Walk from Xirokambos to Ziros

Walk around Crete in 50 days – Day 10 from Xirokambos to Ziros

from xirokapos to ziros

Number of steps 25285
Burned calories 950
Distance 19.2 km
Walking hours 3h 32′
Pulse at arrival 97
Weather: Cold wind from the North West.

Wake up at 07.00. Open weather and sunny (17C). We had breakfast at Glaros in Kato Zakros. Excellent service. We paid for the rooms and the food and Christina drove me, Alan and Andy to Xirokambos. She would wait for us in Ziros afterwards.

At about 09.50 we started at Xirokambos..Deserted place, with only a few people, working on their houses, preparing for the summer season. It gets warmer (19C) and 45′ out of the village we spotted two barrel dogs, one on each side of the road. No food or water…One was very skinny. We gave them food and water, nobody around…They were guarding nothing…Maybe preventing sheep from going downhill…The view of the islands of Koufonissi, Strongilos and Trachilos was fabulous!

At 12.20 we arrived at the village of Hametoulo. We were now at 450 m above sea level, heavy wind and only 7C ! Hametoulo is deserted…We speed up a bit (Alan and Andy were again joining me) to get a bit warmer..It was a difficult climb…and long ! As the village was at about 500 m from the main road, we did not visit it…Nothing to see anyway.

At 12.50 we spotted the military base of Ziros. Still cold, windy, but very close to Ziros now.. 13.10 we are now at the highest point of the journey (590m). Down to Ziros…

13.50 we arrive in Ziros. Alan was happy because there was a landing place for helicopters….! At the entrance of Ziros, three barrel dogs. One was very skinny, no owner to see..Asking around, nobody knew anything, as usual. Ziros lays in a big valley, just underneath the military control area. A big contrast, radar control and farming people….The ‘plateau’ makes me think of Lassithi…Lots of olive nets are drying…harvest is over now. In Ziros only one place to sleep…’Paradosiaki’, paradise? Well, look at the pictures…’The only one’? we asked..’Yes’…ok better than a tent anyway.

I had my daily ‘elliniko sketto’ in the local taverna, serving as a post office and a supermarket, as well as a watch shop….The few old men were playing cards, koboloi or talking about the others of the village..We decided to go for a warm shower and have a meal at the ‘restaurant’ of the ‘hotel’.. Doors open, it was only 10C inside…We were eating like on the North Pole…

At the ‘sushi bar’ men were discussing about selling houses to each other, while drinking loads of raki. Some were behind the counter, others in front of it…to get better communication. The foreigners (we all live for years on Crete) .were watched suspiciously. Men go in and out, even without ordering something… Once one leaves, the others start talking about him…Typical. Nikos, the owner, so I call him, looks at them, serves another raki and smiles… Clever man.

For once, no tv, no radio, only villagers spending time together…It must be their daily life. ‘Raki Yannis’ has the last word in every conversation…We order hot wine, it is still cold inside… Nikos looks surprised ‘zesto krassi ?’… Yes, Nikos, warm it up a bit please, at the wintersports we drink the same. It is called ‘gluwein’.. Dinner was served with the ‘local fassolia’.. Really nice food, and cheap !

A very cold night is waiting, but my sleeping bag protects until -12C.. Nothing to worry about. We leave Nikos, Yannis, Kostas and the others… ‘Avrio exei zesto kairo, kalinixta!’ (tomorrow the weather will be warm) says Nikos… “Kalinihta Nikos, I xenei pane ya ipno” (Goodnight Nikos, the foreigners are going to sleep).

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