EuroAdventure15: Final day in Crete
(posted by Emily)
4 July 2015
Crete, Greece (Chania)
On our final day on Crete, we considered doing the famus hike of the gorge in Omalos, but just couldn't bring ourselves to get out of bed that early. The gorge is the largest in Europe, and goes 10 miles down to the ocean. The cliffs at the bottom are said to be the spot where Odysseus heard the Sirens' song. Even though we decided not to hike, we still wanted to see the gorge, so we headed up to Omalos.
The views were stunning all the way up, with picturesque villages and olive groves along the way. The temperature dropped from 25*C to 18*C, and the landscape changed from olive trees and large bushes to scrub grass and short plants. There were mountian goats up in the higher altitudes as well.
The view from the top of the gorge was stunning--the air was crisp and fresh, and I'm sure the hike is great--just something to add to the list for when we come back to Crete again!
These goat friends were just chillin in the middle of the road.
We stopped back at our Airbnb for lunch, finishing up our various leftovers--spinach pies, cheese, olives, and bread. Then, it was off to Vouves to see their ancient olive tree.
Chloe from Biolea had mentioned the tree, and I definitely wanted to check it out! They estimate its age to be between 3,000 and 5,000 years old. It has been declared a monumental tree and has a museum and cafe surrounding it. In fact, there are a number of these monumental trees in the area--maybe eight more? Civilization has been constant on the island for 5,000 years, and olive trees have been growing here forever.
Sidebar--the ancient civilization here was called the Minoans and the town where Rick grew up is Minoa, NY! A fun connection.
The tree reminded me of the tree in FernGully, and mostly I was just very grateful that despite having 20,000 visitors a year, no one has done anything damaging to this beauty. If only Auburn could say the same!
After the tree, we stopped by a nearby winery on a whim. Karavitakis had very unique wines, and an amazing dessert wine. It was the first time we were legitimately sad we aren't checking bags on these legs of the trip, because we definitely could have taken some of their wines home!
It was back to the Airbnb following the winery tour. We relaxed a bit, and then headed in to Alikianos for dinner at the local taverna. the food was delicious, but a poor service experience led me to write our first Trip Adviser review ever. Sorry, Pemptousia--all we wanted was our dessert and raki and you left us hanging!
Eggplant rolls with cheese and a baked feta with tomatoes and peppers.
Throughout our trip we've noticed these small shrines in villagaes and by the side of the road. Google provides any number of answers about what they are, but it seems to be a public offering of gratitude to a saint, a commemoration of an accident, or thankfulness to have survived an ordeal. This one had a candle burning brightly before and after our dinner. The locals pay very careful attetion to them.
We are very sad to be leaving the island. We've fallen in love with the beauty and the food of Crete, and somehow, returning to the urban jungle just doesn't seem so appealing. I think we could stay a month and be perfectly happy. Oh well--we have to move on to the next! Athens here we come.