Western Crete – Part Two

For part one click here.

Next day would be all about the journey and not the destination. We were headed for the beach at Elafonisi, which translates as Deer Island.

It was described in certain quarters as the ‘ninth best beach in the world.’ Very pretty, very debatable rating in my opinion.

We were journeying to the south of the island to the Libyan Sea but first we had to go up a mountain and past the Topolia Gorge. After 20 km of nondescript main road, we turned left for the old national road. We stopped at the first village we came to for morning coffee and a delicious free cake made mainly of meringue. €4 very well spent.

We then started to climb and snake around the mountain. It took us a further 30 minutes to reach the summit, where we stopped to take in the glorious view across the gorge.

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We were also in apiary country, with many roadside shops and stalls selling a plethora of bee related goods.

Honey, oil with honey, vinegar with honey, honey beer, beeswax candles, honey lotion for bites & stings, honeycomb even honey raki! Inevitably there were two such stalls at the view point. Even more inevitably we bought €10 worth!

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As the sun beat down only slightly less intensely than the day before we started our decent, first passing through a traffic light controlled single lane tunnel. One idiot decided to jump the red light and proceed through the fifty metres of darkness blaring his  horn to let everybody know what an imbecile he was!

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It took about another three-quarters of an hour to reach the beach. We parked our ‘Splash’ a fair distance from the sands as the road looked pretty dodgy and the car had the power of a lawn mower, so I wasn’t confident of a glorious ascent up the potholed, gritty slope. Instead we walked down most of the way and satisfied ourselves with the view and a few photos.

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I would sum the beach up as nice, but no cigar, so to speak. I have seen far nicer ones on other Greek islands and indeed the mainland. It was baking hot, I could only imagine that the height of Summer would be crowded & unbearable.

We retraced our steps and decided to have lunch at the Panorama Restaurant. Big mistake, nice view but shoddy tourist fodder and service, plus a large number of unwanted flying guests. We should have known better of course. Abandoning our meal part way through, we left muttering discontent and unusually left no gratuity.

The drive back uplifted our spirits once more as we climbed away from the coast. We stopped at a small village called Elos en route for coffee, ice cream and relaxation. The pretty village had a nice church and a way of life you suspected had not changed that much for generations.

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Our final evening in Xania was reserved for taking in the sunset and enjoying a lovely meal at a port side restaurant called Monastiri.

Our final day saw us chilling and strolling round the Venetian Harbour and the old port & town.

A relaxing and fitting way to end a very agreeable four night getaway.

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