29 June 2015
on board the Tera Jet, Ios to Herakleion
Departure from Ios: on time
Announced sailing time: 2 hours 40 mins
Actual sailing time: 4 hours
Final destination: Kefali, Chania prefecture
In traveling terms, another 3 hours drive on national road from Herakleion to Kissamos, Chania prefecture, plus 1 hour narrow road snaking up the mountains. No GPS, just notes and a general idea of direction.
One of many visits to Crete but first time staying in the mountains. Velanos Villas, a group of self-catered guest houses in a small village at 460m altitude. A few more houses, two tavernas – one doubling up as mini-market – a monastery which we haven’t seen and nature. Lush, wild, beautiful Cretan nature. A touch creepy when the wind blows in the dark.
Arrived close to midnight. A lady in one of the tavernas was closing up, just in time to give us directions. A last climb on a very steep, very narrow side road and we were there. The villas are built on the side of a hill, each one at different level and with a proper name: Armonia, Nefeli, Areti, Lito.
Areti would be our nest for three nights. All the way down a lit path and steps, a bit far if carrying suitcases, but we travel light anyway. Key on the door and a welcome cake in the fridge. Our hosts fast asleep at home on the other side of the hill. We didn’t meet them until the second day but the welcoming gifts kept coming: tsikoudia and marmelade (homemade), tomatoes from the garden. A caring couple, coincidentally the wife hails from my hometown, Thessaloniki. It’s a small world.
In the morning we met the ancient guardian, whose name the house bears: a 2000-year old oak tree (vèlanos – ”βέλανος” or velanidià – ”βελανιδιά” in Greek).
Kefali, Cretan mountains
Images by Konstantinos Implikian
29 June 2015