Join me for a celebration of Easter on my first trip through the Greek islands.
Back in 1981, I fulfilled a dream to visit Greece, after my fascination with its mythology and culture since childhood. With my partner Jim, I loaded up my backpack for camping on the different islands and mainland. This is part of the trip on rugged Crete:
Leaving remote Loutro on a local ferry east, Jim and I enjoyed the deep blue seas and views of the rugged cliffs along the south coast of Crete. We disembarked at Chora Sfakion and were unable to compete with sudden hordes of young Germans on holiday scrambling for the bus out of town, so found a flat spot outside town to pitch our tent beside a small, abandoned chapel. We finally scored a spot on the crowded bus to Skaloti the next day, sharing space with chickens, packages, and an assortment of Cretans including a beautiful young woman with a profile from an ancient urn, a handsome Orthodox priest with the tall black hat, and the usual exuberant bus driver. This one was a big, burly, graying man who gestured out the open side window and shouted greetings to locals sitting outside village tavernas just feet from the dirt road.
After a bus ride of many steep, tight turns above hair-raising drops into rocky ravines, we reached the end of the line at Skaloti, which boasted one dusty taverna/market and no accommodations. With only an hour before sunset, we contemplated the 15-kilometer hike eastward to the next bus connection, the village of Rodakino. Spreading our sleeping bags in a field, we wandered to the edge of the sea cliffs to soak in the vistas of stark pale stone and cobalt sea. Sitting on the steps of a deserted little whitewashed chapel, we enjoyed a softly rosy sunset. Letting time flow around me, feeling the lingering warmth of the stones soak into me, I sat listening to ancient whispers until blue dusk settled over the chapel.
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You will find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s Greek islands novel THE ARIADNE CONNECTION from Book View Cafe took its inspiration from this early (and later) trips to Greece. It received the Chanticleer Global Thriller Grand Prize. “A rocket-paced thrill ride that delivers complex, engaging characters in a laser-sharp plot.” Sign up for her quarterly email newsletter at www.sarastamey.com