We knew when we set out that a week-long trip to Crete, or Kriti, as it is known here, simply isn't long enough to see all that this, the largest of the Greek islands, has to offer.
So our itinerary was based on two criteria: revisit some of our favorite places and make the face-to-face acquaintance of several Facebook friends who live there.
|Bound for Crete from our departure port Gythio|
The length of our stay in late June was determined by the once-a-week sailing schedule of the ferry we had taken from Gythio, in our Peloponnese region of Greece to this elongated island on the southern edge of the Aegean Sea.
|Our week-long itinerary took us to some of our favorite places|
We arrived in Crete's most western port city of Kissamos, in the wee small hour of the morning. We then drove to nearby Chania, with its charming old town wrapped around its Venetian harbor. Then, after two nights, it was up and over the White Mountain range to the island's southern coast for another two nights in Chora Sfakia. While there, we did a day trip (by ferry) to Loutro . Then, retracing our route back over the mountains, we headed east to Plaka for another two nights. Our final night was spent in the port city of Kissamos. In this post I will take you as far as Loutro. . .
|Driving in Crete is a different experience|
Crete/Kriti, at 8,450 square kilometers/3,260 square miles, is so large that it can easily take five hours to drive from its western end to the eastern, a distance of some 340 kilometers.
I was most excited about our stay in Chania because I have some very good friends there; friends who I had never met face-to-face. And while I know many of you reading this have your qualms about Facebook, I can tell you that some of the friendships I have made through that social medium are among the many reasons that I sing its praises.
One FB friend in Chania has been a friend so long that I don't even remember how we met in this on-line world. It was her family-owned hotel that had booked for our first two nights.
|Fagotta bar old town Chania|
Despoina's small five-studio hotel, Iason Studios, is located only footsteps from the harbor on a street that in the evening turned itself into a fairy-tale setting. And I knew she was a good friend when she told me that she didn't mind waiting until 1 a.m. for our arrival! Yikes!
|The balcony on our 'Lavender' studio|
After Despoina got us settled in our studio and headed home for the night, we kicked off our holiday with a glass of wine at the bar named Fagotto, Greek for the musical instrument, a bassoon. We sat at one of the half dozen tables set up on this narrow street. I didn't think our surroundings could get better until I opened the door and saw our bougainvillea-draped balcony in the morning sun. We couldn't have been in a better location. The suite, which came with kitchen, sitting area, and bedroom, was huge. And our hostess was a charming as I knew she would be! Luckily the Greek government removed the 'wear the mask outdoors' requirement the day we arrived so that she and I could pose for the photo below.
|My friend Despoina outside her Iason Studios|
The other friends I wanted to meet in Chania were the mother-daughter team who own and operate a jewelry store, Alexia Jewels. We also met on social media when I selected an anniversary necklace from a FB post of theirs last year. The ease of that transaction kicked off our friendship. Throughout the year we've messaged, just to stay in touch.
|Alexia and Eveline, friends at Alexia Jewels in Chania, Crete|
South to Chora Sfakia
|Approaching Chora Sfakia by ferry|