One of my favorite walks in and around Chania is to take the path that extends along the seashore to the northeast beyond the neighborhood of Chalepa. I wrote about that area not too long ago, telling about the “jungle” that greets you as you leave the city behind. Well, that jungle is gone, folks. Somebody let loose a brigade of workers with saws and axes in hand, and they pretty much razed that jungle to the ground. They left behind the larger trees, and some of the flowering bushes. But I think it will be a year or more before any signs of beauty return to this small, but once-gorgeous stretch of land. I was so disappointed to greet this sight the other day, that I just bulled my neck and steeled my will and headed on past it. This brought me out to a place I had only ever approached once – I’m going to call it the Koubeli (stress on the i) neighborhood. I’ve never heard anyone call it that, but as I study maps, I come to the conclusion that at least local folks would recognize such a name. The area appears to take its name from the small St. George Koubeli church that sits rather forlornly against a hill after the road ends at a water works plant. A nearby small settlement of homes and rental properties also derives its name from this church, showing up on maps as Koubeli. The buildings are all set up high on a cliff, while the road leading out to them is relatively low, so you barely even see them when on your walk. In places the road is cut into the cliffs so that you have high walls on either side of you as you walk, although there are plenty of opportunities to climb up and clamber over the rocks to water’s edge. The views are to-die-for, both in terms of the rock formations, the views of the Sea of Crete, and also looking back toward the Lefka Ori, the White Mountains. The stretch of lonely road after the once-beautiful, now haggard old “jungle” reaches out around 600 meters (appx. 650 yards) – not all that much, but plenty enough to fill a camera and a mind with a day’s worth of fabulous shots.
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