A trip to Crete in January is always going to have a good dousing of rain, but then there are vivid blue-sky days to make it all worthwhile. The mountain areas have snow in winter, and many tavernas at high altitudes keep an album of photos to surprise people visiting Crete for their summer holiday. This year snow had even fallen in our village of Kritsa, 1000ft above sea level, in the foothills of the Dikti Mountains. However, torrential rain had washed away all evidence of village snow by the time we arrived.
One of our first walks was in the hills opposite Kritsa to look back at the remaining snow.
You can see my house from here!
A few days later, we drove up the winding mountain road to Katharo Plateau planning to walk along a main track to look down on Lassithi Plateau. Within two kilometres of starting our drive, snow was evident at the roadsides, but didn’t create a driving problem. A sparkling blue sky, with sun bouncing off the high mountain peaks surrounding the plateau, gave it a magical air. Devoid of people, dogs and flocks, the quiet was remarkable. The snow-covered ground had removed food opportunities for birds, so it was truly silent, broken only by our boots tramping through slushy snow where 4×4 trucks had previously passed.
After a short while, no vehicles had used the track and walking became difficult, if not downright risky. Instead of the distance that we’d hoped to cover, we settled for flasks of soup on the sun warmed concrete step of this lovely old church, where one of its bells is fashioned from a WW2 bomb.
It was so warm Alan decided to dry his socks before the walk back.
Last weekend gave us an opportunity to walk with Phil and Hilary in the Thripti Mountains, on part of the famous E4 path that follows the spine of Crete from its eastern most tip, all the way to the west. Our aim was a particularly remote section starting at a lush village called Orino, guided by Phil and his trusty handheld GPS device. All progressed well until the E4 signs said one way and the GPS another…
Here’s Hilary prematurely celebrating that we’d found the path indicated by the GPS.
Two hours later, after we’d survived a scary decent down a steep pathless scrubland (that smelt wonderful as we scrambled across sage, oregano, thyme and vicious spiked bushes), and without exception gained cuts, bruises, and thorns, we agreed that if there was ever a disagreement between way-signs and the GPS we’d follow the signs!
Here’s Hilary and I threatening to punch Phil as he woos us with a stem of wild narcissus that he found where he fell!
Laughing again as we walked along a sturdy gravel path to the remote village of Chrisopigi, (where we’d previously left one car) we waved to busy olive pickers, but declined their friendly offer to assist them as we’d had more than enough exercise for one day!
Where to next Phil?