So that’s the Eastern part of Crete completed and I’m pleased to report that a splendid time has been had by all. We have always said that Greece is the best place to visit in a Homie and Crete is the icing on that particular Baklava. The only fly in the ointment is the number of Germans naked on the beaches. Am I alone in finding these birdy-song tweeters, heavy-metal music loving, towel-laying, bratwurst-munching, porn obsessed, Mullet-sporting, sandal-and-sock combo flaunters disturbing? Is it just me that finds the sight of a sausage and two portions of sauerkraut unsavoury on a public beach? Why is it they all look like the type of people that never have had sex with anything they couldn’t put back in a cupboard afterwards, and I include Mrs Merkel in that statement.
Our first port of call on leaving Elounda was the South Coast town of Makrygialos, a smallish resort about 25 klicks to the East of Ierapetra. The main reason for this was to meet up with Bob and Sue, Tracy’s sister and brother-in-law. Tracy has previous here having been on a family holiday some time back and I in my non-functioning mind also claimed to have been here before; I was wrong, I had been to Ierapetra. We got nicely settled in with a spot by the harbour and then went for a mini exploration of the village. I agreed with Tracy that ‘Makie’ is a wonderful place and we made immediate plans to spend quite a while here.
Sunset at ‘Makie’ from the Homie.
However, before we could get settled we were off. Not far, but to the village of Pefki where Bob and Sue live for an evening of authentic Greek Dancing. Think of this as Anthony Quinn in a pair of Jack-boots performing a Tiller Girls routine. A thoroughly good evening was had by all and we went and parked next to the Pefki Bus depot, a bit of waste ground next to a goat farm to be absolutely frank. We have made a short video of the dancing that you can watch by clicking HERE
The back of Bob’s head and some ghostly dancers
We now spent the best part of the next two weeks lying around on the beach, going to the Cavern Pub run by a genial but slightly dour landlord and frequented by the ex-pats of Makie. It is surprising to me how many people carry on their lives when retired as if still working. Most evenings The Cavern was empty apart from the sole customer named Phil who had a bet in how fast he could drink his inheritance. He was a strong favourite on the evidence I saw. But come Saturday night most of the Brits turned-up for a rip-roarer down the pub. This was followed by all getting together for Sunday Lunch. Old people you can have Sunday Lunch any day of the week and get discounts on booze not on a Saturday Night. Wise up.
Another stonking night at The Cavern
Quite handily the local 5 Star hotel allowed residents of the village to use their laundry facilities for €5 a go. So with a bit of Cockney Charm and a dollop of Devon Glamour we managed to take advantage of this offer, not once but three times during our stay.
We also went for little day trips with overnight stays along the coast from Makie eastwards. Firstly we stayed just beyond the Oasis Taverna, not recommended and a bit further along towards Goudouras. We also had a Barbie with Bob and Sue and an afternoon on the beach where it was possible to swim through a sea cave. Later on we went for a meal at Makis where we had the best Pig on a stick we have ever tasted. It was so good it has inspired us to get a charcoal-based rotisserie installed back home. Just need to find a house first but I have added it to our list of gadgets along with Amazon Echo, Hue lights, August locks and Nest thermometers.
Tracy, Sue and Bob
The Bob and Sue Beach. You can see the entrance to the cave. Smashing place to park
Sunset from our van at Goudouras
The drive to Xerocampos from Ziros is as good as anything in Europe. It is a breath-taking ride on a roller-coaster of a road that snakes its way up and over the mountains of Eastern Crete and well worth a Euro of anybody’s money. We had planned to stay here a little bit longer but this exposed piece of coast was subject to some mighty strong winds. Shame
Xerocampos bay from the Van
The Road into Xerocambos
Looking along the South coast of Crete from Goudouras
Wasn’t there a film with Antonio Banderas in called this? Another small seaside village with a handful of Tavernas, a Minoan settlement and the best gorge in Eastern Crete. We ignored the numerous ‘Camping is Prohibited’ signs and bagged a spot to park on the beach before walking along the prom for a bite to eat.
As the brandies arrived we asked the owner about the abundance of No Camping signs and was alright to park. He asked us had we been visited by the local ‘malakas’ yet. No, we replied. At which point we were told to ignore him if he approaches us telling us to move on.
The next day we went for a walk into the gorge and quite stunning it was too. We did not complete the entire route as we are saving ourselves for the Samaria Gorge later on in the trip. But as a taster it was very impressive indeed and as a consequence has lit the get-up-that-chasm touch paper. The Gorge is known as the valley of the dead as it was here the ancients used to bury their dead in the plentiful caves along the gorge cliffs. We had not been back 5 minutes when Mr M turned up telling us to leave. We ascertained it was all a big wheeze to get us to use his Taverna along the road. Spanner.
Chiona has a fine beach and is like Exmouth with the town being a fair way from the coast. It does have a couple of beach side restaurants but neither are much to write home about. The beach itself is fine and the sea a pleasure to bathe in. We did only stay one night though as it Dog-Barking central. Unusually for Greece this place could take on Portugal for Mutt oral hullabaloo.
We chose to go here instead of the more well-known Vai beach. This is far less commercialised with no facilities at all apart from fresh water and secondly it doesn’t charge €2.50 just to use the car park. You still get some of Europe’s only wild Palm Forest to gawp at, not as prolific as Vai but just as accessible as the trees are behind a chain-link fence in both places.
There are three beaches in all here and we chose to stay at the one in the middle as it had the best snorkelling. We did have a Barbie on the beach and we toasted the sunset with a tipple or two.
Not a bad spot to park
Our original plan was to head to Ag. Nikolaos for our Wedding Anniversary when by chance we came across the embarrassingly picturesque village of Mochlos. Shaped around a beautiful crescent of a small bay at the bottom of impossibly steep cliffs this place has the lot beauty wise; it is even blessed with a small islet just off shore that you could snorkel to.
So, the decision was made to stop here as it was deemed to be far more romantic than any major resort. Apart from holding hands and being soppy we did nothing for a couple of days as this delightful spot.
Mirabello Golf from Mochlos
Mochlos Bay and Island
Main Street and Anniversary Girl
On the big day we shared a Spotted Bream for lunch at ‘To Bogazi’ at the end of the Pier and like the town it was beautiful. Perhaps others should go here for a special occasion. We did and we can recommend it most highly. We left here to head back to Elounda to meet up with some friends which we will blab on about in the next thrilling instalment.
Love to All