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on the road from Chania to Elounda

Old May 13th, 2016, 02:29 PM
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on the road from Chania to Elounda

I gather it is about a four hour drive from Chania to Elounda...are there any side trips that make sense without making the day over long (we will visit Knossos on our way back to Heraklion). In the guide book it talks about the Lasithi plateau or the Amari valley. Would either of those make sense as an "on the way" stop - or would they add considerably to the drive? and any other ideas of a nice along the way stop. thanks.
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Old May 13th, 2016, 07:44 PM
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The 2 places you mention take a looong time-- Amari is a day's adventure, and so is Lasithi (the former more worthwhile IMHO). However I can suggest several short & rewarding "diversion" on the way. Here's an online map to orient you http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-ma.../Crete-eot.png -- (click and it gets huuuge) The BIG Highway is green & marked "E75" (but be aware that NO greek roads carry numerals. Sigh).

(1) COUGH DROP ROAD - After Souda, jump off Big GReen and do the RED Road (Old Road=60) that runs thru villages. One fun segment is the approach from South to Georgeopolis -- smells like a Giant Cough Drop!! That's because it's a "ceremonial" type road lined w. Huge Eucalyptus Trees. This village, named for a Queen Vic grandson who was a Kng of Greece is mainly notable as a British "hive" (dart-board pubs, full Engl Bkfst).
(2) THE BACK WAY - Back on Red Road, u go thru small villages all the way to Rethymnon... my first time, we were stuck behind a herd of sheep for awhile. These villages were the heart of WW II resistance to Nazis... in one, (episkopi??) there's a tablet in town square with permanent tribute wreaths -- in this village Nazis massacred ALL the men.

(3) RETHYMNON FORTEZZA -- just an option. Don't get tangled up in Reth. Old Town (smaller than Chania, less interesting). Drive straight to FORtezza park right by it and visit its parapets just for SIZE. Skip museum, back on rd; 1 hr or less (actually I like the Heraklion Koules Fortress better - http://www.heraklion-crete.org/koules.html -even seen just outside.

(4) CAVE of MELiDONI -- Turn inland at Panormos, follow signs its about 15 KM. Gorgeous cave of stalactites etc, v. ancient, site of worship since the Stone Age. NOT steep or hard to enter... a gradual ramp, good lighting. But it IS eerie -- it was the site of an infamous Ottoman Turk massacre of 370 women & children in 1824 (they blocke it up & set fires to suffocate).
There's a large marble memorial, and also the original rough pile of stones with Greek "never forget". Poignant, unforgettable. less than 1 hr. After this, return to BIG GREEN for seascapes

(5) PEZA & VATHYPETROS - This is for Wine Buffs. You could combne this with visit to Knossos. On BIG GREEN, bypassing Heraklion (see map) take red road down PAST Knossos. bear West thru "restored" traditional village of Arhanes ... to VATHYPETROS a ruin discovered in 1949 with perhaps the oldest wine press ever discovered (1600 BC) ... or instead keep on the Rd Road to PEZA and visit a spectacular Cretan Vineyard & winery, MINOS - the first modern Cretan vineyard to successfully bottle & market wines - http://www.winesofcrete.gr/cretewine...inery_813.html
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Old May 14th, 2016, 07:12 PM
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you are amazing Jan - thanks so much
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Old May 16th, 2016, 07:30 AM
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one more important question - - what are bathroom facilities like on the road?
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Old May 16th, 2016, 08:01 AM
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Rethymno is definitely worth a visit and has along with Chania one of the most beautiful old towns of Crete.
I would not skip it !
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Old May 17th, 2016, 04:32 PM
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I'm not exactly sure what you mean, Laura ... Do you mean "rest stops" like those along America's soulless Interstates, with a MacDonald's and a gas station? No they don't have those ... but after all Chania to Heraklion is just 2.15hrs if driven straight ... and I didn't suggest that.
In any town village whatever along the highway or byway, ANY taverna, cafe etc will have a nice restroom for use, even if you just walk in and head straight for the facility. No eye-rolls.
And if your ? is about the state of plumbing or hygiene,
(1) the facility will be modern (not the "Turkish 2-foot of long ago, I've not encountered one of those in MANY years, and then only waaay rural. Of course, as in even big hotels -- the tissue goes into the bin not the loo. (remind me sometime to tell you why this need originated -- it involves smartypants project mgrs from OxBridge who weren't good at MAths).

(2) As a rule, I find facilties in Greece cleaner than those in similar lplaces in USA ... often both walls & floors ar tiled & the cleaner just hoses everything down daily.

