We finally reached to an agreement between weather and diary! The sunshine made the rainfall of the past days seems like a forgotten past… We decided to head to Southern Crete taking a hilly route through the mountains of Lasithi.
At first, we took the National Road Heraklion-Agios Nikolaos. Soon, we left it behind and followed the provincial road net from the crossroad near Hersonissos. Which, by the way, was good enough and without heavy traffic (comparing to the summer season!). In about 50 km we reached the crossroad for Agios Nikolaos, we turned right for Ierapetra and continued the coast line. Before the village Istros, we followed the sign for Kalo Horio. It is a twisty, narrow road, climbing the hills and the view is breathtaking.
At some point we saw a small church at the top of a hill. We had reached Prina. Aris told us that he had spent a few summers at this village, as a child. We did not miss the chance to visit his aunt’s house. We also found a strange church at the entrance of the village. It is orange and looks like a catholic church. Don’t miss it, if you ever visit the area.
The altitude now was 600-650 meters. The road looked like deserted. But the fact that in every village you could see signs for taverns, pensions in English language, made me believe that there must be no village in Crete untouched by the tourists!
On the way, we passed through the village Males and just before the village Mythoi we turned right to visit the Sarakina Gorge. Small wooden signs lead you there. At the entrance, the first thing you see is a small dam. Aris and Ada informed us that this was not there at their last visit to the gorge, a few months ago. Anyway, just 10 minutes of walking are enough and the picture is spectacular! We hope it’ll stay like and the infrastructure works won’t destroy the place.
As we reached the village Mythoi, we followed the sign for Viannos. We could now enjoy the view of the Libyan Sea, and see faintly the southest island of Greece, the island of Chryssi.
We chose the green village of Kato Symi for our lunch. Our Cretan friends know this place from previous moto-riding to the area. If you continue the road up the hill (through a passable off-road way) you can visit the plateau of Mikros Omalos. Of course at this time, it is full of snow and we could not continue.
We tasted some local traditional plates and we took the way back, through Arkalohori-Peza. The route is interesting, but it was getting dark and we could not see much. Maybe, some other time…
We made 195 km in total. Once more, Crete confirmed its diversity of colors and views. At this point, I would like to mention that many roads (off roads mainly) on the island are re-constructed. So, along with the maps, it is wiser to get information from local people…