Winter walk & a monastery

Near Rethymno the Mili gorge was once filled with mills producing the flour for the island, nowadays there are only some ruins left, but the gorge provides a nice walk along the river. Afterwards we visited one of the most important monasteries of Crete: Arkadi monastery.


Snow covered mountains & a swim at a lonesome bay

Winter had arrived in Crete, with the mountains covered in snow. But down at the coast the weather was nice again and when we discovered the most beautiful bay, I couldn't resist and go for a swim.


@ Rethymno

Rethymno in the north of Greece lies between Chania and Heraklion. It is another city where also in winter live goes on, which we enjoyed after so many places which seamed abandoned after the tourist season in summer.

Fortezza of Rethymno

Balos Beach



The north western tip of Crete is a peninsula inhabited only by sheep and goats. But there is one beach not many can resist to visit: Balos beach with its turquoise lagoon!


A hike and a birthday!


For celebrating my birthday we drove to the north of Crete to the town of Chania but first a birthday hike was on my wish list. The Samaria gorge would have been the perfect hike, but sadly it is closed every winter already from mid October and doesn't open before mid of May. But we found another gorge called Imbros, which was perfect for a short hike during not so perfect weather.


Harbour of Chania


Around Cape Kako Mouri

From our next stop at the village of Plakiás with a beautiful sandy beach we took a hike around a headland which had some nice surprises for us.

View back to Plakiás

Have you heard of Matala?

If you are into the Greek myths you might have heard that Zeus seduced princess Europa in the form of a white bull, crossed the sea and brought her to the beach of Matala. There he changed into an eagle and flew her to Gortys where they had a son which was king Minos.

Or you might have heard about Matala as the Hippie hub of the 60s!

Caves from the Neolithic Age in the northern cliff of the bay

On the road in Crete

Driving through Crete with our caravan is not as difficult as we suspected. The roads are in general very good, but also here the good road often ends suddenly and your are stuck in a tiny village with this dangerous balconies we have already made contact with at the Peloponnese. (See here)


Hike @ Pervolakia Gorge

Crete is full of beautiful gorges and everyone is different. This one in the south east of Crete was another great hike, again we were the only people there and of course no bar or restaurant was open.



Valley of the Death

Luckily this valley isn't called Valley of the Death because of so many dead hikers but because of the caves the Minoans had used to bury their dead. This valley with its imposing walls of about 200 metres hight is also a part of the E4, the longest of all European long-distance hiking trails. From here the E4 continues on Cyprus, which is the eastern end.


Ítanos & Sitía

From Sitía we went on a tour to the north eastern peninsula of Crete which is the driest part of the island, with a desert like landscape without any trees.

Access road to a radar station which crumbles on the edges

Exploring the ancient water supply @ Mesonas gorge

A hike starting in Kavoúsi led us high into the mountains and back down along a water channel through a fantastic valley back to one of the oldest olive trees and finally the village again.


Solving a major infrastructural problem .....


Some times a day starts with bad surprise. The toilet stopped working. Somehow the waste pipe system seems to be blocked. Lets see how to solve the infrastructural inconvenience.


The Chauga Gorge Hike

A truely fantastic gorge lies just inland from Ágios Nikólaos near the lovely village of Kritsá. It is called Chauga Gorge and leads through a very narrow valley with washed out walls.


Gorge of Aposelémis hike

Our first hike at Crete led us through the Gorge of Aposelémis near Heraklion, for sure one of many gorges we will hike on this island.


Lost place "Dionysos Village"

If you drive east along the coast from Sitia you will see a little village at the sea side from the distance which looks different somehow.  Something looks wrong, somehow lost. We stopped at the closed gate to explore the story of the "Dionysos Village" ...

Knossos

Yesterday we saw many artefacts found at Knossos, today we went to discover the largest Bronze Age archaeological site which has been called Europe's oldest city.

Rebuilt part of the palace

@ Heraklion

Arriving in Heraklion by ferry we spent the first day exploring the city and visiting the Archeological Museum which houses all the important finds on the Minoan culture from all over Crete.


On the way to Kreta

After our tour through the Peloponnese we now wanted to visit Crete, the largest island of Greece and the 5th largest of the Mediterranean Sea. Crete lies about 100 km south of the Greek mainland which meant a ferry ride of 9 hours.



The Acropolis of Athens

Before flying back to Vienna for a week of work, we spent a day at Athens and visited the famous Acropolis.


Greek Chapels

If you ever have been to Greece, you will have noticed the little chapels which people erect next to the street. They come in many different shapes and this post is solely dedicated to them.

