A three-day escape South of Rethymnon

I need an escape. I need to relax. I need to see new things. Do you realize that we only have three days? Let’s just make the most of it then please.

This is how we started throwing things in the car. Swimming suits, a tent, a couple of books and our hiking shoes. Just in case. We started the engine. Where to? Ligres, a beach in south Rethymnon. A lot we had heard about this place. Neither of us had been there. Off to the unknown!

That was the initial enthusiasm. But then the traffic and the heat wave (almost 40 degrees celcius) seemed to tone it down. Until suddenly the road took a turn to reveal in front of our eyes the Libyan Sea…

Ok, enthusiasm re-established! And the anticipation to reach the sea grew even higher. We started counting the villages on our way and kept looking the reverse timer on the gps to make sure we were getting closer and closer. 10 minutes, five, three, park the car now!

It didn’t take long to put all our stuff on our hands and shoulders and set off to settle on the beach. Even though it was already late in the afternoon, the sun was crudely hot and the distance we had to cover walking was not as small as we had thought. By the time our tent was set, I was swearing. I left everything and sat at the edge of the sea, wondering about all the trouble we had put ourselves into. And then, I took my eyes off the ground, just to see the sun setting gloriously…

Immediately I felt really stupid that I let any of this frustration get into me. We were the two luckiest people on earth just for being there and being able to see this view and live this moment. We opened a bottle of wine and at last carrying all the food and stuff made sense as the dinner under the stars cannot compare to anything.

The heat woke us up next day. Luckily the sea offered an immediate opportunity to cool off and our sun umbrella was the perfect sanctuary from the burning sun. All the fatigue of the previous days was making us unwilling to move even a few meters away. It was time to open up my book and start reading without worrying about anything else.

By the way… if you haven’t read it, Wolf Totem is a fascinating read. So fascinating that it took all the way till late afternoon to put it aside. The setting sun transformed the colors around us and gave us even more reasons to appreciate the place.

Next morning we decided that it was time to move on. Triopetra was at the other end of the bay and a perfect next stop.

A perfect beach and an amazing place. At least for as long as the weather permitted… By noon, the temperature had elevated to above 45 degrees Celcius and the terrible hot wind from the south was getting stronger and stronger. To the point that we could feel our faces getting burnt. My glasses were so hot that I could not wear them anymore. We dived again and again. But it took just a few moments to dry out and feel like being roasted. We looked at each other. Checked booking and google. Ok, let’s leave nature and let’s find a room with an air condition for the night! Agia Galini here we come!

Well, Agia Galini is not actually the place that we would choose to go, but at the time, it was a perfect sanctuary! Just for the night, it was just fine. And after a few glasses of ouzo, it seemed even better. And anyway, it was just a stopgap. Till next morning that we decided to put our hiking shoes to good use!

Since it was way too hot to be even at the beach, we decided to hike Agios Antonios gorge. A narrow gorge full of trees, running waters and plenty of shadow! I had hiked this gorge in the past, but at the time, inside the gorge the river had dried up. Now, with just a few days after the last rainfalls, the gorge would be full of water. A great opportunity!

I can still remember the joy on our faces when we finished the hike and returned to our car. Not only did we manage to escape the heat wave, we felt like we had just lived a small adventure, as the gorge required a bit more from us than just… hike. A marvelous end to our short holiday!

Andreas,
South Rethymnon, 2017.

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