We had arranged with our friend Sabine in Jever that she would take care of our dogs during the three weeks. So we didn't start from Berlin Tegel, but from Bremen towards Crete.
Even arriving on the island was unusual. We came out of the heat into the heat. Normally every year we look forward to escaping the wet and cool summer in Germany and diving into the Cretan summer heat. This year, the only difference with Berlin was the pleasant smells of the island when the plane door opened in Heraklion.
Our flight from Bremen was only at 4:35 p.m., so that by the time we landed at around 9 p.m., the day had already said goodbye. Nevertheless, it was of course warm enough to open the hood of our jeep and then start our one-hour drive towards Platanes.
As in all the years before, we drove to the first gas station on the national road to fill up the jeep's tank and drink our first ice-cold Fanta Lemon. The gas station was closed. Since the fuel needle was (as always) just before reserve, it was therefore unrefreshed and drive slowly to the next gas station. After just a few kilometers we were lucky.
At around 11 p.m. we entered the port of Villa Dorothea. A short but warm welcome with Antje, then we went to the room. That was different too. Antje had rented "our" room to someone else, so we had to move into another one. Not tragic, but regrettable.
The next morning we started our vacation, which should be completely different from all others. It's difficult to explain, because it's not just about facts, but much more about feelings. To cut a long story short: we haven't really arrived on the island. We spent a nice 21 days on Crete, but there were no exuberant feelings.
The weather on the island was as unusual as the weather in Germany. I think we just had three cloudless days. On all other days the sky was overcast, often with thick gray clouds. Directly on the coast, the sun was mostly able to break through the clouds, but in the direction of the mountains it often looked like heavy rain. Very exceptional in August.
Of course we did a lot of tours around the island, both with Michael and Elke and alone, but somehow the kick, the fun and the sustainability were missing. It was just different.
A few days after our vacation we sat on the balcony and tried to mentally relive our time in Crete. The thoughts were stuttering and nebulous, not much stuck. But at least we were sure now: we were simply tired of Creta. Let's see where it will take us in the coming year.
Our first tour with Michael and Elke took us to the east of the island. The aim was to drive to the leprosy island via the national road and then to visit a few destinations in the interior of the island on the way back.
About 25 km before Plakia, from where we wanted to transfer to Spinalonga, we made a short stop at St. George Selinari Monastery (Agios Georgios Selinari). The monastery is just off the national road and has no parking. So, like other tourists, we had to park on the hard shoulder of the "Autobahn".
From there we continued towards Plakia, north of Agios Nikolaos, where we wanted to take the ferry to Spinalonga. Plakia is directly across from Leper Island, so a crossing is short and inexpensive. Also pleasant is the lack of crowds of tourists. However, that changed when we got off the ferry at Spinalonga. Now it was time to wait patiently in line.
The island is uninhabited today and is located in the western Gulf of Mirabello, about 5 km north of Elounda and 16 km north of Agios Nikolaos.
It is not necessarily recognizable how the lepers lived there until 1957, since a lot was destroyed or prepared for tourism, but you get at least a little insight and have a great view of the Bay of Mirabello.
After about 2 hours we returned to the ferry. We had enough water with us, but now I had an appetite for an ice-cold Fanta. There is a small shop at the dock that sells cold drinks as well as souvenirs. I grabbed a Fanta from the fridge and went to the checkout. "8 euros," demanded the young saleswoman. 8 euros for a 250 ml can! No thank you. However, I could observe that other tourists were quite willing to buy the completely overpriced offers. They are crazy, the tourists.
After the crossing to Plakia, we went back to Platanes via detours.
The first intermediate stop was the Katharo plateau, where we found an impressive Kermes oak. The lower branches and twigs had been eaten by the wild goats, making the tree look like an overgrown bonsai sapling.
As we continued our journey, we came across the Aposelimi Stausee. The dam was completed in 2012 and was originally intended to deliver water to the north coast between Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos. It never came to that. The village of Sfendili, which can be seen in the pictures in the reservoir, was only half submerged after its evacuation and is now a tourist attraction, with a chilling side effect.
From the reservoir we went to the national road and via Heraklion back to Platanes.
On our second and last tour with Michael and Elke, we visited that Kirias Monastery, to get from there on a long and arduous descent to visit the monastery Katholiko. On the way there we passed the monastery of Agia Triada (Monastery of the Trinity) passed, which of course was also worth a short visit.
Okay, after that it stayed with the monastery of Kirias. We started the descent, but the length of the way, the oppressive heat, that Wrong shoes and the knowledge of the even more arduous way back made us turn back after about half of the way.
The Museum in Axos, at the foot of Psilorite, which opened in March 2010, offers a great collection (larger than) life-size wooden figures by the sculptor George Koutantos. In an artist-guided tour for little money, you can see both see the sculptures as well as the workshop in which the works of art are created.
On an overcast morning we went to Chania Driven to see the sights of this town, which many consider to be the most beautiful town in Crete designate to discover. i.a. we visited the famous market hall (35.514167, 2024.019722), which today is almost includes only tourist stands. There are only a few real market stalls at the entrances.
About 16 km west of Platanes, we keep coming back to this small Bay over. This year we took a closer look at them. A gem in the morning at 8 a.m., in the afternoon besieged by countless tourists.
Around the same time in July, when devastating fires raged on mainland Greece, it also gave up Crete, almost 5 kilometers west of Georgioupolis Forest fire. On the photos you can see how close z. B. a gas station or a residential building escaped the fire.