Sfakia

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Loutro, kri kri, mountain goat

I spent half a day in Chora Sfakion, and used the time to visit nearby Loutro as well.

The seascapes in this area are stunning. I used to say that my favourite colours were blue and turquoise, but I don’t think I had an idea of the intensity of the hues these colours could have until I was in Crete last week.  What an amazing feast for the eyes, just to look at the Mediterranean glistening in the sunlight!

I had wanted to go to Loutro lured by the promise of Roman ruins and the opportunity to hike for a short distance towards another nearby beach.  I took a ferry from Chora Sfakion and as soon as I descended in Loutro, I walked up a hill.  The signposting, again, was missing, so I was not sure whether I was again looking for the E4 in the right place.  I suppose it becomes a matter of trusting your instinct, given that there will not be a sign, plaque, or arrow to direct you.  There were, indeed, some ruins, both of what seemed a Roman settlement and a Venetian fortress.  I took plenty of pictures.  There were also kri kri (wild goats) and these were so relaxed in my company, that they even posed for pictures!

I then spent about two hours swimming in the sea before taking the ferry back to Chora Sfakion.  Chora Sfakion (Sfakia) is a seaside resort, and has lovely tavernas by the seafront.  I had drinks by the beach in a taverna a little up the hill.  The owner was chatty and very hospitable.  I tried a local speciality, a ‘Sfakian pitta’ which is a pancake filled with soft white cheese and served with honey.  Simple and brilliant!

If you want to organise your travel to this area, ask Karma Travel for advise and buy a tour from them!  It will make your life easier 🙂

Athens

Parthenon, Athens

I thought I couldn’t go to Greece and not visit Athens.  My main interest was in seeing Crete, so this was just a quick hop to see the Parthenon.  You can take the ferry back and forth from Heraklion, and even travel by night, so it is quite convenient.

In Athens, beyond the new museum and the Parthenon, I enjoyed people watching from a café on the way up to the Parthenon.   The world seems to slow down when you are sipping coffee on ice,  for some reason.  I sat down with a magazine to hand and just let time pass whilst my attention idled between the magazine and strangers strolling up the hill.

The visit to the Parthenon would not be meaningful at all without a guide.  In my experience, you need an expert’s briefing to make sense of the torn down monuments. The signage is not very informative on its own, and it takes much background information to fully appreciate the site.  If you are visiting, do think of booking a guided visit.  Ask Karma Travel for advise about guided tours and to book your travel to Athens if you’re interested in hopping to the continent.

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