Nothing like a visit from your nieces & co to rock your typically peaceful world. Their thirst for exploration and adventure touched and re-ignited my jaded Cretan wanderlust.
A breathe-taking trek up Sarakinas Canyon (Φαράγγι Σαρακίνας), where young men whom reverted to boys once more, revelled in the pleasures of skimming stones and assaulting the deep pools with “rock-bombs”. Stamina and strength were checked by all on this demanding trek.
Our next adventure checked a box on my aged bucket list. One which, despite my frequent appeals to spark hubbie`s adventurous nature, always fell on deaf ears. Something, I`m told, to do with a slight phobia of sailing. Oft`times called Donkey Island (Γαϊδουρονήσι), but more commonly named Chryssi Island, or Golden Island.
The one hour`s boat journey from Ierapetra was pleasant. Our arrival on the South side of this little paradise was greeted by, amongst others, an “off the grid” sun-bronzed, island inhabitant, whom awaited his survival package, which he promptly loaded onto his canoe and paddled away gently before I had chance to investigate his story further.
We crossed to the touristy “Golden Beach”, where toxic disco music belted out for the duration of our 5 hour stay on the island. Luckily, we were able to distance ourselves from the throng and racket, making camp under a perfect cedar as a base to explore this fascinating place from. The beach is indeed almost tropical, with soft, white sand. The sea, a magical aqua blue was cool, but inviting. In an amazing paradox, we could see across to the snow covered mountain caps on mainland Crete, whilst the luxurious sand caressed our toes.
The rare, low slung Lebanon Cedar trees hold steadfastedly to the sand dunes, radiating their roots across the surface of the sand, twisted and interlaced into captivatingly intricate tangles.
Our picnic in the shade, brought a friend, whom relished the moisture from the tomato and cucumber pieces we provided.
Remnants of abandoned campsites, with destroyed tents and discarded equipment, typically, marred this mini paradise. Surprisingly, we witnessed forest guards patrolling through the dunes. Due to the invisible blinkers which they were obviously wearing, they failed completely to notice the eyesore rubbish.
However, this did not detract from the wonder of the island. It truly is a little jewel of Crete, which I would recommend to anybody looking for a good day out. Five hours, certainly wasn`t enough to explore this island fully. If I should be lucky enough to return, I`ll pledge a mini “rubbish collection safari”, simply, because I should.
Credit and thanks to Jenny, Chris, Kate, Vicky and Graham