Tuesday, July 23, 2013—Plakias, Crete, Greece
Started moving west for the final push before I go home. I was planning on going to Lendas, a little village on the south coast of Iraklio province I like, for a few days. But even with leaving Myrtos on the 7:00 AM bus I didn't make it to Iralkio in time for that day's rare bus for Lendas. So I decided to maybe swing back around that place in my last days here, since otherwise I would have had to spend two nights in the hated city of Iraklio, which has got to be one of the least attractive urban areas in the whole Aegean. I'm beginning to think I made a mistake, though.
I ended up in Plakias, mainly because I was hoping to catch a bus from here to Frangokastello. I quickly found out, though, that bus route has been eliminated, apparently a long time ago (my Lonely Planet guide would seem to be way out of date on this one). There's a little tourist boat that heads that way, but it hasn't been going out because of the wind. Which brings me to one of the reasons I wish I hadn't come here. Plakias lies at the mouth a huge gorge, which runs a long way roughly north south thru the Rethymno province. This gorge funnels all the hot inland air towards the sea, which means that it can get really windy by the coast. Since I've been here (I arrived about thirty hours ago) the wind has been howling day and night non-stop. This makes doing pretty much anything here a drag: hiking means getting blown off ridgelines, the beach is a swirling mess of sand, and even sitting in a taverna with a drink can be challenging (yesterday while having a coffee in a place just off the main road thru town I watched a gust of wind knock over a nearly full glass of beer—my coffee was in my hand, luckily). Basically since arriving I've been hiding from the wind and trying to figure out what to do next. More on that in a second.
The other main reason Plakias doesn't thrill me is that it's frankly a kind of dull place. It looks nice and is certainly pleasant enough (the people who live and work here, as a group, are among the nicer people I've met in Crete), but it's basically characterless: it exists to serve the needs of tourists and therefore has little in the way of soul. It's of course also not particularly Greek—that's a big part of the blandness. It's another example of what I've taken to calling Beach Vacationland: the holiday spot that could be in any warm beachie place in the world for all it matters.
My next decision is whether or not I backtrack to Iralkio and hit Lendas (I can easily make it there in time for the Wednesday bus) or head forward to Paleohora and then Gavdos. I'm leaning towards to former. Though I hate to backtrack, I also hate to miss getting somewhere I want to be. Plus, there's something special about Lendas—it exudes a kind of healing energy—and I'm feeling the need for some of that. I'm also not quite feeling well enough to tackle camping on Gavdos, especially since I want to spend four or five days there. I have ticket for the 7:00 AM bus to Rethymno and I can go either direction from there. So I may end of making my decision on the fly …
Feeling a lot better overall, though still not 100%. I'd say I'm hanging out somewhere in the 85% range. Feeling slightly feverish now and then and I have a bit of chest congestion, which is new. Still completely confused as to what it was that knocked me down.
Windy Plakias - I love this shot. First off it's so windy they're not even bothering to open the umbrellas. Secondly, those are my footprints. Everybody gets to make a fresh set because the wind just blows the old ones away ...