It was time for a redo of the Crete trip. Since we didn't really get to see much the first time around (except of course the inside of a hospital) we booked tickets to Crete for May. This time we traveled with two doctors, just to be safe. Oh yeah, they also happen to be our friends. We have known Kyle and Julie since our time in Japan and we were super happy that they wanted to make the trip across the pond to come adventuring with us.
We arrived one day before them and spent some time hanging around the harbor in Chania until our apartment was ready.
In the morning we took a drive out to the monastery Agia Triada. It was so picturesque we may have taken about 100 too many pictures.
As all the best monasteries do, this one made wine. It was fantastic.
Then we went down the road a little more to Gouverneto Monastery which is the starting point for a scenic hike down to the ocean.
Here is a close up of a cave and then the same picture zoomed out. See if you can spot the cave.
The hike included a really large old bridge, and it even included some billy goats. They weren't so gruff.
We still had some time before we picked up Kyle and Julie so we enjoyed time for a Greek Frappe and garlic dip while looking at the harbor and military base in Souda bay. We just stumbled upon this most picturesque restaurant with tables, well manicured lawn, sand, and an incredible view.
We enjoyed a stroll along the harbor along with some microbrewed Greek beers.
We drove to Vamos to do a little walking and see about some cooking classes. Turns out no cooking classes that day but we did go on a really nice walk and see some beautiful flowers followed by yet another delicious Greek meal.
Impromptu fruit picking.
Interesting roof. I wonder if the rock was weighing it down?
More fruit picking. I really love picking fruit.
It's just so ridiculously gorgeous in Greece.
Back in town we enjoyed an adult beverage and the city wildlife.
Our apartment was located in a 300-500 year old building. There was some disagreement among the locals on the age of the building. It was a traditional hamam, a bath house, originally. The toilet was very entertaining to walk into when it was dark.
The next day we set out for an olive oil tasting at a mill called Biolea. They make olive oil in the traditional method by crushing the olives by millstones. The mill was located in a valley up on a hill with 360 degree views. This would be the perfect location for a wedding or party. The pictures do not even begin to do it justice.
Rental car photo shoot.
The Biolea folks recommended a nearby gorge for a hike before lunch.
I cannot believe we don't have pictures from lunch but it was a little family owned place sitting under the pergolas with grape vines growing everywhere. We had one of everything and loved every dish. All of the customers sitting there were repeat customers from years past and the server remembered each one of them. I would like to go back sometime and test his memory.
Next up 500 year old olive tree.
We had a beach day next that included a hike down into a canyon to get there. Balos beach is one of the most famous beaches of Crete and I can see why. Can you find all the sheep?
The name of this blog comes from this beach experience. The beach had many goats on it and it turns out that they try to eat everything you have. One got a hold of an orange peel and from that moment on we were stalked prey. Goaty McGoatface and Sylvester worked together to flank us while the other served as a distractor. Luckily we fought them off with a few claps and hand waves.
This was another pit stop on our drive. We had a frappe, a view, and a relaxing moment here. Also, we paid homage to the wooden goat in honor of our new goat friends.
Beach day round two. This time we went to Elafonissi which is known for its pink sand made by pink shells. It was beautiful and packed. Everyone went for a swim except for me. I was a chicken because the water was still quite cold.
Yummy lunch outside of town. This was a giant piece of cruton like bread with cheese, tomato, and balsamic on top.
For our final group day together we went to the Chania botanical gardens. This place lures you in with signs in town but it turns out that it is a 20 or so mile drive up into the mountains. Ultimately it was worth the drive but Julie and I weren't so sure as we snaked up the switchbacks and felt our stomachs in our throats.
This botanical gardens is privately owned and was formally farm land for olives and oranges. After a devastating fire, the family reinvented their farmland as a botanical garden to share with visitors of Crete. It is a gorgeous property and they serve a great lunch too.
We went back to our original cafe on Souda bay to kill some time before dropping Kyle and Julie off at the airport. Kyle went for a short swim and Julie and I walked along the beach to an American memorial nearby. We also enjoyed some frappes, as all Cretan visitors should.
They have a playground there too complete with a dinosaur rocking horse.
We took Kyle and Julie to the airport and said, "see you later." We are happy to report that they are moving only one hour away from us this summer! We are so excited to have such good friends close by.
We then made our way down to the southern end of the island to Agia Galini. This is a former little fishing village turned tourist mecca but I have to say, it has retained its charm. Here is the beach area.
Our inn in Agia Galini.
The next day we took a little hike in the morning and spent the afternoon lounging at a cafe/restaurant that overlooked the beach. Parts of the hike reminded me of Arizona.
Goats and goat shadows
We made a trip out to Preveli beach with a stop along the way for more hiking.
Preveli beach was a little tricky to find and involved driving along a tiny road with a steep drop off with no guard rail. I don't think we ever would have made it to this beach without the help of a local Greek man who stopped us from going down some crazy ungraded dirt road where we probably would have ended up pushing our little Fiat Panda!
The beach before the beach.
The hike to the beach.
The funny thing about Greece is, that no matter how far you drive on whatever crazy kind of road and no matter how far you walk or hike, there will ALWAYS be a taverna at the end of your adventure! You can see the two tavernas in the previous pictures.
Finally, Prevelli beach.
This beach is known for its Palm Forest and river leading down into the sea.
Our last day we went for a walk along another dirt path over two hills. On the other side turned out to be a local beach. This was the first spot we went to that wasn't predominately tourists. I finally was brave enough to make it into the water and after the initial shock, it wasn't quite that cold. This little beach, Agios Giorgios had the BEST taverna and BEST food of the entire trip. I loved the whole vibe with hippie/surf bum/beach servers, cover bands playing reggae and oldies on the radio, and yet another gorgeous view. I hope one day we can come back to this spot.
Quinn told me that this was one of his favorite trips and I have to agree. The welcoming people, delicious food, and unbeatable scenery of Greece are magical.