Itís hard to sleep when the bus kept switchbacking on the road and it comes stopping suddenly and you are thrown forward. I tried to sleep, it was not successful.

Ahhhh, the wonderful Samarian water. It was sooo good on the hike

There have been settlements at the town since prehistoric times (at least that is what the guide book tell us)

The Gorge was sooo beautiful. Itís hard to explain, got to be there.

I hate rocky beaches. It isnít fun to swim/walk in the water.

It wasnít scary.

You must have been sleeping again...

We also realized that Al lost his hat that I really like in the Samarin gorge... because he didn't want to wear it during the whole hike.

Samarian Gorge
 

 
 

Samarian Gorge

φαραγγι Σαμαριασ

5:30am, and we're up and walking to the bus station. We bought some sweet pants at REI just for this trip. The bottom of the pants zip off so that they become shorts. Right now they were pants because it was freezing outside. Lin-Wei was lucky enough to sleep through the bus trip. I, on the other hand, still have nightmares. The road is narrow, and steep, and there are cars coming from the other direction, and one false move and that's it man. That's...it! I freaked out for 2 hours. Lin-Wei snored.

 
The start of our hike through the gorge
When we got to the top of the mountain, we bought our tickets for the gorge, procured some sandwiches, and started our descent. The gorge was extremely beautiful. The first 1/3 was pretty steep downhill, and that gets pretty hard on the knees after a while. But when we reached the bottom we got to walk parallel to a clear mountain stream. Very tranquil.

The river was still creating the gorge, so as we walked parallel the river would slowly get lower and lower, so eventually we'd have to do more of the vertical downhill stuff. That kinda sucked. Other times the river would disappear completely, and we'd be walking on a dry riverbed full of rocks. But eventually the river would come back.

 
Spring water with collecting tube
The water of the Samarian gorge is completely fresh, and they would divert it to public drinking fountains along the path, much like the romans did with their aqueducts. We were a bit hesitant to drink this water, but soon our water bottles were empty, so we didn't have much choice. It tasted good, and I survived to tell the tale, so it must have been fine. And, it had some crazy magical properties. Lin-Wei became a giant (not photoshopped)!

Along the river we'd see these large, black tubes that would start in the river, and run along the path with us. We found out later that there were a number of bottled water companies that got their water from these tubes. There were lots of signs posted along the route indicating that we shouldn't swim in the water, and this would explain why. Nobody wants to drink essence of Bonney.

 
The abandoned city
About 2/3 of the way down we got to an ancient town that was build up in the gorge, and we rested there. I had some foot blisters to attend to, and as I was attending to them, some dude started to talk to us about blisters and his feet. It was a little weird, and I graciously refused the salves that he offered me. We later saw him on the trail walking with two younger women, and they seemed to be trying to get away from him too.

After about 4 hours, I had had enough, but we still had a couple of km to go. Lin-Wei kept looking ahead to see the sea. She claimed her coworker said that eventually the mountains open up, and there is the sea! Well, I didn't put too much stock in this after the restaurant debacle.

 
The narrowest point of the gorge
We did see a really cool area where the walls of the gorge narrow to their smallest distance though.

Eventually we found our way to the end of the trail and into the outskirts of the beach town that was our destination. All I could think about was the beach at the end. The coworkers were backed up by the guidebook this time. At the end of this arduous hike was the beach, and that's what I had on my mind. I was hot, sweaty, tired, and I needed a soak. We had to walk through the town, but finally we saw it! Once again the beach was in the form of sharp and painful rocks instead of sand, but I didn't care.

 
Do you see the nude sunbather? She's in there, I swear!

We took off the hiking boots and fancy pants (we had swim suits underneath!) and jumped it. Man, it was freezing, but it was awesome. And the sharp rocks actually felt like a nice foot massage. I dug it.

We were, of course, famished, so after swimming we walked along the beach to get to the restaurants. There were about 50 beach chairs there (that you had to rent), and as we walked by I spotted a lone nude sun-bather of the attractive female persuasion. Lin-Wei, of course, was completely oblivious, which I took as permission to get in a good 15-20 glances. Sweet. That's the way to end a 16km hike, my friend. Sorry, no pictures though. Maybe the internets can help you out.

We got lunch at a place frequented by locals, and then waited around for the ferry. The ferry was totally packed, and we were a bit worried about the next leg. We had our bus tickets, but there were SO many people on that ferry. There was no way we were going to all fit on one bus. So when the ferry docked, we elbowed our way to the front of the boat, disembarked, and hauled ass up the hill to the bus station.

 
1/2 of our transport back to Hania
I saw about 20 buses parked up in a parking lot, so I went up there, while Lin-Wei stayed left. Frantically we searched for our bus, but to no avail. One by one these charter buses left, and we remained. Finally we saw the public bus stop, and hung out there... with 50 others. It was tense. Every few minutes, people would move around and position themselves up to the front of the line. We scanned the hills above looking for the bus. We jostled ourselves to the front. We waited. And then we saw TWO buses come. Sweet. But there was still a large crowd there. A dude with a radio kept talking into it and glancing nervously at us. I'm no expert, but that didn't look like a good sign. Right before the buses got there, some dude talked to the radio guy and procured about 30 bus tickets for his group, and he was assured that they would get on the bus first. Curses!

When the buses did arrive, it was a mad scramble. I got in one line, Lin-Wei in another, and we jostled like we had never jostled before. Somehow we ended up on the bus with the tour group, and we got two good seats. And we could relax... Yeah right. We had a 2 1/2 hour trip through the mountains. Lin-Wei was wide awake for this one. It was scary.

We went for dinner at a Chinese place back in Hania. We felt guilty in France when we went for Chinese, but it was good, and it was good at this place too (and we felt guilty). The put us up in the balcony, though, and forgot about us initially. We had a Chinese woman in our party, probably the only one in Hania besides the people who ran the restaurant, but they still forgot about us.

That night we wanted to relax, but something was happening. That something was a tremendous crowd of soccer fans in the town square (not too far from us) going wild. Apparently either the Hania team, or a team nearby had won some championship, so everyone was dancing around, shooting fireworks, and having a good time. It was pretty cool actually, and it didn't get violent at all. And best of all they all chilled out after 10pm. So we got to get some well-needed rest.