TRAVELOGUE
Greece

Crete (Vai)

As usual, the wind was blowing. I observed an anchored tanker while drinking coffee on the balcony while Željka went for a swim. In 15 minutes I was awake and Željka was frozen. The sea temperature in Sitia is unusually low. We went to see if we could rent a car. We looked for Petar, a waiter that served us last night in the restaurant and who promised to help with the car if necessary. Majority of the rental agencies do not allow unlimited mileage if the car is rented for less than three days. As we make many kilometers that doesn't suit us. We found Petar - he went to a local agency and after a short conversation with the owner (rather yelling than conversation!) we had a new Punto with unlimited mileage for 30€ daily. After the old Matiz this was real comfort car. We went to the center of Sitia where we discovered a place selling excellent cakes. Although I'm definitively not a cake-lover, those cakes were delicious! When we've had enough we set course to Vai.

Vai beach - east of Crete
Vai beach - east of Crete

Vai is a beach that Petar doesn't like very much but we went to see it anyway. On the way there we stopped at the monastery Moni Toplu and then continued to the far northeast of Crete, to a sandy beach near which there is a palm forest! This beach must be crowded in summer but now, with just a few tourists, it's just perfect.

Surroundings of Vai
Surroundings of Vai

Here we definitively have sand *under* the water too, not just outside as on Damnoni beach near Plakias! The bay is pretty shallow, surrounded with rocks where snorkeling is a real pleasure. While Željka's been swimming around I went for a lunch in a nearby restaurant, with a nice view over the whole bay. Pasticcio was excellent.

In the everyday communication with Greeks it's a good idea to know a few simple phrases. The pronunciation of Greek is pretty simple. It's only important to understand where the accent in the word is. The Greek alphabet may seem scary but with a little practice one learns how to read written Greek words. That's particularly important in places where tables on the road don't have Latin translations.

When Željka finally decided to get out of the sea, we went for a walk over the nearby hill to another beach, smaller and emptier, but even more attractive than Vai. There is a 100 m long sand dune here, from the top of the hill to the sea coast. Our only enemy is the incessant wind.

After we've had enough of Vai, we tried to reach the farthest northeastern cape of Crete, but there is a navy base there and the access in limited. So we turned south and tried to reach a beach recommended to us by Petar, Xerokambos. We drove through Palekastro and tried to reach Xerokambos through Zakros. But the last kilometers of the road were in such a bad shape that we soon gave up. Later in the afternoon we arrived in a small village where the wind was blowing so fiercely that it was cold even to get out of the car, not to mention the swim. Only some ducks enjoyed walking on the long beach. In the evening we arrived in Ierapetra, a city on the southern coast of Crete, where we dined.

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Greece: Crete (Xerokambos, Agios Nikolaos)
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