A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Samaria Gorge

We went back and forth on whether to go to the south coast of Crete for more beachcombing or to Hania to hike this famous 16km gorge, the longest in Europe. I really wanted to do the hike, I guess because it sounded scenic and we would get some exercise in the great outdoors and feel good about ourselves. Actually I’m not sure what I was thinking to be honest. Why do anything that resembles work when you are in a Mediterranean paradise? Must have been a brain lapse.

First we got up at 5am to take the 6:15am bus from Hania to Omalos to start the hike on the top of gorge in the early morning. When we arrived there were already 25 tour buses full of people crowding down the trails. In front of you, behind you, pushing past you, with loud chatter in german, french, swahili, whatever. You go down a relentlessly jagged and rocky path for miles and miles and miles. There is nothing to see. In fact if you take your eyes off the trail for a single second you will twist your ankle.

Finally you get to the bottom of the gorge, and guess what, more rocks! Now the rocks are small and loose and you walk in what might have been a riverbed for a couple more miles, now completely naked under the angry midday sun. And supposedly the highlight of this hike is the rock walls on either side of you narrow to about 5m at some point (called the Iron Gates) and you have to crisscross the river on a couple bamboo bridges. Big freakin deal! This is not an epic hike, and not even a memorable one (unless it’s a bad memory). The best part was finally shuffling in to Agia Roumeli and drinking an ice cold beer and jumping in the ocean. But even that was followed by another 5 hours before we would get back to Hania, first waiting for the ferry to Hora Sfakion and then getting a 2 hour bus back.

And that is basically it. Twisted ankles, sore knees, the danger of dying by falling rock and nothing even photo worthy in exchange for an entire day of your life and a hundred bucks. If you are ever in Crete, I recommend to skip this one. I’ll kick you in your shin for ten bucks instead and you’ll thank me for it.


corina June 21, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

it must be frustrating...difficult to choose what to do. it sounded like an awesome hike and obviously you weren't the only ones taken in by the description.

you look absolutely thrilled to be there in the last photo ;p

Eben June 22, 2009 at 1:20 AM  

I suppose the power to make your friends laugh from 13,000km away is worth something, eh? : )

Alison June 25, 2009 at 4:02 PM  

Glad someone is laughing! and reading along...it feels great having our friends and family along for the ride :)

ron_diane June 25, 2009 at 6:28 PM  

You have now completed stage one in training to hike the Grand Canyon! That can be on your next travel agenda.

Samaria George September 8, 2009 at 6:14 AM  

From thousands of feet to few on seashore of Libya, Crete’s Samaria George happens to be attractive, crude & adventurous trek on land of ancient civilization of Greece. By the time of the break comes, there is a worthy visit to 14th century old chapel of Osia Maria, origin of Samaria George. Its nature offers a delight of 450 rare vegetations & wonderful wild life, which includes famous natural goats; kri-kri.

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