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Mariposa, California to Chania, Crete to Burning Loins at Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi Beach in Crete, Greece

The journey to Elafonisi Beach in Crete, Greece

It took a lot of travel to get back to my home away from home in Chania, Crete.

The 28-hour journey by car, four flights, buses and foot left me in a state of absolute exhaustion.  As I walked the familiar streets from the bus station to my 12th-century hotel overlooking the Venetian harbor, I pondered how this place, so far away, has become a home for me as much as any other.

Sophia, the hotel owner, greets me with a hug and shows me my room; a ground floor cell that is usually not rented because it’s too shabby for most.  But it fits my budget and she understands my needs: a bed, a toilet, and running water.  If she charges me at all it is far cheaper than a hostel room.  We chat about what has occurred in our lives since I was here last May.  Then I pass out on the bed with clothes and lights on.

I wake, confused at 4 AM.  Where am I?  Remembering, I smile.  I try to take a shower but the water is freezing.  To the beach today, I decide. Must get baptized in Cretan waters and clean up while I’m at it.

At 9 AM, I leave for Elafonisi Beach, a two-hour bus ride.  For an hour we pass resort after resort and I realize how different my Crete experiences have been as compared to a typical tourist.  I’ve never stayed at a resort, nor had any itinerary planned.  I was so lucky on my first trip to Crete, to meet Hans, who took me to special places that I still contend are the best places.  This is my fifth trip here and no other places capture my heart in the same way.

Elafonisi Beach in Crete, Greece

Pink sand at Elafonisi Beach in Crete, Greece

After an hour of mundane and unattractive roads through tourist resorts, we begin to climb through craggy mountain roads, the mountainsides held up with wire fencing.  The roads and mountain tunnels are barely wide enough for buses, with just an inch of leeway, making this a thrilling ride.  A plunging gorge beside the road ensures death should the driver make an error.  Fortunately, he is a prudent and slow driver which makes me wonder if he is actually Greek.

We arrive at Elafonisi Beach, world famous for it’s beauty.  I walk to the left, away from the crowds hoping to find a secluded cove.  Instead, I find myself on the European E4 Long Distance Trail, indicated by the yellow and black markings.  This trail, covers 320 kilometers in Crete and would be wonderful to walk in it’s entirety one day, although not in this blazing weather. That would be too much like this hike from hell on South Korea’s Jeju Island.  When it comes to hiking, seasonal timing is everything.

The trail requires climbing over sharp lava rocks and in between brutish, thorny bushes.  Even being careful, navigating passages as carefully as removing a funny bone in the game “Operation”, I still manage to get a bloody knee and nasty scratches.  Not having success in finding the perfect cove, I head back towards the crowds. And crowds there were. It seemed that every tourist on Crete headed to the beach today.

Eventually, I find my slightly secluded cove.  The water is crystal clear and the sand has a pinkish hue due to the specific pink shellfish that thrives here.  The water is not warm but refreshing in comparison to the hot sun.

Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece

Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece

Efalonisi beach is the perfect beach for kids, making it the least perfect beach for me.  There are hundreds of small shallow pools to prevent drowning of the little ones. It’s a family beach. I am alone. I feel that here. I realize that for many a parent, the idea of a child-free day at the beach sounds like pure heaven. I am here to tell you that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  I learned this lesson in Mexico, but forgot.  Beaches are for fun with people. After a few hours I ask “now what?”.  Granted, I’m hardly a beach bunny. I can’t be with skin like a blind cave fish.

Plus, I face another problem.

If you read any women’s magazines you are painfully aware that you are supposed to have “thigh gap”, the coveted negative space between your upper thighs, which supermodels and 0000000000.1% of  the female population has.  Being a normal woman with a normal anatomy, I do not have thigh gap but rather a meeting of fat deposits that resembles two cherubs embracing.  As I walk the beach, the loinal friction becomes so great that I worry I will start a fire.  It is a searing sensation that causes me to walk at least a mile without movement of my upper legs; similar to a penguin.  Side to side I move, with steps like I am measuring the footage of the beach.  As always, I’m sure I appeared seductive and very attractive. It made me want to start my emaciation diet immediately. Next time: shorts.  This time: OW!

So you see, walking on a beach in Greece is not as glamorous as it sounds.

I return to the hotel at 7 PM, sunburned and exhausted.  I fall onto the bed with clothes and lights on and wake 12 hours later.

Photos of the Journey and Elafonisi Beach in Crete, Greece (click to view):

 

6 Comments

  1. Two cherubs embracing… how angelic. The idea of walking at least part of that long distant trail sounds wonderful, October might be a good time of year for that. Obviously one would need to wear suitable clothing to prevent chafing.

    • Chafing is a real hazard, not to be underestimated! Haha. I think walking the trail would be awesome and October would be a good time!

  2. I am living vicariously through you on your trip to Greece. I went many moons ago and stayed for a few weeks. I fell head over heels in love with Greece. The people, the food, the colors, I will never forget it. Hopefully I can go back some day.
    Have a wonderful experience, I am so glad you did not give up your “travel lust” and look forward to reading all your blogs and seeing all your beautiful photos.
    Vaya con Dios.

    • I feel in love too and can’t stay away for all the reasons you name. Glad to know you are traveling with me until you can get back here yourself. Did you go to Crete or the mainland? Crete is something extra special.

  3. Glad you made it to your destination safely! Your writing is so descriptive – almost as if I’m there with you, yet comical in its plight to place a vision within my mind of how you must be “oh so gracefully” strutting the beaches! LOL! Hope you get the lights turned off tomorrow night! Enjoy today!

    • Thanks for reading Alyson! Graceful, I was not!

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