Does this allay your worries, or is there something I have't covered?
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Old May 17th, 2016, 04:35 PM
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Clausar, I didn't mean to dismiss Rethymnon entirely, It was just based on the limited time, and the priorities, since she will have explored Chania quite well.... some of the things in Rehtymnon, like the nice long sandy beach, are not part of what she was looking for, for that day.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 05:39 PM
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Thanks Jan, I've dealt with many the smelly/primitive bathroom stop in various locals so not too worried about that - more just where to find them as I have an "older" bladder and I know I will need to stop several times along the road. In the US we always look for fast food places if not on a major highway with reststops... sounds like it is acceptable to go into taverna's along the way....In Portugal the gas stations offered rest rooms for public use. all information is most helpful
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Old May 18th, 2016, 01:44 AM
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one more important question - - what are bathroom facilities like on the road?

Do what the locals do and pull over and have at it.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 06:26 AM
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when nature calls....

ok, one more questions - are street signs printed with english letters as well as Greek alphabet? just wondering how lost we ware going to get lol
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Old May 18th, 2016, 07:30 AM
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"Street signs" --- no, but take along a greek alphabet printed off internet. And the word "Odos" Odoes" means street. So you can figure it out... the street labels ar pasted upon the buildings on the corner of the 2 streets.

When driving, the highway signage gives First the Greek sign then -- a few hundred yards onward, the sign in English. One thing to be aware of, the signs do not cater to lazy/unobservant drivers the way that US highway signage does. You know, we get a sign saying Exit 28, 2 mi, then Exit 28 1 mile, then Exit 28 1/4 mile, then Exit 28 NEXT. In Greece they don't have Exit numbers, just the name of the place... like driving East along that big North highway, and you want to get off at Panormos, there will be ONE sign, "PANORMOS" in Greek, then the same in English and WHOOPS!!! there it Is !!! 100 yards ahead of you. So be in the Qui Vive!

Also, if you use GPS, ALSO have the Navigator sitting with the paper map and cross checking. "Siri" doesn't cope well with Greece. For example you want to go to a village named Episkopi ( = church). There is one in almost every "prefecture", or even subprefecture, in Crete. GPS cannot cope. So always cross-check with a "real" map.

BTW, recent interesting article reports a study that Americans (and others) are losing their "wider geographic comprehension skills" due to these electronic aids for the lazy. Starting with Triple-A, these "strip-map" itineraries narrow our focus to the immediate path (drive 10.2 miles, turn left for .2 miles) instead of us looking at the broader picture. My grandson just came back from study in London; he told me he stopped using his I-phone mapping feature and began using the City Map I gave him, because he wanted the broader picture, to see the various possible paths to his destination, not just the narrow "slit" shown by Mapquest & the like.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 08:58 AM
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In most cities, especially in touristic areas, street signs are in Greek and Latin alphabet.
You can use street view for Chania and look around, to get an idea
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Old May 18th, 2016, 04:29 PM
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I couldn't agree with you more Jan about the use of electronic navigation. I like to have a map that gives me the broader sense of where I am, and I usually use mapquest at home because it allows me to adjust the route based on my preferences. I'm concerned though because the only maps of Greece I've been able to get ahold of show the larger roads - but very few of the minor arteries. I'm hoping on the ground we'll be able to get more detailed maps.

I've been studying Greek for the last five months so should be able to read the street signs (Hubby is hopeless however with languages), but if they are flying by on the highway afraid I won't decipher in time.

Clauser, thanks for the reassurance, I'm remembering you recommended a restaurant in Heraklion - could you remind me of the name?
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Old May 18th, 2016, 07:02 PM
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MAPS --laura, in the airport at the ?newsstand/bookstore? I have been able to buy a Crete map by "Road Edition" and also a Pelopponnese one ... they show all the roads you're likely to use, plus some that you'd never dream of trying
-- My fave for Crete of course is online (click & it gets huuuuge): http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-ma.../Crete-eot.png -- not totally updated, but shows terrain terrifically, making it SO clear why you can or cannot go directly between 2 places (whoops! a Mountain!).

There was a simlar online beauty for Peloponnese but, after i'd recommended it for YEARS, 2 months ago it simply disappeared. Just like a faithless lover ... no explanation, no closure (sob!).

Just today I sent off my next-door neighbor who with her brother & 4 others is doing a skippered sailboat cruise of 5 Cyclades islands ... since I'm not going this year, I "got my Greece on" by hyper-planning her trip, including telling her which isles to cross off her priority list (no I am not saying why here) ... so hard to choose! She promised to bring me back some Spoon Sweets.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 06:13 AM
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Thanks Jan, you have been the best guide...we leave in a little over a week, so excited. I promise to keep you posted as we go!
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Old May 19th, 2016, 02:30 PM
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Kalo Taxidi ( = bon voyage) !!!
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Old May 20th, 2016, 02:55 PM
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oh gee - I thought maybe it meant "yo, taxi!" lol
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