When you write about Crete you can grow accustomed to writing about the spectacular. But the fact is this: Everybody who genuinely knows and loves this island, loves it because the truly spectacular is to be found in simple, everyday elements. Even though I’m only just getting started, this blog is already full of images of incredible beaches, breathtaking mountain views, astonishing archaeological digs… And there will be much more of that, I don’t doubt. But today I want to keep it simple. Today I offer up a few photographs of one of my favorite walks – out along a lonely road, then path, that stretches out along the edge of the Akrotiri peninsula to the east of Chalepa, one of the neighborhoods of Chania. Chalepa itself, mostly sitting on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Crete, was developed in the 19th century and became quite a fashionable place. For many years in the 19th century, this is where most of the foreign diplomats lived. But we’re going past all that, beyond the last manmade structures (one of which, characteristically for Greece, is a small chapel). Aside from one tiny cove spread with big, round stones, there are no beaches out here, there are hardly any places (just one, in fact) where you can climb down the cliff to the water. But there is a path, there are trees, there are cliffs, there is what looks very much like a jungle, there is solitude, there is beauty and there is the bright, blue sky and the endless, deep, blue sea. There is even – thanks to someone who presumably pinched it from a city park one day – a bench in the middle of nowhere where you can sit and contemplate eternity, should you so wish to tax yourself. From my home in the Koum Kapi neighborhood of Chania, the chapel you see below is about a 40 minute walk out past Chalepa. I doubt this place even has a name. You won’t find it any any tour books, nobody is going to suggest you come out here, you’ll probably never hear about it again after you leave this page. But this is Crete every bit as much as the grand destinations. [Photos restored Dec. 10, 2019]
Text and photos © John Freedman, 2019.