Today was a day we planned to relax at the beach. There are two beaches we wanted to visit, Balos and Falassarna. Balos is supposed to be one of the best in the world (35 out of 100 according to CNN), so we decided to go to Falssarna first and Balos tomorrow! Before we left we made sure we had some sort of directions and we also looked up the article about the top beaches in the world, and Falassarna is on there too! It’s 100 out of 100 but, heck, at least it’s on the list! We were on our way to Falassarna when BHW says ‘Oh great, I left the beer in the freezer! I was supposed to pack it for the beach trip!’ I said ‘Well, let’s just go back and get it, it’s not like you have a book or anything to do while we lay on the beach so you better get the beer.’ His reply was, ‘My book IS the beer!’. We turned around and grabbed the goods. Thankfully Falassarna isn’t too far away so it was a quick trip back.
Now, when you go to a beach rated by CNN as a top beach in the world.. what do you think of? White sand, mind bogglingly blue waters, fancy hotels lining the beach, restaurants, umbrellas, lounge chairs galore, oh.. and hundreds of people… right? Well, after twisting and turning down the mountain to the beach we arrived, and it was just beach. Just the most beautiful beach. There were no umbrellas, no hotels, no restaurants, not even a SINGLE other person. One of the things that I appreciate about Crete is the fact that no matter how ‘popular’ a place becomes, it does not become any more modern, any more luxurious, any more anything.. they leave the place as it is because of what it is. Take the Samaria gorge for example.. remember the post I was talking about where I said it was the second most visited place in all of Crete? Well, you had to drive for 2 hours through mountains, and I mean MOUNTAINS, to get there. There was no pretty little straight road filled with signs leading you there, there were no restaurants or pit stops where you could go and take a break from the bus/car/van.. it was a ridiculous drive. We didn’t pass a single car for 30 minutes at a time. We were literally in the middle of nowhere. This beach was exactly the same, on the way down to the beach you want to know what we passed? Shacks, and row after row after row of massive greenhouses. Essentially, we were driving through farm country to get to the beach. Cretans don’t set aside their priorities or their livelihood to cater to tourists, they let you experience the completely raw beauty of their island and are proud of it.
While on the beach we walked around and looked for seashells. I don’t think I’ve ever seen sand like the sand I saw at Falsarnas. It wasn’t tiny grains all white, it really was little bits of shell! You could see all the different colors when looking closely. BHW didn’t have a book so he drank beer and made up a game that he could play by himself. He does that sometimes. I laid around soaking up sun and reading my book. It wasn’t the most ‘perfect’ beach weather.. it didn’t even get up to 70 degrees and it was super windy, but when the sun popped out behind the clouds it felt glorious! We appreciated being the only people on the beach, I can’t imagine the place in August when it’s swarming with tourists, ew.
After we got enough sun for the day we wanted to head back to a little taverna and grab some lunch, we passed one on the way to the beach and it looked fun. We tried to go out a different way than the way we came, why you ask? I do not know.. we’re just like that I guess. We ended up not finding a way out but finding something much better instead. I asked BHW to park the car because there was a great opportunity for a picture of the rocky coast with the water crashing against it. When we got out BHW noticed there was a tiny path that led to the coast. Of course we walked down it! The path ended at a million razor sharp rocks, so we decided to climb on those and get closer to the water, smart move right? It was pretty hard to climb around on them, even putting your hand on one for balance too hard would have resulted in cuts. There was a lot of arm flapping and wobbling, trying to balance without touching the rocks/boulders or falling in between them, that would have hurt! As we got closer to the water the view just kept getting better! Something caught BHW’s eye on our left and he headed in that direction. I stayed put because I was trying to climb, balance, and not touch the sharp rocks all while holding my camera in one hand. All he said was ‘Oh my god.’ and I forgot how dangerous it was and was on my way over towards him. When I got to the cave I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was seriously out of a National Geographic! The cave had water from the sea in it.. not sure how deep.. the water is so clear you can never tell, it seemed more than 5 feet though. It was GORGEOUS! There was a rock in the cave and BHW climbed into the cave and sat on the rock so I could get his picture. Neither of us could stop smiling, it was just so amazing! Who knows if anyone has ever stepped foot in that cave, we could have very well been the first!
After that accidentally amazing cave we stumbled upon our drive back to the villa was uneventful, except that we saw a dead dog on the road. I was literally just about to tell you all how there are so many unleashed and uncaged/fenced animals that I’m surprised they don’t get hit all the time. I was so sad to see the dog.. until we got up to it and started to drive around it.. and it got up. It was just sleeping, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MAIN ROAD! Why does the dog cross the road? He doesn’t he stops and takes a nap in the middle of it. That was my funny joke for the day. When we got home we realized how sunburnt we were. I did a really good job of applying sunscreen, only missing a few places.. which got roasted. I guess I learned that sunscreen works.. but only where you put it. So that was a bonus. BHW failed to put any sunscreen on and his back looks like a tomato. We made fun of each other for a while and then headed out for dinner.
On our way to dinner we passed a church built into a cliff and a small cave. We parked the car and looked in the church, it was dimly lit and there were lots of pictures of Jesus and some unlit candles. The cave next door had some scenes from the bible painted on wood and propped up. We’ve seen a million tiny churches built into mountains, all by themselves, on the side of the road, everywhere.. we just haven’t gone into any until tonight. It was a cool experience! For dinner we stopped at a little place next to the bay. I ordered the fresh fish for the day with a salad. I didn’t know what the fish was but told myself that anything fried had to be good! When the woman put my plate in front of me I almost freaked out on the spot. Instead of one nice fried fish fillet.. it was about 20 tiny fish the size of chicken wings.. complete with their HEADS! BHW got swordfish, which I’ve had before, and offered to trade. I tried his and didn’t like it so I was stuck with this pile of fish. He tried one and said it was delicious, he showed me that ‘all I had to do’ was rip the head and tail off, and pick the spine out, then I was good to go! Thats ALL I had to do?! Well, ladies and gentleman, I DID do it.. and the fish was scrumptious. I won’t say that I enjoyed ripping it apart before I ate it, but I couldn’t just not eat it!
After the dinner I just had to go through, I felt that I deserved a treat, so we went out for gelato. We drove into town and found a place that had some. After we paid for our gelato the lady said, you are the first customer all day. It was 9PM! Everywhere we have been, besides the grocery store, we have been the only people in there. I guess it really is low season here in Crete, not even the locals are out!
Tomorrow we make the treacherous drive up the mountain again and the steep 30 minute hike down to Balos Lagoon. And this time we’re going to actually SEE the beach! It was rated #35 out of 100 of the best beaches in the world. I can’t wait!
At our wedding we had the guests vote on where they thought we should go for our honeymoon, and they voted Greece! So, 11 months later, we are finally making the journey! Turkey and Greece, here we come!