Matala 02/11 – 12/11/2016
The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn’t sleep
Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here Carey
But it’s really not my home
My fingernails are filthy, I got beach tar on my feet
And I miss my clean white linen and my fancy French cologne
Come on down to the Mermaid Café and I will
Buy you a bottle of wine
And we’ll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down
Let’s have a round for these freaks and these soldiers
A round for these friends of mine
Let’s have another round for the bright red devil
Who keeps me in this tourist town
The night is a starry dome
And they’re playin’ that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matala Moon
And if you want to see her Joniness perform Carey you can watch it by clicking HERE
And 45 years later here we are; a couple of old corporate suits in Hippie Central, but at least we were the honest ones. So, what is Matala like today? It has a spectacular setting in a perfect cove with one side impersonating a well-known Swiss cheese and the other the majority of the town. The village is interesting for such a small place with the streets being painted with all sorts of hippie paraphernalia. In the main this means the words Love and Peace, the CND sign, the V sign, daisies and cartoons of VW campers being repeated over and over again as you make your merry way along avoiding the endless Chinese-sourced tat on sale.
Matala is also the site where Zeus swam ashore with the kidnapped Europa before getting her pregnant with the future King Minos. Some will say, but not I, that Greece has been shagging Europe ever since.
So what did we do here for eleven days? For starters we didn’t play any Joni Mitchell, not even Carey, Neil Young or Bob Marley because everyone else was. We didn’t buy any baggy pants or leather sandals as they are the fashion equivalent of having a night out with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss the finer arts of die-cast modelling techniques. We didn’t light up any joss sticks as they smell like somebody has smoked twenty woodbine in your underpants once they expire.
We did spend a lot of the time on the beach and in the sea. We did have a few terrible meals in the local restaurants and we walked quite a bit.
Cat or Mouse
Beach Side View
About 30 minutes away over the cliffs by use of your trotters brings you to the alternative beach to the one in town and is known locally as ‘Red Beach’. It is quite steep and rocky in places with a firmness of foot required especially on the downhill sections. Your reward for this strenuous exercise is to be greeted with dollops of naked white flesh cavorting about. On seeing this developing picture of a German-speaking naked Hades Tracy put her head down and ran full-pelt to join them. Only a swift response from myself avoided the impending catastrophe. We retreated as fast as our little legs could carry us and to the safety of Matala and its amply clothed residents.
The upshot to all of this exposure of stark-naked blobbiness was the half-way point of the walk made an idea spot for us to walk to every day from Matala. And we did.
Not only did this little circuit meet Tracy’s daily step quota it exceeded her ‘stairs’ goal and all without seeing some or all of Mrs Merkel’s relatives in the Buffo. It also afforded some wonderful views of Matala.
From the top of our daily walk
The most disappointing thing about Masala, apart from the ‘plastic’ hippies is the food. Matala is not blessed with much accommodation apart from a huge campsite sited on the side of a mountain and a couple of low-rent concrete blocks masquerading as hotels. Consequently most visitors are day-trippers bussed in from the big resorts on the North Coast. In peak–periods these numbers can swell to 10,000 people per day and this is in a village with a population of 300.
The downside to this model is the restaurants know they do not have to worry about repeat business and cater accordingly. The only poor food we have had in Crete was here. So how do places get rave reviews on Tripadvisor? Has everyone got the taste of Donald Trump? Surely you only give 5 stars to something exceptional and not to somewhere that can just about make a sandwich. But we knew that. One thing we have learned on our travels is that Tripadvisor is un-trustworthy.
The Famous Mermaid Café
So that is Matala. Beautiful location but a bit let done by its own greed. Much the same as the Hippie Movement itself.
Sunset at Matala
Preveli Beach 12/11/2016
Preveli Beach is one of the highlights in the whole of Greece according to Lonely Planet. They haven’t been to Greece then. Listen to this piffle
A collage of natural beauty, Preveli Beach is like an exclamation mark idling at the mouth of the Megaloptamos River at the end of its meander through the rugged Kourtalliotiko Gorge. Where the canyon meets the beach, the stream’s chilly water tumbles through a jungle of oleander endemic palm trees into a lagoon hemmed in by soft sand and the shimmering Med. Its stunning setting makes Preveli one of Crete’s most celebrated strands.
And in the real world;
This same source of knowledge told us to drive to Amoudi and walk the 1Km across the cliffs to avoid paying for the car park and a steep descent down the cliffs. In a small car this might be sage advice. On second thoughts in a small car it is not that good either. For us it was a complete mare. On one steep section we had to get the shovel out to try and smooth the road out to enable some traction to enable us to leave this piece of paradise. If you going to go to Preveli then go to the proper car park. We will leave you with some pictures of this area.
The view from Phaestos
Parked at Amoudi
Coastline @ Preveli
Drive out from Amoudi
Love to All