Inland tour, Falasarna Beach
We had Falasarna Beach planned for today, supposedly one of the best beaches of Crete located on the Western coast.
We navigated to Falasarna over a detour, taking us for a tour of some of inland Crete. Passing Hania, we headed south before Kisamos, all the way down to Elos, then west till near the cost and north again till Falasarna. It was a scenic drive, but nothing spectacular. On the way, a sign pointed to Milia, an ecological village-hotel supposedly without electricity. It was quite a detour up the little road till we reached the place and perhaps we'd expected to see more than a couple of stone houses, so were a bit disappointed.
The drive along the coast was more impressive than the inland tour, with scenic and atmospheric views high above the sea.
Once in Falasarna, there were a number of large signs to the beach which looked like being commercially placed. We took the first large one. It was already late afternoon and the traffic was in the direction away from the beach, which was nice because there was enough parking.
Falasarna has beautifully clear water and clean sand, although the sand didn't slope gently enough for Andres. What a marvelous place. The sunset was classic kitsch.
We left after dark, and I was wondering whether we'd find our way driving back to the apartment without light. We got lost in Hania, but managed to get back on track when we recognized a street we'd been on the day before.
Inland Tour, Samaria Gorge, Gouvernetou Monastery (22. August )
21. August: Although trekking through the Samaria Gorge was out of the question with Andres, we still decided to drive right to it's entrance and enjoy the scenic road leading to it.
We took the road to Hania once again and then it was a drive south all the way to the gorge. It was a nice drive over hilly territory. We drove through Omalos near the gorge and drove right to the start of the Samaria trekking route.
We had good lunch at the Neo Omalos Hotel in Omalos. There was hardly anyone to be seen in town.
After a quick afternoon nap in our apartment in Plakias we headed for the Gouvernatu monastery nearby. The road to it led over the Agias Traids monastery which then reduced to an exciting narrow road cut into the mountain.
Gouvernatu didn't allow photography nor bare legs, but all I had was my shorts so I decided to risk it anyway (shame on me). There would have been cloth aprons to don at the entrance but I didn't see them. Gouvernatu was perhaps the most beautiful of the three monasteries we saw in Crete, eclipsing even the famous Preveli Monastery near Plakias. The altar and atmosphere are beautiful. A number of locals had gathered in the courtyard, drenched in sweat, and we realized that he probably just ascended from the steep footpath leading from the Ioannou Erimiti monastery on the coast below. A monk brought them some sweets and water refreshment and we were offered some as well.
It was our last day at Stavros and our hosts had organized a large dinner for all the guests. What delicious food! They had amazing souvlaki, potatoes, stuffed tomatoes, salad and a big dessert cake, together with their own wine (which should be drunk cold).