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I know where we were yesterday, but I cannot tell you exactly where it was – except to say it was a little bit of heaven. No matter how I zoom in on Google maps, I cannot find a name for the beach. It is located north of Nopigia Beach (and northeast of Drapanias Beach), and south of what are called the Choni Beaches in the west of Crete. It is the shoreline area of the Sea of Crete that comes just before you reach the tiny Panagia Church heading north on the dirt road from Nopigia. There is nothing there, other than raw nature, rocks, a few scattered trees, and a beautiful mountain cliff rising up over you. “Nothing,” ha! I trust you read my wide-eyed irony. I guess there is no reason ever to have given the little area a name. My wife and I dubbed it Big Penis Beach for reasons you’ll understand if you peruse down to one of the last photos below. Some maps put this area of shoreline in the Kissamos area (it’s roughly eight kilometers east of the city of Kissamos), some call it Kolymbari (the town of which name is actually located on the other (eastern) side of the rugged Rodopos penisula. It’s easy enough to find if you have a car – just head east from the furthest eastern end of Drapanias beach and keep going until you find a good swimming spot. The shoreline is covered in large, smooth rocks, although we found a tiny cove of small stones that, since we were wearing sea slippers, was easy to navigate. The sea bottom falls away quickly, so there is good, deep-water swimming quite close to the shore. As always, the rocky beach and sea-bed make for spectacularly clean and clear water. Nearby there was a whole “garden” of the gorgeous, seasonal Cretan flower known as Dragon Arum or Great Dragon (Dracunculus vulgaris). Many were already withering and drying under the hot (37C/99F) sun, although many were still in full bloom. According to the west-crete.com website, the foul-smelling, deep purple flower attracts insects – not to eat them as many think, but to have them continue on and pollinate other plants. The experts give the blooming time of the Dragons as March to May, so the whole “garden” full that we saw yesterday will probably be gone soon. The trip out here to mini-paradise would normally take about 25 minutes from the city of Chania, but due to some detours and roadwork, allow for a 35-40 minute trip at present.

Photos and text copyright © 2020 John Freedman. If you wish to use any of the photos or any of the text, please ask for permission. I will almost always say “yes,” but please do the courtesy of asking before copying.