We decided to get a rental car for a couple of days. There were a few folks that went to a water park, not too far from our location yesterday. I tried to connect with them to get a ride but that didn’t happen. We asked at the front desk at the hotel and they suggested a company that would drop a car off for us. As promised, at 10:00 they arrived with a car and within a few minutes, Deanna had some keys and we’re ready to go.
This was one of the things on Deanna’s list that she wanted to do so after after my morning session we grabbed some lunch and then headed to Limnoupolis which was about a 30 minute drive from our hotel. Driving with a GPS and navigation app like Waze takes so much stress out of getting from point A to point B in an unfamiliar location, it’s almost enjoyable. Much of the way was along the main highway between Kolymvari and Chania (and points further east). It’s a great road, pretty new from the looks of it. The only odd thing that we observed was how folks drive on the road. In most places it’s a single lane with a wide shoulder in both directions. It’s pretty common for drivers to straddle the line between the shoulder and the lane which then allows other vehicles to pass in the middle of the road. It seems to work. Not something we would see in Canada or Europe.
We made it to the water park without any issue, parked the car and made our way in. It’s not terribly big, but had a collection of a variety of slides, inner tube slides and a lazy river. There was also a pretty big area for kids to play in. There were lots of chairs and umbrellas. It turns out that the slides were furnished by a Canadian company. The park opened in 1997. The had 1⁄2 price admission after 3:00 pm. We passed the afternoon enjoying the sun and the water.
There was a BBQ back at the OAC at 8:00 followed by some music. The BBQ was very tasty and we had a chance to chat with some of the folks we met over the week. We made a plan with Gerrit for the following day for an outing on the other side of the island.
We said our good byes to a few folks given that we wouldn’t get a chance to see them again and called it a night.
One of the fellows mentioned a trip that he did the weekend before the conference. It involves driving to Chora Sfakion and then taking a passenger ferry to Loutro. It looked pretty spectacular and given that we had the car, we thought we might as well. There was a 12:00 ferry and the drive was about 90 minutes so at 10:00 Gerrit arrived and off we went. The only minor hiccup was that when the rental car company dropped the car off, it only had 1⁄4 tank of gas in it. We should have filled up in Kolymvari but didn’t. We found a gas station in a town along the way, after listening to the car beep at us for about 10 minutes warning of impending doom. Filling the tank cost €70 which was a bit of a shock to the system. We didn’t know how much gas we would need for the trip out and back so I opted to be overly cautious on that front. It turns out we ‘dontated’ 3⁄4 of a tank of gas to the rental car company but whatever.
The drive to Chora Sfakion took us over some mountain passes, through some beautiful valleys and through some very quaint and interesting villages. The highway was easy to drive, if a bit windy in places. We parked the car and made our way towards the water front. We bought our tickets for the ferry and literally waited two minutes before walking on. Our timing was pretty impeccable. It was only a 20 minute boat trip to Loutro. The color and clarity of the water was something I’ve never experienced before. Deep blue with meters of viability. Half way through the trip we noticed pretty secluded beach with a hiking trail. Gerrit looked it up on his phone and found it was called SweetWater beach Glika Nera.
The boat docked in the village and off we went to explore. It’s pretty much everything you would think a Greek village would be like. Perched on the side of some cliffs, with white buildings, blue doors and some amount of tourists. There is a walk along the waterfront that passes by lots of restaurants serving fresh seafood and grilled meats. There are a number of small vacation rental hotels/villas available. It was really quite picturesque. After a small amount of discussion, we decided to walk to Sweetwater beach. Google indicated it was only 2 KM and it looked mostly flat. Gerrit asked where the best place to start the hike was and off we went. It turns out Google was a tiny bit optimistic about the distance. It turns out to be closer to 3.5 KM. It was a beautiful hike along the water. The path is well marked and isn’t too difficult. I made it out and back with just my sandals. It would have been a bit more comfortable in better shoes but that’s a small point. It is mostly flat but does have some up and down as the path traverses over the terrain. The path down to the beach is a bit tricky but nothing too dangerous. It took us pretty much exactly an hour.There was a taverna on the beach. Deanna and Gerrit headed into the sea for a swim. I opted to stay in the shade and relax for a few minutes. It was pretty hot, mid 30s would be my guess. There was an option to take a water taxi but as Geritt mentioned, that just seems like cheating.
The ferry back to Chora Sfakion was scheduled to leave at 4:00 and 5:00 pm. At this point we hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast and while it would have been great to have a meal in Loutro, we were thinking it would be a bit rushed. So after hiking back to town we waited for about 15 minutes and hopped onto the 4:00 ferry for the 20 minute trip back. We had lunch/dinner looking out over the harbour in Chora Sfakion.
It was really a fantastic day.
Our trip is nearing it’s conclusion. We’re flying to Frankfurt where we’ll overnight at a hotel near the airport. and then tomorrow morning we’ll be heading back to Calgary.
The flight from Chania to Frankfurt was on time, no issues. I booked a hotel at the airport which also has a convenient shuttle bus. We dropped our bags off, headed back to the airport to catch a local train into Frankfurt. Unfortunately I hadn’t done any research about where to go and getting off at the main Frankfurt station and wandering around aimlessly is about as much fun as it sounds. We found a Mexican restaurant with an outdoor padio that served very tasy Strawberry margaritas so we spent a bit of time relaxing and watching Frankfurt life go by. At this point in the trip, we’re both pretty knackered and headed back to the hotel for an early night.