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We continued exploring the eastern part of Crete before we sailed towards west on the island

We still had some hikes we wanted to do before we head towards west and I also wanted to go to Makrygialos, so we started to combined theese to wishes. When I was working in the travel agency I heard about Makrygialos because of the Sunwing hotel and many people wanted to go there, so I had to check out what was so special about this place. This is more south east from Elounda. We drove down to Ierapetra and then east, around one hour drive.

We found Pefki Gorge on alltrails.com and found a place to park right before where the trail started. It was a gravel road for a long time before we started on the trail. This place is up in the hill behind Makrygialos, so after we parked the car we already got amazing view!

Pefki Gorge

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This is not a spectacular gorge, but it was a nice hike.

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It was easy to see the trail all the way.

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A special rockformation.

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Up in the gorge. Back to the car you will follow the hill on the right side, you can see the trail in this photo.

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It is quite steep down from the trail, but it was really amazing to walk here. A good trail and always view towards the sea.

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And if you turn around you have the view of the mountains.

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We had a short break with some snack.

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The view from where we parked the car.

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Here is the track for this hike:

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We drove down to the beach. The Sunwing hotel is in this bay, before the peninsula, but it was not possible to go there to take a photo.

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The view to the other side. This is a summer holiday place, so most of the restaurants and shops are closed in the winter.

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But luckily we found a small taverna with some lunch snack.

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It was not a cosy taverna so we went down to the beach to eat. And we got the company of this cat.

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On the way back to Ierapetra we could see the snow in the mountain.

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Here is a video from this hike:

The next day was beautiful too and we were ready for our next adventure.

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Milonas Gorge/Waterfall

Milonas Gorge/Waterfall is in the same direction as Pefki Gorge, but it is a bit shorter to drive. It is easy to find where to start walking, because of the sign in the main road. At the parking there were chickens,

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and a cat!

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Also here we walked a long distance on a gravel road.

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But after a while we took off from this road and started on the trail. It was a really nice trail and it was easy to find the way.

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We arrived at Milonas Waterfall.

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Astor checked the water temperature. It was cold…

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We found also this hike on alltrails.com and everyone wrote that it was hard to find the trail from the waterfall. Most people just turned and walked back the same way. But we like a challenge, and right after the waterfall it was easy to see the trail. But more uphill it was bushes and climbing, and I guess we didn`t follow the trail for a while. It was hard and even Astor said it was one of the hardest trail he had done (but only this part of the trail)

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But finally we were up in the olive grove and we could follow a gravel road again.

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The view of the valley. We didn`t walk down in the gorge here, it was not possible, but we saw down to the gorge.

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Her you can see where is the waterfall, and approximately where we walked up the steep hill. It is not correct, but it is just so you can imagine how it was.

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It was a village up in the hill but we didn`t visited it.

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Here is the track for this hike:

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This day we had a plan to have lunch on the beach, and we brought homemade bread, eggs and salmon. It was a perfect day on the beach!

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Here is a video from Milonas:

Lasithi Plateau

It was our last day with a car and we decided to go to Lasithi Plateau. It was a longer drive than we thought it would be, but really amazing with stunning views in all directions.

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We had a short stop at a taverna with a view. The taverna was closed for the winter and we didn`t see anyone. We could see it was creative people running this taverna!

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It doesn`t looked like a high standard taverna, but maybe they have nice food anyway!

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In 1953 this machine was the first in this area bringing people, olives, fruits and so on.

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I needed to go to the toilet but…

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When we came up to the plateau we met this stunning view. It had been snowng the last days so it was white mountains.

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We drove to Cave of Diktaion Andron in Psichro. From the village it is 200 meters up in the hill, but we walked together with a German couple and talked with them so suddenly we were up at the entrance. There was an amazing view there! Many years ago this plateau was full of windmills, just look at an old photo from here! Now it is only a few left. The plateau is at 840 masl.

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This cave is a Minoan sacred cave. The cave was first excavated in 1886 by Joseph Hatzidakis, President of the Syllogos at Candia, and F. Halbherr. In 1896,  Sir Arthur Evans investigated the site.

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It is an amazing cave and maybe special when you can be here almost all alone.

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It is hard to take good photos inside a cave because you can`t use flash.

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It is always cold inside a cave, so bring a jacket!

