A couple weeks ago, we joined some friends on a trip to Marmara Beach on the Southwest coast of Crete. After an hour and a half car ride through the beautiful Lefka Ori (White Mountains), we arrived in the town of Sfakia. From Sfakia, it was a short 20 minute boat ride to Marmara Beach. Like others in the area, this beautiful and secluded beach can only be reached by boat (or on foot, of course, if you want to hike in from some of the nearby towns). We had a great time snorkeling around the area and through the caves and saw quite a few fish, while also enjoying jumping off the rocks into the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy the video!
Today we celebrated Gavin’s 7th birthday with his friends at the Nefeli Taverna in Aroni. We had a great time and the food was wonderful as always and the cake was scrumptious! The sad part is this is our last weekend here in Crete. Only five days to go before we start our journey to Deutschland and the cold weather. We are definitely not looking forward to saying goodbye to all of our friends here, but are looking forward to seeing our old friends in Germany and getting back involved with our church there. Fortunately, with things like Facebook, you never really have to say goodbye anymore…
Here’s us singing Happy Birthday to Gavin:
This past Monday, I set out in my kayak to go from Marathi Beach to Stavros Beach. Both of these are on the Akrotiri Peninsula on the northwestern part of the island of Crete. It was to be my longest paddle yet and the first time I’ve not had to go out and turn around and come back to the same launch point. There was only one good place to stop along the way – in fact, it was a really nice, secluded beach accessible only by boat. The only problem is that once you get around the most eastern point on the peninsula, you get the pleasure of smelling what I can only express as a highly concentrated geep (goat/sheep) urine/feces smell. No joke! It just so happened that the little beach I stopped at must be somewhere near Ground Zero. So, while I did hang out there for a few minutes, I didn’t linger as long as I would have had the wonderful aroma not been there.
After that, it was a long paddle around to Stavros. The scenery was gorgeous and being pretty much the only one out there (other than the odd fishing boat) was very nice – though being a beginning paddler, it is nice to know folks are around in case you get into trouble. Fortunately, I didn’t have any problems and just enjoyed the morning. I only wish I had actually eaten something before starting out – my energy was definitely waning there at the end.
It is getting a little warm around here, so this morning we broke out the Slip N’ Slide that I picked up for the boys in Norfolk. I always wanted one of these as a kid, but with nothing but rocks in the backyard, it probably wouldn’t have been as much fun.
Tristan giving it a go:
Makes you want to be a kid again, doesn’t it?
While writing my last post I overheard my neighbors. They kept saying “Maaaa, maaaa, maaaa”. If I didn’t know better I would think they were saying “Maaaatt, Maaaatt, Maaaatt.” Maybe they are.
I usually stop by to chat with them. They are so nice and always have pleasant things to say. Granted, they are goats, known for being much more outgoing than your average sheep.
A few times a year the goats have kids, which are they ones making all the chit-chat lately. They are so cute when they are little. Some have little horn nubs growing out the tops of their heads. Today, since it is quite warm, they were seeking shade underneath their food trough, while their older siblings and mothers grabbed a bite to eat. I must have been relatively stealthy, because the rooster next door to the goats kept quite.
On Memorial Day the boys and I took a trip to Gramvousa & Balos. Our friend Silvia invited us to go with her, her kids, and her house guest Katie. Our friends Richard and Melanie went too and were so kind to drive us. Unfortunately, Matt had to stay home and work on a school paper. The good thing is… he had the peace and quite necessary to get it done.
After waiting nearly an hour (or more?) the ferry left the port. It was incredibly slow, as compared to our last ferry ride to Santorini. After an hour of boating the island of Gramvousa was in sight. We saw an awesome castle on the hill top, overlooking a sunken pirate ship. The beach was beautiful and we were so glad to have brought our water shoes. Melanie, Richard, and Katie hiked to the castle while Silvia and I stayed on the beach with the kiddos. Gavin discovered some sea anemones living on rocks. They were so cool and sucked to our fingers. That was before we realized that we were probably being stung. Continue reading
While Matt was having fun with our good friends Harry & Kristie in Virginia Beach, I took advantage of my time alone. My friend Melanie and I took a morning hike. Melanie invited me over for breakfast and we had fresh orange juice, coffee, and yummy Greek yogurt with honey.
Then we headed out to the trail head. We started at Gouverneto and hiked down through a small gorge and finished out to a cove. It was getting quite warm and Melanie went for a swim. I just stuck my toes in the water and checked out the sea life.
In the midst of our hike, we ran into two American college backpackers who were way too hopeful in waiting for a local bus to pick them up. So we took them into the closest town (Chorafakia) and checked on the bus schedule for them. I hope they made it!
It was a really nice hike. Not very long and not exactly challenging. It is a perfect hike for the morning before heading to the beach.
Not sure how, but we tend to get hedgehogs in our yard every now and then. I’m beginning to think that they come to our yard just to die. Not a great thought, right? After checking on him for about an hour or so, I put on some garden gloves and carried him across the street where there is a field. Sometimes when I come home at night, I’ll see them run (if you can call it that) out of the street over to this area. Hopefully he’ll find what he’s looking for.
Here’s a picture of Gavin and Tristan in the backyard on Easter morning. This was their first time in ties, and for some reason, they really enjoyed wearing them. Go figure!
This past Saturday, we went to downtown Chania to check out the laiki. This is THE place to go for the freshest of fruits and vegetables, not to mention cheeses, rabbits, clothes, and whatever else you may need. The smells are just wonderful! This time we went with our friends Melania and Richard, who afterwords took us to a wonderful bakery. Click on the photo below to enjoy the rest of the photos!