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July 09, 2008

The (rocky) road South

Last year, when Claire and I took our road trip around Crete, I seemed to be blogging about it bit-by-bit for months. Despite that, I never quite reached the last day, when we stayed in Frangokastello at Flisvos Apartments, which are literally on the beach. It is a beautiful place, and so this year we took our recent guests there for a day trip.


It was partly because it has a nice beach, partly because it has a castle, and partly because of the spectacular, if terrifying, drive. The journey from Chania to Frangokastello means taking the main road south from Vryses towards Chora Sfakia, and passing through the Imbros Gorge. We though this would give our visitors a taste of the amazing gorge countryside that Crete has to offer, without inflicting the 16km of the Samaria trek on them in 34° heat.


The journey there was more fraught than usual, since a large amount of EU funded work is being done on the road. It is being widened, and some of it is being replaced with tunnels through the mountains. Whilst we totally approve of this work, we weren't quite so happy getting caught up in it.

As it is the only route south, it hasn't been possible to close the road whilst the work is carried out, and so for some parts of the journey, the narrow stretch of road that could barely let two cars pass had been stripped of tarmac, strewn with boulders, and we had to weave our way through rock-drillers, diggers, trucks and workmen.

It was a bit like being in some kind of crazy driving video game - except that you were perched on side of a cliff and the danger was real. We'd certainly earned our lunch and a relax on the beach by the time we reached Frangokastello!

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