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And Astor found some snow!

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Here is a video from this trip!

It was time to hurry back to Elounda! We drove around the plateau on the other side where we came from. Beautiful scenery with the snow on the mountains.

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Maybe this has lost something? Fun to see things like this along the road!

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We could see the ocean from far up in the hill, but it is still a long way to drive!

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It was our last day after almost four weeks in Elounda. We had our last day with a car and since we rented it in Heraklion airport )absolutely the cheapest way to do it) we had to go back there to deliver the car. Like we were hitchhiking with David when we rented the car, because he was picking up his mother, he was now hitchhiking with Astor to rent a new car) (they had been without a car for a while). Since they were two together I decided to stay in the bay, and Sarah invited me to walk with her to feed the cats. After David and Astor was back from Heraklion we all walked to Ariadne Restaurant and Pizzeria to have our last dinner together. We shared 5 different pizzas (one for starters) and they were all amazing. Thanks to Sarah and David for the time we spent together, wish you all the best, both for running and sailing, and all the cats 🙂 It was also very nice to meet Davids mother.

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The next day we hoisted the anchor and sailed towards west to Heraklion, det biggest city on Crete. We anchored right at the end of the runway at Heraklion airport. Not much noise, it is not that much traffic in the winter season. All the swelll was worse…

We took the dinghy ashore, we had decided to walk up to Knossos, which we knew was 7-8 km away. And we couldn`t find any good trail so we were afraid that we had to walk along a busy road all the way. But we manage to find a really good way and we only had to cross the main road once.

Heraklion – Knossos

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The beach was nice, but of course almost empty now. Only some though guys were swimming were we put the dinghy.

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We walked right up hill, you can see our boat in the distance and the airport on the left side.

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Up in the hill it was many olive groves and it was quiet and nice to walk. Almost no cars.

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Here you can see where we walked, you can see it was an interested walk and some steep hills. But it was a lovely weather and it was better to do like this than taking the bus to city center and then further up to Knossos.

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Knossos is a must when you visit Crete. Knossos is a palace built around 1700 BC and served as an important center for Minoan culture until its destruction by a fire around 1450 BC. It is believed to have been the home of King Minos and his legendary Labyrinth.

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Knossos has been inhabited for millennia, with the earliest Neolithic settlement (c. 7000 BCE) being the most notable

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When we arrived someone asked us if we wanted a guide, but we choosed to walk around on our own. Of course we could get more information with a guide, but we like walking around and take photos.

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Today, the archaeological site of Knossos stands as a testament to its resilience throughout the ages. Despite being abandoned in 1100 BC and suffering from an earthquake in 365 AD, Knossos still stands proudly on the hillside. 

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A video from Knossos:

It was easy to take the bus from Knossos to the city. I had heard so many bad things about Heraklion, but I think it was a nice city, I should have spent more time there. We had a gyro for lunch there before we walked to the marina.

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We had a plan to sail into this marina, but we decided to stay one extra night for anchor before heading west. We thought we should take the bus back to the beach where we anchored, but when we went to the bus-stop we realized there were no buses going there. Next plan was to take the bus to the airport and walk the rest…. Don`t do that!! You have to walk along a busy mainroad all the way. The roads in Greece is not made for walking! I was so glad when we came back to the dinghy. Now the problem was to get the dinghy on course. Because of all the swell it is hard to get out again. But we took our shoes off and jumped into the dinghy, unfortunately not without getting wet….

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Next morning we headed west to Bali (yes it is a beautiful name, but we are still in Greece). We got a space in the small fishing harbour, it is not many places for guests there, so we were lucky. And what an afternoon!! It was so lovely, sitting in the sun on the dock. After a while we made some waffels here and it was so delicious!

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Bali is a small village, and very quiet in the wintertime. We arrived on a Saturday and a guy said everything was closed. But actually the next day, the restaurant on the beach with blue railing had open for lunch/dinner, so we stopped there for lunch. The restaurant was full of local people.

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The small fishing harbour with our boat. It was a nice place when it was calm but suddenly strong gusts came over the mountains and it got rocky so we decided to head further west the next day.

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Bali was absolutely worth a visit. You can also anchor in the bay if you don`t find space in the harbour.

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In the next post we are sailing to Rethymnon and Chania to explore more the places I know more.

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