Crete # travel notes

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


4 thoughts on “Crete # travel notes

  1. Never been to Crete! 😀 But it must be really beautiful! I love those old trees, you can find them in many places in Greece. We had a very old one in my village as well, was my favorite tree but they cut it down cause it was causing too much shadow… People are stupid…

    • It’s just too far when you have Chalkidiki isn’t it? I first went only ten years ago. It is really beautiful. Also self-sustainable. There is everything on this island – it could be a small country. I mean they even have their own bank! And their own laws, as we all know 🙂

      How horrible to cut down old trees, it just hurts. And it’s not as if we don’t need the shadow in Greece. Stupid indeed!

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