It was a beautiful, sunny day today, still cool in the early morning but warming up quickly.
The Sweetwater boat started its daily service today. I took the Samaria ferry to Loutro, and the ship was again loaded up with cars, pick-ups and vans carrying all sorts of stuff, from refrigerators to sheep. The doctor for Roumeli was also on board. Locals who hadn't seen each other all winter exchanged greetings. There was a man clearing all the stones from the path across the beach so that businesses can use wheelbarrows to transport items to the other side of the village, but since the path it isn’t usable yet the ferry also docked on the far side. Only the Kyma restaurant is open at the moment; owners or a couple of other tavernas told me they are aiming to open around the middle of April.
I walked up to the Venetian fortress, where there are quite a lot of dragon arums in bloom, and then down to Phoenix – the lower part of that path has lots of loose stones on it, so it’s easy to slip. The hotel owner at Old Phoenix said he would probably open around the 21st. After looking at the old frescos in the lower church, I went back to Loutro via the easy path around the headland, from where there are nice views to Lykos, Livaniana and Marmara Beach.
The path to Sweetwater Beach from Loutro is quite tricky in a couple of places after the harsh winter. At one point there is a small gully where the path has collapsed, and the short downward slope consists of bare, slippery dirt, with nothing much to grab onto as you cross the rocky gap (the photo doesn’t show this well). Soon after that, the path across the steep grey dirt slope is very narrow at the moment. There is a jumble of large rocks leading to the large bay before Sweetwater. On the final descent to Sweetwater Beach, there is one bad corner with slippery gravel across what’s left of the track, and the lower part of the path is covered with loose rocks. As more people use the path, these dodgy parts should improve.
Several other hikers were taking a break on Sweetwater beach, and a few of us ventured a quick swim, warming up afterwards in the hot sun.
The path from Sweetwater Beach to Sfakia is very messy at first, and you have to pick your way through the newly fallen stones; but the path markings are clear, and once you are on the old kaldirimi the surface is good, with only a couple of places where rocks are strewn across the path.
Back in Sfakia, there is a steady trickle of tourists arriving. Late tonight a large group of geography students from the University of Reading in England are arriving for a week.
A few things to report from yesterday, which I didn’t want to post on April 1st in case people thought these were jokes:
- Some crazy idiot (not from this village) has smashed up the toilets where the buses park. This will be very costly to repair, and the Dimos doesn’t have much money.
- Up in the high madares near Pachnes, where there have been avalanches, a shepherd went to see how things were at his mitato and couldn’t find it. Some researchers with measuring tools discovered that the snow is 45 metres deep in the natural basin where his mitato is located!