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May 31, 2007

Road Trip Day #3: Lasithi Eco Park and Dikteon Cave

We'd literally been on the road 5 minutes on the Wednesday morning when we saw the Lasithi Eco Park. We weren't enthralled by the promise of watching traditional cheese-making and crafts, but it also offered a zoo, so we thought we'd poke our noses in.


There was nothing exotic in the zoo, it was more a collection of farm animals, but it had some funny pigs, and friendly ponies, and a collection of kri-kri including one very young one.


After the Eco Park we headed towards Psychro and the Dikteon cave. This is the place where, according to legend, Zeus was born and raised, so that his father could not find him and kill him.

Before venturing into the cave we stopped for breakfast at a taverna at the bottom of the path. I was unable to turn down the hostesses repeated offer of fresh vanilla cake, so we sort of had afternoon tea at 9am, with a very fattening creamy icing filled cake each. We sat at a balcony with an amazing view across the whole plateau.


We then had to walk the cake off to get to the cave, which is 1km up the side of a mountain. There are two pathways to it, and without realising it we picked the new modern paved pathway which was a blessing. Although steep at times it didn't look anywhere near as difficult as the old cobbled pathway did when we came across it.

It was €4 each to get into the cave, and quite the spookiest of the three we have visited so far on Crete. The entrance is swarming with nesting birds, and you can just see the pathway dropping into a dimly lit hole in the ground, that seems to go on for miles.


Claire said it was like walking down into hell, although with the sudden drop in temperature it was more like Dante's freezer than Dante's inferno. For most of our visit we were only in the giant cave. It was very atmospheric.


The walk down revealed just how harsh the journey had been on our calf muscles, and we stopped for another coffee (no cake this time) before setting out for Agios Nikolaos.

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