymno is a city with a center located under a big Venetian castle. The center is composed of numerous narrow streets, full of slow-moving tourists, cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops. The right spot to sit down and have a pricey cocktail is the Venetian harbor. Terraces of local cafés cover every square meter of the harbor and it's not easy to walk through all the chairs and tables. Moreover, in Greece there's a habit of having a person standing in front of every café and restaurant, trying to convince the tourists to choose *their* café or restaurant. They are damn annoying! Well, we've had a cocktail and later returned to Kalives.

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Greece: Crete (Amari valley)
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