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Eastern Crete: Zakros and Gournia

GREECE | Sunday, 25 January 2015 | Views [449]

Agean rainbow

Agean rainbow

EASTERN CRETE IS A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM THE WEST, the snow-capped peaks replaced by dry hillsides and deep, rocky gorges reminiscent of New Mexico.   Only the vast olive groves and the blue sea are the same.  It took us most of the day to drive from Chania to Paleokastro’s Flamingo Apartments, about the only place still open, where Costas was waiting for us.  We were his only guests — probably the only tourists in the area.  Like Jacob in Patmos, the only reason he was still open is because he lives on-site.  Costas is a retired merchant seaman, maybe even a captain.  Whichever, he is a helluva hotelier, personally tending to all our needs and even delivering local sweets and homemade deserts every day.

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   Costas, the perfect host

In season, Paleokastro attracts windsurfers when the dry “meltemi” wind whips across the bay.  Today it was the “sirocco” wind straight from the Sahara that’s frothing the water and bringing clear, star-filled nights.  But we aren’t windsurfers.  We are here for the Minoan archeological sites of Zakros and Gournia.  

 

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  Zakros                                           Wildflowers among the ruins 

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    The Minoan town of Gournia

Zakros was built on the same palatial plan as Knossos while Gournia was an entire Minoan town.  Zakros hasn’t been reconstructed like Knossos and the scenery along the way is as interesting as the site itself, with a steep descent down to the sea.  We actually passed Gournia on the way to our hotel but didn’t stop, not knowing how much longer the drive would be.  So we retraced our route 85 km back on Sunday.  Again we were the only visitors, which was surprising since entry is free on Sunday.  The views were spectacular.  After a passing shower forced us to shelter under a tree, a wonderful rainbow appeared over the sea.

 

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Easter Island, 2012

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