BELOW : Our hotel for 8 days in a town called Kissamos, on almost the most westerly section, of the northern side of Crete.
BELOW : The lounge area near the foyer of the hotel. During the day this area is used a general lounge area, and at night it is the area used by guests or visitors when using the adjacent bar area.
BELOW : A few of the tables in the breakfast area, where a range of hot and cold items were on the menu.
BELOW : The bar area.
BELOW : The view looking from the entry to my room, towards the hills. Most of the greenery is olive trees, one of the major crops on the island of Crete. Nearly all olive farms are family owned businesses, and the olive cultivation can be traced back 4,000 years to the minoan civilisation on Crete.
BELOW : The view from the balcony outside my room, looking westward towards the port of Kissamos. (In the foreground) Once you round the headland, if you follow the coastline you are beginning to head in a generally southerly direction.
BELOW : Between our hotel and the port there are a couple of protected beaches which allow tourists to participate in various water sport activities, and sun beds are also in plentiful supply.
BELOW : I am just taking a walk around town and capturing some of the different sights. This house is just a couple of street away from the hotel, on the walk up to the main town area.
BELOW : It is only about a 10-
BELOW : Just in front of the tall fortress wall in the photo above, there is an entry on the right into Elpinikis handmade jewellery. Real flowers are used in the construction of most of the designs.
BELOW : This street is one with another section of the old fortress wall still standing. The ‘Synka’ sign is pointing you toward the super market.
BELOW : Another variation on housing in the town.
BELOW : On the main road in Kissamos now, I notice this sign. (You can see further along the street another sign which also reads the same.) I assumed the sign is meant to say ‘Customer Parking’, however, it may be that you are only permitted to park here if you are in a ‘Costume’ ? . . Another mystery to be solved .
BELOW : Another street just off the main road through town, and another example of houses.
BELOW : A ‘No Parking’ sign which was displayed on a building that was next to a building site. The way I had this one explained to me was that it roughly meant “Don’t even think of parking your donkey here, because this building site is in use 24 hors per day !”
BELOW : Further along the same street as the “Donkey Sign”.
BELOW : One street over from the previous photo, and a bit of ‘street art’ is brightening up the streetscape.
BELOW : The seat below attracted my attention because it has a decided ‘bow’. I did go and place my generously weighted body on the offending plank, however, I found no change when I got back up off it again !
BELOW : Public telephones are still available on the street. Being so close to the little church in the background, it reminded me of the song ‘Royal Telephone’. . . I know it’s a tenuous link, but hey . . It’s me, it’s not you. (To hear the song, click on the phone box)
BELOW : Another perspective of the same church.
BELOW : Looking further west down the street, from just near the public telephone in the earlier photo.
BELOW : The church is surrounded by cafes and shops, in this street which is only one street north of the main road of Kissamos.
BELOW : I was hoping that the owner of this boat did not have the name Noah, as it was just in the backyard of a house I passed on the way back down to the hotel, returning from my town centre walk.
BELOW : Today my brother and I have embarked upon a short boat cruise, on a vessel named ‘Gramvousa’, operated by Cretan Daily Cruises. We departed from Kissamos port and travelled about 60 mins to Gramvousa Island, and then on to Balos Lagoon. This is a portside view of the land road to Balos.
BELOW : Arriving at Gramvousa Island the visitors are quick to disembark and start exploring. The vessel has a passenger capacity of 1,200 and is 79 metres long and 15 metres wide, with a top speed of 12 nautical miles per hour. We will have around 2 hours to explore the island and have a swim if desired.
BELOW : The view back to the mainland (Crete), and the waters surrounding Gramvousa.
BELOW : The main point of interest on the island is the Venetian castle, built by the Venetians around 1579. It is at about 137 metres above sea level, and many of the travellers from the boat have every intention of making the trek to the top. My brother made it to the top, however, I only made it to about the halfway mark, before I entrusted him with getting photos from the top !
BELOW : Fortunately, a zoom lense photo makes it appear that I got a lot closer to the top than I actually did. So I won’t tell anyone, if you don’t. . . Shhhh . . I am pretty sure that is my brother standing next to the dome, taking a photo looking back towards the boat and the bay.
BELOW : As we depart Gramvousa for the 15 minute ride to Balos, we get one last view of the 137 metre difference between sea level and the castle.
BELOW : Balos Lagoon is a lovely lagoon area back on the island of Crete. There is a slow and winding dirt road that can be driven from Kissamos to Balos, but I think the day cruise is a more hassle free method. Another 2 hours were allocated for rest and recreation at Balos Lagoon, before returning to Kissamos, about 6½ hours in total for the complete day’s excursion.
BELOW : It is not surprising that this area has remained relatively pristine, because there are no shops or toilets to be found. So, having your own boat with all facilities available is a bonus to both the tourists and to the coffers of the cruise operators. Thankfully, food and drink were all reasonably priced.
BELOW : Today we are travelling to a coastal village called Elafonisi. A beautiful beach area on the southwestern corner of Crete. We travelled by local bus from Kissamos, a journey of about 1¼ hours, through fascinating terrain, on a road that at some stages has amazing crevasses. The welcome to the park is basically a sign imploring you to not take samples of the pink sand ! The day we chose to visit was unfortunately an extremely windy day, so I think some sand came with us in our hair and clothes.
BELOW : The umbrellas and sun beds certainly increase the comfort factor.
BELOW : The hills in the background had to be traversed in the bus, to arrive at Elafonisi.
BELOW : The sand is a very fine grained consistency.
BELOW : I am standing next to these rubbish bins for two reasons. 1) To show I did actually manage to get a bit tanned on the trip. 2) To show how tall these bins were, coming up to nearly the height of my armpits ! Obviously, they have more to deal with, than just my trashy comments.
BELOW : Look closely and you will notice the grey structure (with no stairs) has a disabled sticker near the top. These structures are actually three unisex toilets near the beach. Just after I took this photo the wind was so strong, that as a customer exited the left hand white door, it was blown off its hinges ! AND then there were two . . .
BELOW : A giant mushroom ? Or is it a rock conveniently providing me with much sought after free shade ? Not that I would ever be referred to as a ‘skin flint’.
BELOW : Some people found wind barriers behind rocks or trees or whatever took their fancy.
BELOW : You can see a few ripples on the water here, again the influence of the wind.
BELOW : This one almost reads as if it has been written by a real estate agent. (Except for the graffiti, up near the top.)
BELOW : In 1992 the first greenhouse was erected in Elafonisi by a tomato producer. In 2002 a co-
BELOW : Next morning back in Kissamos, the seas across the road from our hotel have become more threatening as the windy weather blows in from the north west today.
BELOW : This is the road immediately in front of the hotel. As we prepare to move on to Chania this morning, we see a lot of sand and debris has been washed in by the tide, over and through the low wall. It is late September, so we can’t expect summer to last forever.
BELOW : As a point of difference to Balos Lagoon, Elafonisi Beach has a lot more of the creature comforts that enhance the experience of visiting the beach.
BELOW : The local surf shop price list for various activities.
Take note of the very last item, ‘In case of rescue boat !’
ON TO CHANIA
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Click here to see my YouTube clip of the single lane, mountain road tunnel, about 20 mins further along the road from Elafonisi. Traffic lights at each end.
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