Sunday, April 22, 2007

Well, we did it. Our planned coastal walk along the beaches, cliffs and headland paths from Plakias to Paleochora, with only one stretch on the ferry. About 60 miles with full rucksacks, and easily the same distance again in our day jaunts with just notebooks and a picnic. The last lap to Sougia, the one we had to do in reverse, was the most most arduous - about 9 hours in all - but the most exciting and beautiful.

Absolute high spot: passing the ruined temple of Lissos where the mosaic floor is still largely intact - quite amazing as it's open to mountain goats as well as the elements; such a special place we clambered back up the ravine next day to spend a whole day there.
For me this atmospheric & beautiful place, once a thriving spa but now a drowned city, destroyed by earthquake in pre-Minoan times, is a jewelled beetle on a wilting flower; Sougia itself is a tiny collection of rent rooms and bars and, apart from the banter with Eleni at Omikron, we found it charmless. We shared our room with a conference of mosquitos. Waking to high waves and that dreaded shrugging sigh 'No boat today', we didn't hesitate: we hired the only taxi and hightailed it back to Paleochora.
Not to our previous budget-conscious room but a studio apartment near the best beach. We can economise by cooking here & eating on that lovely balcony, we reminded ourselves, and went straight out to enjoy the most expensive meal of our trip in the best fish restaurant in Crete. Some days just go like that...
So our last week is for relaxing and processing. Getting ready for the culture shock of England. What am I missing? Friends and family, little else. What will I miss? Long walks in sunshine by vivid seas, wild flowers, daily discoveries, the way strangeness so quickly becomes familiar, and the intimacy of travelling together on a journey into the unknown.

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