Chapter 1 Preparation
Chapter 2 Sitia, Cycle Tour
Chapter 3 Lasithi Plane
Chapter 4 Festos and Matala


Mirabello Bay

Agios Nikolaos



The mysterious Gorge

Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga

We have the car for one more day so this must be filled with reasonable ventures. But it is recommended not to make another long distance tour. At first we head for the Gulf of Mirabello where the archaeological site Gournia still waits. This was not a palace but a settlement of the upper Minoan class. It is miraculous, that some rooms seem to have no entrance and are totally enclosed by walls. Moreover the most rooms were tiny and everything is very nested. On the top of the hill there is a free square. From here you can look to Agios Nikolaos at he other side of the gulf where we now want to go.

If you enter a larger town by car two problems arise: at first find a park site and at second find the way back to it. The first problem is solved in a narrow side street, and for the second we memorize the sports fields and the bus station nearby. The mainroad directly leads to a small inner lake which gives it's special flair to the town. The lake is enclosed by lots of taverns and cafenions, only some steep slopes are undeveloped. At the road we just meet our breakfast neighbour. "Did not see us for some time". At an antique shop we find an old mechanic calculating machine. "We don't sell it".

We ride to Elounda and cross a pass with a beautiful view over the gulf. At Elounda they bark from various loudspeakers and megaphones: "Spinalonga, Spinalonga!!" This comes from the ticket sellers for a boat trip to the fortress of the Spinalonga island. That's what we want and we purchase a ticket from a blond guy with a ponytail. "Thirty minutes, ten past twelve" he informs. We have time for a look around and a coffee.

When the first boat comes back from Spinalonga we get excited and hurry to the pier. The blond ticket-lad looks at us laughing. "Is this our boat?" we ask. "Calm down, we will find your boat together" he says. I look at the wrist watch, only a few minutes until departure. "By the way, it's the boat over there" and the guy signs to one of the lazy boats. Some more time is gone until one is allowed to enter the boat. And then one has to wait until the meanwhile hoarse ticket-announcers success to find enough passengers, that the boat is sufficiently filled. So the boat leaves one hour later than announced and we must bring to mind that we are in South Europe and not in the well regulated Central Europe. The passengers lean back, get out their sun lotion and put on the sun glasses.

Soon the small island comes near and 20 minutes later we arrive. A gentleman gathers the tourists and offers himself to lead the group. We all together go up to the plateau with the graves. Those are small crypts covered by a stone slab. If a new grave was needed, an old one was cleared and the bones were deposited in a special hut. But hut and graves are empty now since the hippies have desired the bones as talismans, tells the self-proclaimed guide. Now the group changes to the shade of a pine. And now the business is discussed. Our guide will collect the fee later, children are free. We think to be free too if we explore the matter on our own.

A nice rock path leads along the cliffs, Heidi pressed to the inner wall. After one corner there are the ruins of the former settlement. Until 1975 this was a leper colony, the only one in Europe. The only intact building is the chapel and there the collecting box is swung.

Another path leads up to the mighty bastion of the fortress. I climb up, Heidi stays on the ground. This fortification resisted against the Turk occupation over years until 1715 the capitulation was unavoidable. Through a small tunnel we return to the shore where the boat picks us up after one hour.

We ride back on the same road and round the Mirabello Bay another time. All alternate routes would be too strenuous for they are gravel in the most cases and up in the mountains. After the junction to Ierapetra we are near this mysterious gorge and find a sign at the road: "Ha canyon". (This may mean: be careful, a gully). But we think it is a hint to a large parking site for a visit of the gorge. We turn to a gravel road and eventually approach the canyon until a dry creek stops our conquest. We have to walk until the path ends between some caterpillars which prepare a plane for a paper factory. The beautiful gorge is some 100 m away but we nust resign. But may be it was better not to enter the gorge with sandals...

Near our car a pickup comes up, two barking dogs at the loading platform. But their interest soon changes to the nearby goats. We inspect a big bassin supplied by the creek from the gorge. Meanwhile Heidi has broken an armfull of Thyme bushes and declares this to be Sage (Salbei).

The End

One more lazy day at the beach. "Don't you be glad to come home?" Heidi asks. "Not at all!" And it is understandable that many unstable persons fell in love to the charms of this island and have never returned to their home.

We say farewell to the personnel of the hotel, the owners are members of one family and the hotel was built at 1980. Therefore the plants and trees have grown up since then. In the entrance hall there is a guest book and the people monotonously have written "I/we was/were the first time at Crete and enjoyed it very much". We resign to make a note, there is enough work to produce these reports anyway...

We say farewell to the chief of the super market. We have been good customers consuming all the Retsina. We are offered a self made liquor named Raki. As we have started with a mysterious animal - today we end with a 4 inch grasshopper, which is also able to produce goosebumps when it flies just ahead your face.

Finally at the airport we meet Heidi and Peter again. They had used their hired car all the time and have seen much more of the island. But it is strange, we believe to have experienced more adventures.

As the people of the queue to the check in counter maltreat their feet and legs with the baggage cars and nearly a riot comes up, we know: the holidays are over.

Back to the HomePage