This place is kind of lost in time and feels as remote as it gets on Crete. This island is quite populated and visited by millions of tourists, but if you want to stay in the middle of [beautiful] nowhere, camp here for a night or two.
I don’t even know what this place is called: if you look at Google maps, it says ‘Kefalovrisi’ above this spot, but this name is not mentioned anywhere else. The nearest village is Tsoutsouros. The sign was very welcoming 😉
We got an idea to visit it, because we read it was one of only a handful of places with natural palm tree growth in Crete (and in Greece, and actually Europe overall). Cretan date palm is only one of the two palm species native to European continent (the other one being dwarf fan palm that I saw near Sitges). There is a couple of bigger palm forests in Crete, but they seem to be located in more heavily visited parts of the island. This grove was mentioned on some websites though, and we decided to check it out.
On the way from a small village called Tsoutsouros, we hardly saw any cars/people, but we were welcomed by numerous goats.
The goats seemed to be curious about such rare visitors, but they were neither afraid of us nor did they bother us.
The palm grove provided a very picturesque view giving the place Middle-Eastern touch.
While such a palm grove would be easier to find somewhere in North Africa or Middle East, it would be difficult to find one where we could walk around naked, so we had to put to good use the fact that we could do it there in Crete.
I was certainly in a posing mood, of which Joe gladly took advantage.
I tried to climb one of the palm trees (I often do, as you may know),
but it was more difficult than it seemed.
So I resorted to some classical poses 🙂
While we were busy with nude photography, two hoopoes sat on the shrub nearby, but unfortunately we didn’t have a tele-lens handy, so these are the best pictures we could snatch.
After having spent quite a bit of time at the palm grove, we decided to go down and check access to the sea.
We saw a lonely palm-tree hidden between the cliffs by the water and thought it should be a nice place to hang out. I couldn’t help thinking of a poem by Mikhail Lermontov about a lonely pine-tree covered by snow somewhere in the North and dreaming of similarly lonely palm-tree on a sunburnt rock somewhere in the South.
When we came down, we were certain to keep the lonely palm-tree a company for the evening and night:
there was a cozy cave under the rock with a nice view,
and a cove with easy access to the sea on the other side.
Some rock formations around had quite peculiar shapes, especially at dusk.
We left for another walk
and saw the full moon rise above the sea.
We found some dried bases of palm leaves scattered around that we thought would make a perfect firewood.
The night was very warm, as it usually happens in September in Crete, but you cannot spoil the night with a bit of fire.
We also ventured for a night swim under the starry sky, and that was where I saw the brightest bioluminescence ever! Unfortunately, my underwater camera still wouldn’t be able to catch it. But we were mesmerized by the phenomenon: the water in the cove was very calm and clear, and the bioluminescent plankton would react to any movement in water; it was especially spectacular to see another person swimming underwater.
We woke up quite late in the morning, as we were protected from the sun by the rock.
Cretan pastry was a perfect energy-rich addition to our breakfast!
So we went for another swim in the morning, all the way around the cliffs, where we saw some other people sunbathing and swimming (also naked). This time we didn’t see anything spectacular in the water… until the very end, when I spotted a bearded fireworm. Well, at that moment I didn’t know the exact name, I only knew it was a representative of polychaete, a distant relative of earth worms… Neither did I know that it was a very dangerous animal actually! According to Wikipedia, the bearded fireworm “is not considered a threat to humans unless touched by a careless swimmer. The bristles, when flared, can penetrate human skin, injecting a powerful neurotoxin and producing intense irritation and a painful burning sensation around the area of contact. The sting can also lead to nausea and dizziness. This sensation lasts up to a few hours, but a painful tingling can continue to be felt around the area of contact. In a case of accidental contact, application and removal of adhesive tape will help remove the spines; applying alcohol to the area will also help alleviate the pain.”
Luckily, at that moment I was just happy observing how that fireworm was moving graciously through the algae on the rocks…
As we were leaving, again only goats were around to say good-bye.
It was quite a dangerous ride uphill on a dirt road, but it gave us another chance for a glance over the cove.