Last week we rented a car for a few days since it wasn’t hiking weather for us (threatening rain one day and too hot the next).
Our friends were interested in visiting the two women in Anopoli who weave woollen and cotton cloth on an old loom (argaleiós) behind their house. They mainly sew this into traditional shepherd’s bags (tsandas) of various sizes. We were entertained by a goat outside their veranda climbing a fence to reach the leaves of a tree.
Next we drove up to Agia Ekaterini church for the views down to Loutro and over the Anopoli plateau, then poked around some of the old ruined houses further down. We finished off at the Anopoli taverna, taking the opportunity over coffee to browse through a few of the interesting books they keep on display – we particularly enjoyed the new black-and-while photo book of the area self-published by a German man, a book in English on traditional Cretan weddings with many photos, and a book in Greek illustrating the various traditional handicrafts of Greece.
We finished the day at a pre-arranged rendezvous with the priest at 12 Apostles Church in Tholos so that our friends could see inside the newly renovated Byzantine-style church. The icons have all now been cleaned (one icon of St Thomas was thought to have been Jesus until cleaning revealed who it really was); new icons have replaced those in screen that were stolen a few year ago, and a security system is now in place. The crumbling bell tower desperately needs rebuilding, but the church still has to raise enough money for this project. The day was rounded off watching the sun set from the terrace of the Thea café over the new harbour.
The next day we pottered along the coast, stopping to swim first at Orthi Ammos beach (the next one east from Frangokastello). There were still many sea daffodils in bloom, improbably emerging from the sand dunes. Since spring a new sign has appeared just before the easternmost part of the beach which reads “Feel free to go nude from this point”.
We carried on to Agia Marina (below Skaloti), driving down the narrow track onto the beach and around the corner to have a simple lunch looking over to Plakias bay and Preveli in the distance, then continued on to the other end of the beach to show our friends the WWII memorial sign at Perestere. We took the road around to Polyrizo for another swim, and after reaching Korakas beach headed back up to the main road. Our last stop was in the deserted village of Kolokasia (hidden above Agios Nektarios), where several houses have been renovated by outsiders, and where there are interesting ruins to explore.