A lazy morning was sorely needed and so we decided to spend the afternoon in Chania. Lauren found a great market in Chania where we spent a few hours and had lunch from one of the stands in the market. There were dozens of stands in the market selling all sorts of stuff like olive oil, leather goods, home goods, liquor, olives, souvenirs, sweets, and lunch. Lauren got her fresh olives she had been searching for since we landed in Greece and we got some ouzo to try that night with diner. After the market we spent some time enjoying the scenery of the old venetian harbor.
Lauren took my parents to the hotel where she had stayed 10 years ago with her parents in the harbor when they came to Greece. The harbor was very pretty and had waves rolling in that would occasionally crash over the edge of the harbor wall so nobody walked too close to the edge for fear of getting splashed. Every restaurant wanted us to have dinner with them, even offering a free beer if we sat down, but we had decided to return back to the Airbnb to cook dinner and try our ouzo. The dinner Lauren made was great, but the ouzo was terrible! Tasted like black licorice which I hate! Gross.
With a 96 mile hike looming in our near future, Lauren and I were eager to get a little hiking in for preparation while on Crete so we got dropped off by my parents about 4 miles from Preveli beach. The parents continued on to tour the Preveli Monastery by the beach where we were to rendezvous. Per usual I didn’t do much research on this hike I simply saw it on Maps.Me and said, “Let’s go!” just like the one in the jungle of Costa Rica. Needless to say Lauren was not surprised when a short way down the trail we were to cross the stream, but the bridge had disappeared some time ago. With nowhere else to go ahead of us we doubled back and found an alternative route down some gravel drives until we met back up with the trail shown on the map.
The trail got rocky and steep quickly and was actually a bit challenging at times in our teva sandals. We took the trail less traveled and are still not sure if it was the one intended for the public or not as we only passed 2 other people and saw many others on an easier trail across the gorge. Our trail took us up and over one of the cliffs of the gorge and through some pasture filled with sheep. As we began to descend the view preveli beach came into focus. The pebbly beach is also the mouth of a river with beautiful views of the coastline of endless cliffs. The backdrop to the beach is the gorge cut by the river filled with palm trees.
We took a break on the beach at a small café to have a snack and soak in the view before climbing back up to join back up with my parents. While enjoying the beach views we also were entertained by a couple of geese bullying people into sharing their food. The more aggressive one walked up to a table of guys of in their 20’s and when food was not promptly provided, bit one of the young men! On our climb back up to the parking lot we noticed the ominous clouds quickly rolling in which broke loose and soaked us before we could make it to the car.
That evening we went out into Rethimno just a few minutes away from our Airbnb. Rethimno also has a Venetian port like Chania, lined with restaurants, but on a smaller scale. After a bit of shopping we enjoyed the sunset over some beers and coffee. Lauren tried Greek coffee and none of us could drink it because it still had all the grounds in it! Apparently, it’s like Turkish coffee so I don’t think we will try the coffee there either. None of the restaurants in town appealed to us so we went with the recommendation from our Airbnb host for one close to the apartment. The place was a bit pricey, glad my parents had already said they were paying for this one 😊. This was our favorite meal together on the trip because after a bottle of wine my parents started telling us all about trips and adventures they had when they were younger before Jared and I came along. We kind of ruined their fun. Sorry! At the end of dinner the server brought us a free bottle of raki for shots,s and it was so much we each had to take about three shots each!
The morning we left Rethimno we went to see the Fortezza (fort) before heading to Heraklion. The walls of the fort were in excellent condition and offered a magnificent vantage point for and unwanted ships approaching from any direction. I imagined the rain of arrows that must have poured out from every wall with the countless slit windows decorating the perimeter. Only a few buildings still stand within the fort, but what Lauren and I found most fascinating were the enormous arched storage cellars below the ground that were at least twenty feet wide and ten feet tall. It’s fascinating to see that so many years ago they had developed the understanding of the strength of parabolic arches. After the Fortezza we grabbed lunch at a creperie and had a wonderful lunch that neither of us could finish. It was a heaping stack of savoury pancakes with mushrooms and a delicious garlic aioli.
The busy morning, a monstrous lunch and the drive to Heraklion made us all a bit lazy so we enjoyed some beers from our balcony that looked over the old stone walls surrounding the city center. When we were finally ready to get a move on again it was dinner time and we found a place in the city center about a mile away on foot. As always we followed the course Maps.Me set for us and got my parents a little sketched out when walking down some dark and dreary back alleys to get to dinner.
In the morning we drove out of the city to see the Minoan palace of Knosos which are some incredibly old ruins from 6,000-3,000 BC. For the most part only foundations remain of the palace, but it is still incredible that they have lasted for more than 5,000 years! The site of the palace also offered great views of the surrounding mountains and to the coastline. The Minoans are believed to have been wiped out of existence from this area by a massive eruption of the volcano that is Santorini.
I woke up early the next morning to drop my parents off at their ferry to Santorini with a sad goodbye knowing it would be several months before we saw each other again. We were so glad my parents made the trip out to Greece to travel with us and will cherish the memories we made with them while there. Later in the day Lauren and I caught our flight to the UK where we would shortly thereafter begin the longest hike either of us have ever attempted.