So I am in the Big Apple now for a job interview and it’s almost sure now that I can get the job… One thing that really concerns me is rent for apartments here…
naked water jump in Northern Greece
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We went from Ioannina, passing through picturesque mountainous landscapes, and camped at a small beach close to Syvota (Σύβοτα). Like at most of the Greek beaches, you won’t see any signs for nudists there and when we arrived there in the late afternoon none was clothes-free. At night, however, when others left and the temperature was still very warm, there was no reason to remain clad. When I went for a night swim, something truly special happened: as I always swim in goggles (the only thing I like to wear while swimming ;-)), I could see that my body left thousands of tiny sparkling traces in the water – it looked like golden ‘stardust’ that fairies leave when they fly around, so I called myself an underwater fay. In Sweden there is an annual competition for water fairies who play different music instruments standing in the river. Then I think in Greece there should be the next stage of the competition: for water fairies dancing in the sea at night! Then spectators will have to submerge as well, but it is not a problem, since in August the average night temperature in Greece is warmer than the average day temperature in Sweden and the sea stays warm… Biological explanation for this phenomenon is that bioluminescent plankton, which is abundant in the Mediterranean in the late summer, responds to mechanical disturbance with glowing.
When we woke up in the morning I already felt confident enough to stay naked but when I got out of the tent I saw that there was a straight couple and the man was also sans clothes. Then we swam to the rocks and jumped from them (see the video above). That man also came there and showed us a better dive. He was a friendly French guy and suggested us to show how to dive. Well, I tried just from less than half of the height of those rocks and wasn’t very successful 😦 Hope I’ll learn to dive from such height next year!
When we returned there was another couple, Greeks, who looked at us; probably they didn’t expect to see naked people there, and I thought it might be uncomfortable for them, but in fact soon they disrobed completely as well. So until a yacht with a big italian family arrived, the beach had become mostly naturist =)
And small pebbles of the beach were also perfect to try out a slingshot which I bought in Ioannina (it is sold there as a souvenir for some reason).
Don’t worry, I wouldn’t use it against this beautiful Scarce Swallowtail but rather to protect from the aggressive textile invaders 😀
Almost all beaches in south-west Crete are clothing-optional, except perhaps only central town beaches. Many of them are connected with famous E4 hiking trail, so you can walk between them… or maybe swim?
Well, I’m joking, Anidri and GLyko Nero beaches are quite far from each other. Glyko Nero Beach (Sweet Water Beach), as its name suggests, has some underground freshwater springs. Thus this place is ideal for camping. Just dig a half-meter hole in the send, if there are not any already, and you’ll get fresh cold water. Regardless, you won’t die from hunger or thirst there anyway, as there is also a tavern. As the beach is turned to the south and surrounded by high walls of steep rocks,
it can get very hot there unless there’s a strong breeze from the sea. But there are some trees providing good shade,
and also a plenty of umbrellas from the tavern.
We spent most of the time swimming.
The sea water is very clean and has intense dark-blue color.
Unless you hit the freshwater spring at the water edge, it is also very warm; and certainly, this beach has one of the clearest waters I’ve seen.
At night, thanks to the cliffs surrounding the beach, it is very quiet and dark there, because no light comes from neighbouring town. Perfect to watch stars! As there was no moon, they were so bright that Milky Way even reflected in the water! And when we looked in the water, we saw that it was full of flashing “stars” itself. Bioluminescent plankton was so abundant (at least in the end of September, when we were there), that anytime I moved my hand in the water there were flashes around, as these organisms respond to mechanical disturbance with glowing. This is why they also flash a lot, when waves break onto the shore. I would highly recommend to swim at night (with goggles) to see how the water glows around you and your swimming buddy.
However, be careful with the above mentioned cliffs – don’t build you camp to close to them, because once in while some rocks were falling down, sometimes because of the goats jumping. They like coming to this beach to drink fresh water in those man-made holes, and you can see their incredible ability to walk on nearly vertical cliffs.
and then were diving from them.
