Tag Archives: Kavousi

Minoan Heights – Kastro

dscn7000The first February weekend in Crete saw the weather turn from snowy wet winter to spring. For us this meant one thing, head to the mountains. Our friend and walking guide, Phil is very keen on Minoan history and he chose a fabulous hike ending at the ancient site of Kastro. This was an especially interesting route for us as we can see these mountains from our balcony in Kritsa.

We started from the village of Kavousi where there are notice boards to direct you to an ancient olive tree and three different Minoan sites.

This little church dedicated to Agia Paraskevi, Saint Friday, made an interesting stop. The notice board explained it was once a monastery for nuns. Our path continued behind the where there were outbuildings, possible the monastery accommodation.

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dscn7052At the top of the path we crossed a ‘saddle’ to look down the other side of the mountain where we saw many other tempting paths. This time we headed left to Kastro. Unlike many Minoan sites we’ve visited this one has good signage to explain the remains and provide insight to the lifestyle.

 

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In the hazy distance you can just see our scorpion shaped village, Kritsa. Most of the white covering the mountains is cloud but you can just see a smudge of snow top right.

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If you have a smartphone you can download Wikiloc, free of charge and use the route I uploaded to do the same walk.

https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/spatialArtifacts.do?event=view&id=32732274&measures=on&title=on&near=on&images=on&maptype=HPowered by Wikiloc

Up and Over Thripti Mountains

Across Kritsa olive groves to Thripti

From my balcony in Kritsa, Crete we gaze out across olive groves to the sea with the Thripti Mountains providing a wonderful backdrop. Such a wide expanse means we always have an amazing view no matter what the weather, but perhaps it’s no surprise that a blue sky is my favourite. During the early part of the day the mountains look one-dimensional. Drama begins in the afternoon when the setting sun sends angled rays to bring the mountains to sharp relief.

After enjoying many lazy August beach days we wanted a change of scene, so welcomed the drive up and over the mountains to the south coast. The road to the village of Thripti is tarmac/concrete all the way and suitable for any car driven by someone who doesn’t mind the road sometimes going close to a sheer drop or needing a tight move to pass a vehicle going in the opposite direction. However, to go beyond Thripti, a 4×4 vehicle is best.

A trip to Thripti is a great experience in its own right, and the village taverna does great mezes, small dishes of food to accompany your drinks.

 

 

To pass over the mountains, the dusty road winds between towering cliffs and then bumps down to the beautiful village of Orino at the head of a gorge that runs to the sea.

 

You can also access Orino from Koutsouras on the south-east coast via a winding, safe tarmac road and is certainly worth a visit if you want to see a thriving community well away from the trappings of tourism. There are two tavernas where you can enjoy a drink and mezes local style.

There is a lovely communal theatre area and on previous visits we’ve seen people busy cleaning up after festivals. Our tradition is to take a packed lunch to enjoy on the shady steps. Sometimes a delightful lady has delivered fruit and raki to finish our lunch. A surprise visitor, she appears from nowhere, and then dashes away, she must just love giving in true Cretan style.

We’ve not walked the gorge…yet. If you’d like guidance from people who have walked the gorge CLICK HERE

Meanwhile, here’s a set of photos from Orinio, full of blooms despite August heat.

 

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Down on the south coast the sea looked so inviting, and thanks to Steve of the fabulous blog Crete Nature we knew a hidden rock pool for a lovely swim.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a ‘dip’ in my summer photos.