Insistent on seeing at least one sun rise on our vacation, I set the alarm for 5.30 am. Stumbling out of bed after just 4 hours sleep, I hoped it would be worth it. The air was warm, the breeze slight. Fishing boats flashed their lanterns on the gentle swell. We drove a couple of kilometres to a more advantageous position and parked. Waiting for the event, we met 78 year old Konstantinos, whom stopped to chat as he strode past our car. The 6 kilometre walk between Mirtos and Tertsa, which he takes daily, keeps him young.
I, in the meantime, returned to my bed to top up my sleep battery.
One last dip in the ocean and we were off along the coastline again, heading further East, towards Makry Gialos, our initial intention was to walk the Pefki Gorge in the foothills of Thripti mountain range. But 7 klicks in fierce temperatures however, seemed unfeasible. Disappointed, we abandoned our plans.
Following a sign with the suggestion of a cave, we trudged along a stony path for 10 minutes or so, to Vreikos Cave, where two verdant fig trees sprouting, mark its hidden entrance. Descending down a reasonably sturdy wooden stair, we discovered two chambers, one rather more impressive than the other, with natural daylight seeping through a hidden crevice. Again, perfect silence blanketed our presence. Spending time in the sublime cool of this relatively unknown cave, revived our flagging energy levels.
Revitalized and ready for sustenance, we meandered back down the snaking road towards the coast, our ultimate destination in mind, Koutsouras.
A slightly more accessible location, but equally as appealing as Tertsa, Koutsouras.
On the last dip of our vacation, the Libyan sea rare to disappoint, was no exception today. With beach shoes to cross the rocky shelving which gives entrance to the sea, the cool water embraced our perspiring bodies, sparkling a million diamonds atop the aqua blue expanse around us. Such luxury.
Finding a shady tamarisk tree, we relaxed to dry off. The trees salty secretions dripped softened liquid around us, whilst leaf warblers, or chiff chaffs (Δεντροφυλλοσκόπος η Λαδεράκι) skittered around the branches above us, churring their song.
We considered we`d resisted the delights of Kalliotzinas cuisine long enough and made our way over lava hot sand to the only eating establishment worth mentioning, the small taverna, Kalliotzina. The best Cretan traditional cuisine I have ever sampled.
I was more than tempted to stay just one more night in local accommodation, when offered a room which proudly announced as being equipped with “ceiling blowers” – if only to eliminate the concocted vision I had in my mind of a line of dwarves, with puffed out red cheeks, keenly blasting the room with cool air!
Our whistle stop tour of select areas in Crete, was sadly at an end. Commitments pulled us back home to our water starved Kanakary, where crisped, parched gardens awaited us.