Around Agios Nikolaos: Part 1

2 to 7 November 2017

When my friend Phil came to visit early on in our time in Agios Nikolaos it was the perfect opportunity to start exploring the area around the town and get to know our winter home.

It was Phil’s birthday whilst he was with us and although the weather had been a bit hit and miss his birthday was a beautiful sunny day. It was just about warm enough for a swim in the sea at Almyros Beach a short 2.5 km walk around the Gulf of Mirabello from Agios Nikolaos. The Thrypti mountains made a stunning backdrop.

We drove up to the pretty mountain village of Kritsa, only about 4km outside Agios Nikolaos. From the top of the village there were beautiful views back down to the Gulf over so many olive groves.

Wandering around the tiny streets we bumped into livestock around every corner and someone’s old cooker!

Although it’s getting towards winter the village was full of beautiful flowers adding colour to all the whitewash.

Kritsa is best known for its tradition of handicrafts, particularly lacework and rugs. Although the tourist season was over we were invited into several shops by the older women of the village. One in particular, Irene, was insistent that we visit her workshop where she demonstrated her rag-rug making on her grandmother’s loom and insisted that we take her photo!

Just outside Kritsa is the 13th century church, Panayia Kera. It’s three aisles and domed ceiling were decorated with Byzantine art. We weren’t sure but we figured that one of the saints on white horses much be Saint George.

Next stop, further into the mountains from Kritsa, we visited the ancient settlement of Lato. Built high up on two hillsides it resembles a Cretan Macchu Picchu and dates from the 7th century. Although crumbling the Dorian buildings were still standing enough to imagine life in the city.

And the views across to the mountains were fantastic.

We clambered up and down amongst the ruined theatre, banqueting hall, temple, houses and shops and, out of season, shared our wanderings with only one German family.

On the way back to Agios Nikolaos we had time before the Sunday BBQ for a quick walk down into the Kritsa Gorge. We were accompanied all the way by a very friendly dog from a nearby farm.

Phil climbed further into the big boulders of the gorge floor. I saved my legs for walking the gorge proper with the marina’s Thursday walking group.

Before he left we took Phil round to Elounda for a walk around the lagoon which had been our home only a week before. It was a beautiful clear day for views across to Spinalonga Island and beyond as we took the car up the windy road up from Plaka to the wind farm at the top.

Thanks for visiting, Phil. It was great to see you. Don’t leave it so long next time.

And a big thank you for bringing the new water heater with you. We’d been without hot water for six weeks and are very glad to have it back!

 

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