Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Walk Through Kollita Gorge in Crete...

July 5, 2012 - Thursday
Greece/Turkey Trip

Okay, I am really running behind on blogging... but we are enjoying our vacation!

After being lazy for two days… other than walking the 71/81 steps up/down at least three/four times a day to/from our room – we decided to take a hike with a small group that was organized by the resort.

Kollita gorge is our destination for today (Thursday).  It is not just one gorge; but, rather a complex of 2 gorges (“Kollita” meaning two gorges).  The western gorge is known as the Kato Poros Gorge, the eastern one as the Moundros Gorge.

Our tour started at 9:00 am with a shuttle ride to the little village of Vilandredo where we begin our hike through a dry riverbed of the Kato Poros Gorge and then it continued through Moundros Gorge with gorge ending with a narrow passage called “the stone gate”.
As you can see,
our trail is anything but an even or paved pathway. 
We came across the tree above that had been struck by lighting, but it was still living.  I am standing in the middle of the tree trunk.  We love nature and all that is has to offer.
We saw several of these trees that grew in sort of
a circle with several limb extensions shooting up
from the same root base.
This knot with a hole was interesting on the side of this tree.
More of the rocky pathway... we were so happy
to have our tennis shoes and not be doing this in
flip-flops!!  Yeah again for finally getting our luggage!
This tree is hanging on for dear life
with the roots mingled in and out of the rocks edge!
This is called the "Stone Gate"
You can see the tree across the very top… our Guide offered for us to cross there and then jump to the edge!  He explained that many goats attempt that crossing and some make it and some don’t.

Leaving the actual gorge, we then walked a path towards the village and saw many herbs – Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Thyme, Fennel, etc. all growing wild and in abundance.  There were also olive trees growing everywhere and the olives here are yummy; next olive harvest will be October!  We also saw blackberries and other berry bushes, along with plums, pears, and fig trees all growing wild.  The figs are harvested in August.

We came across many other plants that I have no idea what they were, but we loved our time seeing and exploring everything along the trail.

This one particular little berry-looking plant was everywhere.  Florian, our guide, would tell us about things as we traversed along… but he mostly spoke German, like everyone else did in our group.  He did translate most everything to English, but not everything. 
He had explained about this particular plant... then we were on our way!
Of  course I took pictures and Dennis no more than got a berry picked off of one of them… when Birgit told him that Florian had just explained this particular plant was toxic!  That would have been a nice thing for him to translate to English for us.  While I only took pictures, leave it up to Dennis to mess with the berries!
We saw it growing mostly only in it's green stage as we went along,
but we did see a few that were ripened to red.
We had a nice time visiting with several people in the group as we hiked along the way.  We spoke quite a bit with one couple, Bernd and Ulrika, who were from Germany.  They spoke English very well; in fact, most everyone in the whole group could speak English.
Dennis and Bernd are discussing something...
I also had the opportunity later one eve to visit more with Birgit.  She and her son also hiked with us.  It was interesting to find out she only lives 25km from Bernd/Ulrika; and they did not know each other before the hike.  So I can see a trip to Germany coming some day and we can all surely meet up for dinner somewhere!

After the hike we stopped at this little tavern restaurant in the village
We obviously cannot pronounce the names of anywhere or anything...
but, we loved the restaurant!
Ulrika is on my left in the coral tank top and Florian, our guide is across from me. 
The restaurant owner came and inter-mingled at our table;
he had more than one shot of Raki with us!
He was a lot of fun.
We hiked for probably 3 hours and it was relatively easy.  Here are a few more pictures along the way.
Oleander grew everywhere!  I loved the fact
 that this particular plant is surviving in this rock
This stone overhang looks like it has a horse hanging from it
As we walked along the pathway towards the village, we saw these vultures flying overhead, I guess they were waiting for one of us to slip and fall in the gorge. I’m posting three pictures so you can see the distance they were from us… we love our new camera!   
These two were flying near the top of the mountain...
and this picture was zoomed in.
Then I zoomed more on my laptop before blogging
One of them landed on the top of the mountain and I could barely see him,
but thanks to our camera we got a pretty good shot of him!
We saw several natural springs of water
I saw this little Greek lady on our way to the restaurant
and she allowed me to take her picture.

This guy came by in his van and he was selling his
dry goods to the restaurant.
You can see the bags of beans, rice, etc.
Note the scales in the back of the van.
 As you can see, our vacations aren't necessarily just about tourist attractions.  We love to meet the people and see how they live and to see the country itself.

Continued... Waterfall Hike Through Kotsifou Gorge

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