Thursday, July 19, 2012

Petras' Souvlaki Pitas...

July 7, 2012
Turkey/Greece Trip

Florian, our hiking guide, told us it was a nice drive up the beach to Preveli, so today we took off and headed up the Mediterranean coast.  He told us our first stop should be at "Petras", because they make the best pitas around.  So going against all health department advice, we stopped at Petras and ordered a couple pitas to go.  We figured, Florian would not lead us astray and that the pitas would be good for lunch somewhere along the way.
Petras had a little roadside cantina 
It looked like a traveling kitchen
We got there mid-morning, so they did not even have the fire started yet.
But, it didn't take her long to have some wood coals ready.
She went right to work cutting up the chicken
...and had two kabobs of chicken ready in no time!
We waited in the dining room along the roadside under the shade trees
while she grilled the chicken.
She gave us a plate of cherries and some water...
and yes, we did eat those yummy cherries!
Our pitas were ready and we were on our way.
 I write this several days later, yes, we are still well and alive;
and the pitas were great!
Heading on our way to Preveli we drove up and down winding through the mountains on narrow roads.  Some of them being dirt roads... 
You can see the switch backs and it was like this most of the way
I kept thinking we had to be on the wrong road, but our GPS was directing us and the arrow was following right along the road with us.  Finally it was connecting back to the main road... or at least we could see the main road below and we hoped we were getting on it!
We had a view of the "Holy Monastery of Preveli"
You can see the dirt road in the bottom left corner of this picture
and we could see the pavement below.
Finally, we got to the pavement and arrived at "The Holy Monastery of Preveli"  We stopped for a quick tour.  This monastery, as most all other monasteries, did not allow pictures inside, but we could take a few outside and of the grounds.
The monastery was built in 1941.
We continued and made our way though Preveli... this picture gives you an idea of the narrow streets through the villages along our route.
It was not fun meeting on-coming traffic,
because they weren't necessarily driving slow like us.
We found several sites of ruins along the scenic route:
This one is Kato Mono Preveli Ruins
We drove through villages, passed many tavernas, and several herds of sheep
We  arrived to the old bridge that Florian had told us about,
so we knew we were getting close to Palm Beach.
Following the road towards the beach, we then found a pathway leading to it.
Some of the pathway was steps
and some of it was dirt trail and rocks...
and yes, we hiked all the way over this mountain!
We had to hike up the mountain and then back down to the beach... it was a pretty big hike; but well worth it!  
We've made it over the top here and actually headed down to the beach area.
This beach had huge rocks which created little coves of privacy.
This one rock was interesting standing all by itself.
Because there was no easy access, it was less crowded.  Some people came in by boat and others hiked in and out.  We enjoyed our afternoon here.

Heading back to the resort, Florian told us we could continue up the coast and then we could cut back through to Damnoni where our resort was.

"Cut Back" are
 the key words here...   Oh my gosh, I thought the last roads were cattle trails... these were barely trails, but yet the GPS knew them!  One time it said to turn left, and I told DT "no way!"  We continued on the trail we were on making our way into a little village where we asked for directions.  Keeping in mind that most of the people in these little villages don't speak English.

Somehow we communicated and this lady motioned for us to follow her when we said the word "Damnoni".   We followed her through the village and then she pointed out into what looked like nowhere!  The road was barely there, I'm sure no one had driven on it in years!  It was unreal!!!  But again, our GPS was following right along pointing forward as we drove.

We did navigate along at what seemed like two miles an hour and many times driving along the mountain's edge with sheer cliffs; but, somehow we made it back to a blacktop road where we found a man moving his herd of sheep...
...even they didn't use the path we just drove on!!!
It was interesting to see the cars, bikes, and 4-wheelers all behind the sheep
We managed to find our way back to the resort and today was eventful to say the least!

July 8, 2012...
... was our last day on the beach at Hapimag...
July 9, 2012
We closed the door at Hapimag Damnoni Resort
We will fly from the island of Crete back to Athens, Greece on July 9, 2012 to catch a flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

We booked our flight so that we would have almost all day in Athens before flying to Istanbul.  That gave us an opportunity to book a tour with Private Greece Tours.  Nikos Lucas is the owner and he scheduled for his driver to pick us up at the Athen's airport at 10:30 a.m., take us on private tour, and then take us back to the airport by 5:30 p.m....hmmm, guess we'll see if we make this flight!

There was so much we did not get to see in Athens, this will give us the opportunity to do that!

Continued:  The Parthenon in Athens, Greece

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