To get to Glyko Nero beach you may use a small former fishing boat which comes from Hora Sfakion directly to the tavern twice per day at about 10:00 and 17:00, or like we and many hikers, come by E4 hiking trail. From Hora Sfakion, you can also first go by car in the direction of Loutro till the sign E4 Glyko Nero/Sweet Water Beach. However you get there, you’ll surely love this beach!
Samaria Gorge and beach at Agia Roumeli provide a perfect combo of adventure and secluded relaxation. Samaria is the longest gorge in Europe, 12.4km, so be prepared to walk for several hours. The good news is that you don’t need to carry water with you (maybe just keep half a liter with you), as there are springs at regular distances. It is a very popular national reserve with regular buses departing from Hania and other towns of Crete. It is better to ask in advance if the gorge is open on the day you want to go there, because it may be closed under some weather conditions.
First, you will descend by very well organized hiking trail with magnificent views over the gorge and mountains around.
The second part of the route lies in the river bed (during summer Samaria River comes to the surface only in some parts) between vertical rock walls up to 300m high.
That is especially impressive in several points where the cliffs from both sides get really close to each other, just few meters apart! It can be dangerous as the signs say, and we heard once quite a terrifying noise of falling rocks somewhere aside.
During the first half of our walk, the trail was often overcrowded with tens, if not hundreds, of people literally rushing one by one. Later we realized why they were in such a hurry: the ferries from Agia Roumeli, a village in the end of the gorge, leave to Hora Sfakion and Paleochora at about 16:30. This is why almost all hikers try to walk the whole way in about 6 hours. Luckily we were going to camp in the end, so we spent almost 10 hours in the gorge and could enjoy all astonishing views.
So, during last 3 hours of our walk, after these settlements, our only encounters were feral goats and kri-kri, Cretan subspecies of wild goats, endemic to the island.
After eating in a tavern in Agia Roumeli, we went to look for a camping place. A small pinery just left of the isthmus of the Samaria River was already occupied by half a dozen campers, so we continued looking for a place for our tent further on the beach in the dark… and we found it! An entire cave had been waiting for us exclusively 🙂 What was especially pleasing was that the floor in the cave was of fine dry soft sand, whereas the beach itself was mainly covered by pebbles, many of tennis ball size, very inconvenient to walk on. The cave had accumulated the warmth of the day, so not only did we not need to go inside our tent, we even did not need to cover! Watching the starry sky from the cave felt like in a cinema. The only problem was that the noise of waves echoed in the cave and thus doubled, so don’t expect quiet, but the sound of sea is your thing, you’ll be happy.
In the late morning next day, a few people came to the beach, but the cave remained pretty much our own.
With quite strong waves, the water there gets full of air bubbles, and it gives it incredibly intensive light-blue color… somewhat resembling the Greek flag =)
Further to the east lies another beach Agios Pavlos with an old church from Byzantine times, but unfortunately we did not have time to go there – it’s good to keep something for the next time, we thought.
Right next to the cave, there were some interesting rock formations.
While swimming around, we found some rocks offshore with sort of bathtubs on them.
How cool, after a bathtub, you can dive into the sea!
And getting back to our cave I couldn’t resist imagining myself as a caveman.
Though it was also nice to just lie down and relax there…
Hopefully this place will remain as beautiful and unspoiled as we found it!
A pretty long stretch of the seashore east of Paleochora has three pebbly beaches known as Anidri or Giliaskari.
Pebbles of the third, easternmost, beach are very small, which make it very convenient to walk on in contrast to big pebbles on other two beaches. In any case, probably thanks to the pebble floor, the water there is incredibly transparent.
We were there on a very quiet day with almost no wind, so we also played frisbee (there was enough space to not bother anyone with that).
Then we had a few pleasant swims without any waves, so we could easily practice different styles, mostly breaststroke
and front crawl.
Giliaskari beaches are well organized, with cafes, small taverns and outdoor showers – all well integrated with natural surroundings.
And we really enjoyed those outdoor showers in the sun 😎
As it’s a pretty long walk back to the town of Paleochora, it’s not a bad idea to wash the salt off you skin.
As if you couldn’t guess without it 🙂