Friday, August 24, 2007

Hania and the Samaria Gorge


What else can I say? We got in to the cab AND the price was exactly what we expected! I guess there are limited opportunities for money in Crete and so they don't mess with you.

It was pretty late when we got in and we decided to walk around and see what was going on. The streets and the shops were open very late and we walked around and loked at a lot of stuff that we knew we weren't going to buy because we didn't feel like carrying it around for the rest of the trip.

We made it down to the old port and it was pretty cool. There is an old Venetian lighthouse and lots of people watching and so interesting looking signs for bars. There were some really old buildings above the shops. They looked really shoddy even in the dark. I think we ended up heading back to the hotel despite Jess' portest for corn - but then again, when she saw the guy using a hairdryer to cook it, I think she dediced against it. I'm sure she didn't want any pube looking hairs, regardless if they were armpit or chest hairs near her corn. We got back and showered - it was one of those werid ones - the whole bathroom was open, so nothing separated the shower on the wall with the sink and the toilet. I guess it has its bonuses - you could legitimately pee in the shower without any repercussions.

We got up and headed to the bus station - which was actually pretty shoddy as well. We grabbed our tickets and headed out front to enjoy the fresh second-hand smoke and wait for the bus. I'm pretty sure we decided on the 7:30 bus - which would get us there and into the gorge by 9. The ride was interesting - in Hania, the temperature was 26C when we left. That's like 112F but when we got to the gorge after some crazy winding roads and some sheep evasions, it was 16C which for us is like -5F.
It was gorges - just like Ithaca (for those of you who have seen the t-shirt). The plan was to head down and into the gorge at a reasonable pace - which should get us throught the 13km within a 4-6 hour period. This means you don't take a lot of pictures (yeah right) or spend time in the "town" that is in the middle of the gorge. We had started drinking water the night before and on the way there so within the first mile or so - or at least at the first toilet stop, I had to go. After handing over the camera to Jess, I waited on a long line that probably took 10 minutes longer than it needed to. There was a lot of giggling and talk in other languages as I waited to pee. So now I'm thinking, "What the fuck is it going to be inside there." In general, it's not a problem for me, I'll pee anywhere - and in fact, probably have, including Navatto's leg. But that's another story. I have seen, in Red Rock Canyon in Nevada, literally, a hole in the ground and then it's a long way down for your refuse to mingle with everyone elses. I honestly didn't expect to see this - which, coincidentally, I had seen before. We encountered THAT bad boy in the train station headed back to Naples from Sorrento last year. It's not terrible if you have a penis - because I am sure it's a lot easier to aim that. But, I can see having a problem if you're a woman or if you need to drop a deuce. I think they should put handlebars of some kind nearby - in case you need the assistance. The bathroom in the gorge did not have a nice tile floor but then again that could have been an advantage - imagine slipping in here? Imagine slipping in someone's bad aim?
It was a perfect day - a bit hot once we got down into the gorge but not too bad at all. Especially if your name is Jess and you don't have a pack! Not that I'm complaining - because I volunteered to carry everything - the water and the fruit and snacks. It was a good workout for me - especially since my knees suck and I haven't been hiking too much of late. Of course, this hike was all down hill - just what the arthritis and miniscus' love. The pain was well worth it though. The gorge was amazing and the views - most of which you will get to see were awesome.

We continued on our way after a stop and about 10:30-11 decided to stop for "lunch" which was a large piece of fruit and a few handfuls of trailmix - rather than one at the break. We had just passed a bunch of people and came across a stream crossing and decided to stop there. Of course, within 5 minutes, every anus on the trail decided to stop there and take pictures. Including the German manbitch who was laying on the rocks and trying to pose all sexy like - I think it was supposed to be sexy. He looked like a jackass and was definitely no sexy.

(So, I was just about done with this post and fucking cablevision screwed up and didn't save it - I'm friggin pissed so if it really sucks from here on, blame them and not me.)

We kept our spot and didn't give it up to anyone because it had the best views. I totally could have spent the rest of the day in this spot. The water was running by, we had shade and some food. But there was still another 8 km or so left until the end. We stayed for about 15 minutes and then continued on our way - passing all the fools who had passed us while we ate in our awesome spot with the view.
As the trail got ready to descend into the gorge, it reminded me of Boynton Canyon Trail in Sedona. It kinda skirts above a drop for a bit before it gradually goes down and lets you out into the gorge. It's kinds like building you up for the big ta-da when you step into the gorge. And, it was awesome.

The walls of the gorge just surround you once you are down in it. It also got super friggin hot. I guess with the sun overhead and the rocks heating up and bouncing the heat off one another and into the gorge, it got to be about 2000 degrees and they don't want you to play in the water supply. The walls are really cool. You can see the erosion lines from I'm assuming the glaciers that cut the gorge and the water that flowed through,continuing the erosion process. Supposedly, you can see fossils in the walls but I didn't see any - must have had something to do with the distortion being caused by the 2000 degree heat.
We continued to hike - stopping once more for a break. My shoulders were starting to cramp up a bit. As you hike the last few spots along the trail you start to see people hiking it in the opposite direction - it's lile 2 PM. You can tell they were total tourists with no clue about hiking of any kind. How you could head into this place at 2 pm - the hottest time of the day, wearing fashionable sandals and in some cases flipflops and be heading uphill is beyond me. I'm guessing they're only going a little bit and then back but who knows, people are stupid. We continued on and out of the gorge and of course there are a few little stands at the end selling juice and ices and stuff so they can get you to spend some dough in your weakened state.
The worst part of the hike was to the town where you get the ferry. It is just a wide open space - the sun is beating down on you and there is no cover anywhere. It was like another mile or so and there were goats and sheep on the side and it stank like their shit. There was a cool building built into the stone - I'm assuming that it was a church. Greece is full of churches - they're small and they're everywhere and I can't imagine that they have a large enough population to support them all.
We did eventually get to the town. We bought our ferry tickets - it wouldn't leave until 3:45 - it was now about 1:30. We got lunch and relaxed for a bit. While going through the pictures, the screen on the camera went blank and an error message came up. I almost vomitted. I started to erase pictures - luckily, everything was ok except that I lost 22 pictures - most from down in the gorge. I suppose it could have been a lot worse.

We got on the ferry - it made a few stops. Some dude was sitting like right on top of me for part of the trip. I don't get the lack of understanding of personal space on this continent. WTF? Dude, get your fucking knee off me - it's not like I know you or you're my relative or something. This shit is all day everyday over here. We got off and had to look for the bus stop and tickets back because someone, I won't mention any names lost our return tickets. Of course - not having tickets can put you at a distinct disadvantage when fighitng to get on the bus.

There was this mess of a guy at the bus stop. All he did was groan. Uggghhhh... and he was big. Definitely a bit fat but he looked like he would be strong - he kinda reminded me of Thing, except he wasn't orange. He somehow managed to stand next to us and the girl from Seattle we were talking to and Jess, Ms. Sensitive turns, sees him and laughs in his face. Now, it was clear there was something wrong with this dude, he had to be retarded and non-verbal. And if it wasn't clear, all you had to do was take a whiff and note the giant wet spot on his crotch and legs. Guy pissed all over himself and he stank. It was really bad. I thought for sure he would be on our bus but he wasn't. Thank God. Surprisingly, he didn't try to touch Jess - just what I would have needed with my bummy ass knees all wobbly. I would have gotten beaten up by a retarded guy on Crete. Now that would have been a funny story!

We got back to Hania and napped, relaxed, ate and did some shopping at night. It was really cool there at night - we had to get up the next day to take the bus to Iraklion and see Knossos.

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