Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Transition to Crete

I learned how to dodge tourists in Santorini, but I was not expecting the confusion navigating the huge city of Iraklio, the capital and ferry port on the island of Crete in Greece. The bus station was a long walk after several stops for directions. I knew there was only one last bus that evening to Rethymno, west of Iraklio and in the path to my final destination on the Southern Coast of Crete. I made it to the bus on time!

Unfortunately when I arrived around 11:30PM in Rethymno, there was no one there with signs waving for rooms to rent. In fact, it was rather deserted! At the bus station I saw a sign for the Rethymno Youth Hostel and I saw cab! The funny part was that the youth hostel was only a couple of blocks away, but worth the 5 Euros cab ride for a place to rest my head.

Early the next morning after a warm spinach pie from the bakery, I was on the bus to Plakias on the Southern Coast of Crete. As soon as I saw mountains and the countryside I was in a much better mood.

The youth hostel in Plakias is totally unique. First of all it sits in an olive grove and people tend to stay longer than planned. Friendships are made quickly, group hikes are planned daily, large groups go to dinner together, and I learned that there have been nine marriages of people who have met here.

The Plakias Youth Hostel and the view from the youth hostel.

After all my traveling, I walked a short distance down the hill to the beach. I was pleasantly surprised to see the profusion of wild sand orchids. After a swim, I decided to create a watercolor painting.

Looking at the town of Plakias from the rocky cliffs adjacent to the beach.

My first sunset on Crete.

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