Mycenae

Today Mycenae was on our program - the centre of Greek civilisation in the 2nd millennium BC! I was looking forward to visit the famous Lion Gate and the Cyclopean Walls of this incredibly old town.

The Lion Gate at Mycenae, the only known monumental sculpture of Bronze Age Greece

Rainy day on the road to Neméa

There isn't only sunshine in Greece. Nevertheless we had a great trip from the northern coast through the mountains to Neméa, where an interesting archeological site has a well preserved stadium.

At the beach of our Camping Stop

Olympia

If Olympia makes you think of the 5 interlocking rings and endless hours in front of the TV, I can tell you there is much more in regard of the history of this games. The sanctuary where the games were carried out in Antiquity lay under 4 m of soil before it was uncovered again in the 19th century.


The Horseshoe Bay

Today our hike lead us to a lagoon, a castle and the most beautiful bay I have seen - the Voidoikilia beach shaped like the letter Omega.


Repairing the Box


As we crashed our "cochecito" into a balcony and caused some damage on the box we needed to repair the critical part of the skin.
In Kalamata we found a shop for motor boats which could provide the materials we looked for.

Materials for 21.- Euros to repair the damage


South of Messinia

As we had circled the two first "fingers" of the Peloponnese we also made a tour around the third one, visiting 2 cute little villages with Venetian castles: Koroni and Methoni!


The Polylimnio waterfall hike

We didn't expect too much when we read about a waterfall just off the road from Kalamata to Pílos, but we were surprised with what we found.


Exploring Mystras

Mystras - once a Byzantine medieval town with several ten thousand inhabitants - was not only an interesting historic sight but also a hike up the mountains.


The Spartan Race

What luck we just arrived at Sparta the day the Trifecta World Championship started!!

On the way to Sparta

A fantastic road connects Kalamáta with Sparta, crossing the Taígettos mountains over a pass at 1.300 metres.

Mani fortification

The historic houses at the Mani peninsula are outstanding and today we went to visit the Mourtzinos fortification in Kardamyli on the west coast.


Hike @ Kelefa

From this beautiful bay at the Mani peninsula starts a hike which promised a castle, a village, a monastery and a canyon - we got all of that and more.

Lost Monastery Sotiras

After ending the last day at the harbour of Kótronas we had parked there for the night. The next morning we decided to hike up to the monastery of Sotiras.


The Mani and the home of Hades

Today the Mani Peninsula had to be discovered! We drove most of the way and hiked the last part to the cape where Greek legend placed the home of Hades.


A ship wreck & a crash test

We were on the way to this ship wreck when we had a little crash into a balcony :-(


Hike @ Cap Maleas

A hike took us close to Cap Maleas in the southeast of the Peloponnese with great views along the coast. 

Parking for the night

@ Monemvasia

Monemvasia is one of the highlights on the Peloponnese through its position on a special island just off the coast.

BBQ at the beach

We were looking for a nice place at the coast South of Leonidio and found the bay of Fokianós, where we enjoyed the beach and the greek taverns.


Medieval City & Monastery

We had landed at Geraki by accident while searching for a parking for the night. But the historic castle and city was a great experience. Afterwards we drove through the mountains again and visited the Monastery of Elona in the Defnon valley.

Incredible frescos at Geraki 

Hike @ Polydroso

 We left the coast near Astros to explore the Parnon mountains where we wanted to go on a hike at Polydroso.

Harvest time

A hike @ Náfplio

Náfplio is a lovely harbour town in the south east of Peloponnese from where we took a walk along the coast and back to the centre.


How to charge the on board water tank with natural spring water ...




What if there is no camp ground or service point with tap water connection on your way?


Fresh spring water

Epidaurus

From the coast we drove inland to Epidaurus but stopped first at the dolines of Didyma.

The famous theatre of Epidaurus

Poros & Hydra

There were 2 islands we wanted to visit: Poros just of the coast and Hydra, a bigger but car free island in the south.


The volcano island

We explored the volcanic peninsula of Méthana where you still can see the last lava flows of the area.


@ Corinth

We had to cross the Canal of Corinth to reach the Peloponnese, where we want to spend the next month.

Canal of Corinth at night

Olymp & Meteora

After crossing the Olymp mountain range we reached the truly fascinating landscape of Meteora with its monasteries.

Arriving @ Greece

Greece greeted us with a roman play at a historic town and a castle at the sea on a beautiful day.

Pyramids, a Monastery and a Bulgarian wine tasting .....

On the way from Sophia to the Greek border were some interesting things to discover: sand pyramids, a little monastery and in the evening a winery, where we could taste different Bulgarian wines.