Crete: day 5
If I were really smart I would have planned a day of rest between the Samaria Gorge hike and the hike to Loutro. But no.
The walk from Agia Roumelo to Loutro would take about 6 hours and would be mostly gorgeous, scrambling along ocean cliffs overlooking the Libyan Sea. It would also be mostly in full sun, and it was only after getting back to NYC that I read (in one of the guide books I left behind) that the walk should be started by 7 am to avoid baking in the brutal sun.
Alas, we started at 9:30. The first two hours were partly shaded as the trail wove in, out, and among olive trees and pines. Everytime we stopped to look back or down the view was obscenely beautiful. Jaw-droppingly so.
Asphodel was everywhere. The tops of the bulbs were visible at soil level, and they were giant. The size of a baby's head. Apparently nothing eats Asphodel because the goats kept everything else neatly mowed.
More research is required on this subject. In ancient Greek mythology, Asphodel is the food of the dead and also kept Hercules alive while he labored. Perhaps only the bulb is edible...anyone?
(Thanks to JPK, god of research, who provided the link above.)
The path was sometimes shifting and sandy,
other times rocky and teetering.
Four hours in and we were hot: truly, complainingly sweaty and deeply uncomfortable. Since Cayce and I do outdoor manual labor for a living, we'd built up some tolerance to sun and heat. Our desk-jockey husbands were less well prepared. Still, we were all greatly relieved to reach Marmara Beach and the taverna overlooking the ocean. Souvlaki and salad all around, plus Sfakian cheese pie.
Another hour and a half and we were in Loutro, a small village surrounded by fierce mountains and clear water. No roads lead to Loutro. You can get there by foot or by boat, and there's something remarkable about that. At the end of October, Loutro closes, opening again in April.
An early supper at Notos was excellent, although someone (Michael?) made the mistake of asking what happens to all the cats in Loutro when the people go home.
We hobbled back to the Hotel Daskalogiannis and to bed.