It was supposed to be a nice, little day-long jaunt to the south. We would hit three, maybe four beaches – many of them lie in close succession down on the south coast of the Libyan Sea. It’s still too cold to swim comfortably, but one can always look. The south of Crete is the least developed of anywhere on this island that is not a friend anywhere to “commerce,” “progress,” &c. And there are few things as exhilarating as maneuvering the narrow, winding, mountain roads in these climes leading down to the sea. But as I hinted, it didn’t quite work out as we planned. We stopped to take a few photos on the gorgeous descent, then wandered awhile about the tiny beach at Skhinaria (or Skhoinaria, pronounced Skheen-Ah-ria) looking for shapes and figures and light that might make a good photo. We were just climbing back into the car to head to the next location when my wife Oksana got a phone call from her director – turns out a rehearsal of a new show had been added at the last minute and we had about 75 minutes left in which to cover 90 minutes of road to get her back to Chania in time. Indeed, we did it, pulling up outside the rehearsal space just 15 minutes late. Other actors were still straggling in – Oksana hadn’t missed a beat. What I have to show for the day is what you see below, some beautiful images of Crete in its natural, early-springtime splendor.
Skhinaria is a tiny little beach, just a couple hundred meters (yards) across, set back in a cove. It’s about a half-hour south of Rethymno, 90 minutes from Chania. There is a single hotel right there (still closed in early March), and a few houses dot the surrounding foothills. Further back from the beach is one of those heartbreaking things you see too often in Greece – someone’s dream gone down in the last financial crisis. It looks like a relatively large hotel was about eight months to a year from completion when the money ran out. The carcass still stands as a warning to future dreamers – do you really want to stick your neck out this time? As painful as this may be, and as badly as you may feel for some unknown entrepreneur – for you have your own modest dreams yourself – nothing can blunt the beauty, the serenity, the sense of adventure and purpose that can be found seemingly in every blade of grass and every grain of sand that Crete has to offer.
A truncated trip? No way. An unforgettable trip.
All text and photos © copyright 2020 by John Freedman. If you wish to use, repost, reproduce any part of the text or any of the photos, please ask for permission.