caminada

the stone house on the hill

Archive for the tag “Paleochora”

Last summer

CRETE-77Last summer was beautiful. It was our first summer at Caminada, we spent one month using bedsheets for doors and windows, we worked for 5-9 hours per day (sometimes even longer), but it was unforgettable. We learned a lot about each other, shared a lot with new friends and spent a lot of time with old ones. One of them, the amazingly talented Geoffroy Tassenoy, took these great pictures of this post. We will be always grateful.

As spring is very present here in Athens, I am thinking that this first summer was one I’ ll never forget. Having said that, I am more than ever eager to meet the surprises of the one approaching. And what better soundtrack than Henry Mancini and his Theme from a summer place. 

See you soon!!

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Anidri Beach

I am in Athens currently and guess what? IT IS SNOWING.

So what better idea could one have than writing about the sea… 🙂

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Here it goes:

Anidri beach can be easily reached from Caminada. You can reach it by car or on foot. If you take the car you just take the road back to Paleochora (I recently found this site for Paleochora by the way) and turn to the left in a fork kind of turn right before you reach the  big straight part of the road with the camping on your right and the sea on your left. [Of course this part of the sea (opposite the camping) is the same coast as the Anidri beach, but it has bigger pebbles and it is not really comfortable.]

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The other way to reach it is far more interesting and definitely something to try while you are in the area. If you are at the center of the village Anidri, at the Tavern “The School” or “To Sholio” in Greek (you can find more about it here), and you take the path that goes through the village and which starts right on the right side of the tavern, you will very soon find the signs that take you to the beach. The great surprise is that the way is through the Anidri gorge. A really wonderful gorge, a bit technical but not a lot, that takes you through a 45′ walk directly in the middle of the beach.

The beach that lays on the end of that walk, is separated in two main parts. Gialiskari and Anidri Beach. It is of course the same beach just separated by a small, natural cape.

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Another treat in this beach is that it has two small cantines with soft drinks, alcohol, ice creams and something small to eat. If you are looking at the sea the cantine that is on the left of the cape is the a bit loud one and “covers” the sandy part of the beach. On the other side of the cape, the other cantine is far more close to my taste, you hardly notice it is there, it is close enough to walk there when you are thirsty but far enough so you don’t feel its presence at all when you are laying under the very few umbrellas. (The umbrellas cost 5 euros each by the way – but you don’t have to use them.)

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Finally my favorite thing is that especially on the right side of the cape, even in the middle of July, you will be alone or almost alone if you go after 4 in the afternoon. And you can watch the sun set above the port of Paleochora.

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The School – A restaurant to remember

This is a very important post for us.

Not only because we will talk to you about one of the best restaurants in Crete – no exaggeration really – but also because this restaurant is the primary reason why we ended up buying a house in the South of Crete.

So, this is where we arrived, when we arrived at Anydri village, SE of Paleochora, one and a half hour of driving South of Chania. It is the center of the village, some 70 meters after you pass the sign “Anydri” (Άνυδροι), and on the main road. (See related post here.)

It is the old school of the village, that was built in the 1930’s. Long after that, and while the area was one of the hot spots for hippies, in the 70’s and the 80’s, it remained deserted, rusty and destroyed. Till one day in 1996, one of the very students of the old school, Christos Vardoulakis, decided to do something with it. He and his wife, Simone, rebuilt the place more or less with their own hands. It is a big square old building, with the old windows repainted red, and a fantastic interior with loads of old objects from the everyday life of the village, ages ago.

The dreamy part of it though hides in the back yard, where all the tables are during the summer months. A huge, ancient olive tree – branches of which you can see in the picture – gives shadow on a yard with more or less 30 tables. The view of the yard is breathtaking. It looks over the gorge of Anydri – or one of them more likely – and the Libyan Sea.

The menu is a fusion of local, traditional dishes with a kind of small european twist and it has a big variety of dishes for vegetarians. As I know Christos really well, I can tell you that the ingredients of the food they are making in this place is something you cannot buy in most million-dollar-first-class restaurants around the world. The tomatoes come from his land, the beans too, the meat comes from local animals, fed on the hills, the salt comes from the sea, and the olive oil is just something else…

For two starters and two main dishes, and raki and fruit, you will pay around 30 euro. And it will be a meal to remember. Have in mind that if you go in the middle of August, you will have to queue. This place is a highlight in the area and people travel a lot just to experience its food.

Small Tip: Try going for lunch. During the day, a bunch of women from the village, are inside the kitchen and are preparing the food for the evening. It is a bliss to have a small something to eat, under the shadow, listening to the girls inside twitting with a soft music in the background. Also if you are the active type, go for a swim to Anydri beach, walk the Anydri gorge up (it starts on the back of the beach and ends exactly at the restaurant!), and arrive at the back yard of The School for a cold beer and some salad. You will oh, so thank me for it!! 🙂

Christos and Simone are just lovely. They carry the essence of Greek hospitality, they care and it shows. Everything at their place is done with “meraki”. “Meraki” is one of these Greek words almost impossible to explain. It is essentially the talent and tendency to put love and extra care in every little detail of everything you do, deeply rooted in the philosophy that happiness hides in literally everything.

Take care! 🙂

*The above picture is from Anydri beach.

Crete and a bit of live history

One of the things I love in Crete, is the diverse and always changing setting and that you always have the feeling that it is a place that carries its history in a way, till today, in a very vivid manner.

*For the beginning of our adventure in Crete, check out here*

It is very rare to find a place in the coast of Crete that does not have its roots in ancient times. And it is very often that you can see the breathtaking remains of these times lying around in the beautiful beaches. Of course detaching anything from its environment is both illegal and harmful for the place itself, but if you approach this adventure in a respectful way, it will surely reward you.

With a simple mask and a snorkel, nothing too fancy, you can come close to what our ancestors made use of daily, 3000 years ago.

Many ancient cities, from the Minoan times, have not been excavated at all, and although they probably don’t have hidden treasures, they can become part of a breathtaking sightseeing and for a touch of a history class a bit more lively than books. This part of pot for example was on the pebbles in a beach called Krios near Paleochora. Many people I guess leave the place with “small souvenirs”, still to us it felt more logical to leave it there, where it seems to belong. 🙂

This was the area around Ancient Vienna, on the East of Palaiochora. In many parts of what used to be Ancient Vienna, you can see big marble pillars next to the sea shore. It is simply life changing and shocking that you are lying next to 3000 year old ruins.

That’s another reason why Crete is definitely worth a long visit.

(by the way check out these cool maps I found on the web)

     

Hope you enjoy it!!

See ya!!

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