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April 18, 2006

A trip to Kalives

TimetableWe took a little trip out to the nearby village/town of Kalives by bus on Monday. It meant using the suburban bus routes, rather than the local numbered buses, so we had to go to the main bus station in town. We were aiming to catch the 10:30 bus to Iraklion, which would take us to Kalives which lies about twenty minutes outside of Hania by bus.

It appears that the only people in Crete who use these buses at this time of day are the elderly and infirm, and tourists. As a result the bus station was a heaving mass of the bemused and the befuddled. There aren't any bus stops as such, instead each bus pulls to the exit of the station, and then an announcement is made about which route is about to depart.

We had quite a battle getting our tickets, as we struggled to explain that we wanted the bus out to Iraklion but only wanted to go as far as Kalives. Eventually we got understood though, and paid €2.10 each for our trip. We then had another round of confusion as I tried to buy a cool drink, and went to the worng cash desk to pay for it. Strangely the fridge is next to a counter where they serve hot food and snacks, but it, obviously, belongs to the man on the other side of the hall with a newsagents stall.

RoadsignWe were a bit nervous at getting off at the right stop, but the buses have a conductor who calls out the destinations as they approach. The Kalives stop literally drops you at an exit on Crete's national highway. It isn't exactly a motorway by British standards, but it was certainly in the middle of nowhere. Kalives itself is about ten minutes walk away down the road. The views of the Lefki Ora mountains behind us were quite stunning.

Kalives is a very small place with no high-rise buildings - about the size we had expected Hania to be. I'm glad Hania turned out to be busier though, as I think I would get bored very quickly in a much smaller place. Kalives has a really nice beach though, and so we found a little pool-side bar facing the sea to stop and have a drink.

We were alongside a little stream that ran out to sea, and when we weren't being bothered by massive flying beetles, we were being amused by other people's small children. A couple of kids had been enjoying floating a toy boat down the stream, until it had got caught too far out in the current and was being slowly washed out to sea. The panic that ensued! Fortunately dad was able to play hero, and wade out into the stream armed with a fishing net to catch the runaway plastic toy.

Busstop_1On our walk home just as we were about to go through the underpass beneath the motorway to walk up the slip-road, we saw our return bus flashing past. D'oh! The service is half-hourly at most, and hourly for the majority of the day. It was a pretty uncomfortable wait - you just literally stand in the lay-by of the motorway, with only a rusty hunk of metal acting as a seat to show that there is even a bus stop there, and the sun was beating down ferociously. In the end, though, we only had to wait around twenty minutes for the next one, which was quite a relief.

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