Walk from Anogia to Arolithos

Walk around Crete in 50 days – Day 46 from Anogia to Arolithos

from Anogia to Arolithos

Steps 33835
Burned calories 12.8
Distance 25,7 km
Walking hours 04h 29′
Weather: cold first but sunny after midday, average 22C

Woke up at 07.00 and had breakfast in “Crete” rent rooms: few slices of bread, one small plastic cup of marmalade and coffee. “Breakfast included”, they said yesterday… Kalinihta !

I left Anogia at 08.10. It is still cold (13C), but the sky is looking good. Plenty of activity… cars, lorries and pick-ups passing through the village. Young men (I saw two of them, not even 14 years old, driving big pick-up cars) are gathering wood and bushes (maquis) for the coming Easter festivities.

08.30 I start my descent towards Gonies and Arolithos, at the petrol station, just at the end of the village. Getting warmer now (17C) and sunny. Almost no wind. I will be careful with all these “pick-up cowboys” !

09.00 Arriving in Sissarha, a small, old village with only 25 people living there. I stop at the cafenion “to karteri”. Nicky, the owner, her husband died 6 months ago, serves me a very tasteful “elleniko sketto”. “The number is going down every year”, Nicky says… “In a few years, the village will be dead too”. She shows me an old Cretan stone house (kind of a ruin) and the beautiful, old and small church of the village. I like very much her “chicken house”, an old cretan one, kept in good shape.

When I am about to leave at 09.45 she gives me 5 “kombolois”, made out of wood by a man (Manolis) of the village..”doro” she said. “Manolis likes me, and brings me lots of them… he has nothing else to do, I can offer them to tourists or friends”..3 fresh oranges are the next “doro sto dromo”..

Wonderful hospitality…This is the way I like it.. Unfortunately you don’t find it in every village. People are having more and more difficulties to survive… Hard times…but here, in Sisarha, everybody lives in harmony with his/neighbor and the other inhabitants.. Time stood still, but they don’t bother. No sorrow, no stress.. just more difficult than before… But, as Nicky says “life goes on”. Sto kalo na pas, pedia, and live long in your nice little village !

10.40 I am in Gonies. Mountain village with houses spread out over the hillside. Old men drink their coffee or “fanta” at the local cafenions, the normal scene. Getting warmer now (22C)

11.10 I take a short break on a point of view. Again I see young boys driving these big and heavy pick-up cars.. They must be around 14 to 15 years old and ARE RACING with other people ! Unbelievable ! The nice “orchis Italicca”, I see, when leaving the rest area, make my day !

12.20 Saw the first snake since my start at Malia.. A small one, 50 cm, I guess.. hiding itself in a rocky space. Grey, green and white colors, perfect cammouflage. Hot now (not because of the snake) and 27.7C..

At 12.45 I get the first glimpse of Heraklion, the capital of Crete, and the Island of Dia. Nearly home…

13.20 Arrival in Tilissos, a nice village (if you leave the main road), with lots of activity.

14.00 Arrival at Arolithos, the beautiful village, built in 1985 by Yannis and his family. Many times I came here (when I was guiding) with lots of tourists.. The village shows the real Cretan tradition.. Nice architecture and warm atmosphere. As I changed my plans the last days (normally I should not stay at Arolithos), I asked for Yannis.. What a warm welcome ! He offered me immediately a room with breakfast.. And what a room ! Real Cretan one, completely in the old tradition. “Filoxenia apo mena”, Yannis said, “my hospitality for you”. He has his heart at the right place.

Guido, my friend and business partner, comes later to see me and to have a meal together. At 16.00 Alan and Simon call me..They will come too !

Well, if you are in the Heraklion area, don’t miss Arolithos, on the way to Anogia, just (on the right) before the junction with Rethymnon. A peaceful little paradise, where you sample the real Cretan life from before.. Congratulations and many thanks, Yannis and family, I could not have a better surprise, nearly at the end of my walk around Crete. A quiet and “traditional” night is waiting for me..

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