You don’t talk about Crete Club.
I've tried to break this down into bite sized chunks to make more digestible.
Wednesday 15th 6am I’m dropping Yoga Girl off at Gatwick, she is Chora Sfakia bound for a week’s Yoga. I must be a top bloke to get up so early and delivery miss Yoga love for her early morning escape, or, I’m one lucky person to have the coolest woman in the world even slightly interested. My parting instruction is can you let me how many people are drinking beer at this time in the morning pre-flight? 30 mins later a WhatsApp message pings ‘Spoons is packed’ and an accompanying photo of a queue to get in!
Me to follow on Friday, to spend a few days larking about and pick up YG on Wednesday, a couple of days scouting returning on the late flight Saturday night. Oh what to do, where to go, how to spend the time?
All nicely set. Thursday afternoon there is a network lunch where I’m taking a new potential client, he is from my tribe, born and raised in the same geographical location, that means there is a very strong connection. The bright light bulb moment is that I very wisely book an airport hotel for Thursday night, networking = lunching and drinking = shabby-shabby-shabby at 5am on Friday morning. I can’t begin to say what a good move that was.
Gatwick is manic at 6am, Spoons is packed again, there is a fog in my head and it would appear no matter how much water I drink rehydration is not going to happen quickly. The only foot-ware I have are flip flops having not being able to locate my favourite albeit old, travelling trainers. A sports shop has a perfect pair of canvas style flat shoes, ‘Toms’. Two young lads at the check-out are going ‘cool shoes man like your style’, my mood momentarily lifts, yeah right I’m the man, ha.
Easy Jet was……..Easy Jet and Easy, the only down side was the beautiful salad (Jersey Royals, rocket, lettuce grated carrot, tomatoes, smoked salmon dressed with coriander pesto and a squirt of mayo) along with two lovingly made pitta bread sarnies remain in the fridge at home. With the travel food out of the equation its Easy’s finest feta and rocket, oh well.
This is the third time I’ve been to Chania it will be a piece of cake to find the Rethimno road. Really? It turns out I’m not smarter than the average bear, hopelessly lost, embarrassed to say smart phone Satnav comes to the rescue. The funny side to this is, the lady giving the instructions on the phone can’t say the names of the places either, Rethimno is spelt out along with some road names, and some of those road names are long.
That main highway out of Chania is quite something, it cuts inland and is very green, there are huge sections either side of the road that have high green foliage, this dotted, no nearly covered in white and cream flowers. It feels tunnel like as it blots out quite a lot of the rising scenery, and then breaks into purple flowers, just astonishing. When the landscape comes into view it is fairly well forested, almost alpine like, I drove this road March 17 when there was still snow on the mountains, a different take on this wonderful part of a continent called Crete.
As the road weaves back to the coast the more familiar craggy grey rock with that hardy grass takes over, still there are tall-tall lines of bamboo again road side breaking the granite edifices that dictate the hugging curves of tarmac. The Spili turn off is made and the long climb begins, this again is looking very green, sweeping valleys and hillsides not so much lush but not scorched earth either. As soon as Spili is past it is mile upon mile of descent, or about 22k actually to Ag Galini, I would love to do this on a push bike. After Galini comes the scruffy urban of Timpaki, it always looks so unkempt, then before Mires there is a right turn that breaks into flat symmetrical criss-cross roads through miles of silver tipped olive groves, liking the shimmering of the sunlight on those leaves.
Eventually the turn I’ve been seeking, seek and ye shall find, and countless switch backs climb ever higher giving spectacular views over the plain of Mires, the fertile flat land that is the bread basket of the south. The other side of the plain is hemmed by mountains, these are partly laced with cloud, one section the cloud follows the contours downward, a white blanket off-set by green/grey granite, darker cumulous and blue sky. Once again I’m taken with the beauty.
That will do as my starter for ten.
The second rule of Crete Club is......