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progol Mar 14th, 2011 04:12 PM

Safe to do walk Imbos Gorge while travelling between towns
In September, I would like to walk Imbros Gorge while travelling by car between Chania and Plakias. Is it safe to leave the car unattended with our luggage for the 2-3 hours we'll be hiking?

We could stay another night in Chania, but I'd like to have the more varied experience and move on to Plakias. We'll have been in Chania for 3 nights.


progol Mar 15th, 2011 02:18 AM

Jan, I thought you might be able to answer this question for me -- is it okay to park the car with our luggage in it while we walk Imbros Gorge? Or, if that isn't a good idea, is there a safe place to leave luggage in either the beginning or the end of the trip?
Thanks for the help!

travelerjan Mar 15th, 2011 05:44 AM

Well, Paule, I think you would be OK. We left our car in the Village of Imbros, and after walking the gorge, we hired a taxi that drove us BACK to the top, to our car. We had a "regular" car, with a trunk (boot), not a hatchback where your luggage is visible. Of course, all that would be in your luggage would be clothes, mainly: your camera, money & papers would be in your daypack. In my experience (and what I hear from Greek friends) is that petty crime is not a big phenom in the Greek population -- more of it occurs from fellow tourists, or illegals ... and inland Crete is not where these are. Now, about Imbros Gorge:

ROAD to GORGE -- u go south from Nat. Rd, thru Vrisses ... not far past it, keep eyes peeled for one of those Brown "Historic" signposts: "Minoan Settlement"... slam on brakes. It's on the left -- just surrounded by chicken-wire. Just a small cluster of ruins but hey! 3500-4000 yrs old. Also on that road, we saw tons of goats -- sitting in Thorn trees!! Really. We have pix! We parked in Imbros itself but left ourselves a walk. The actualy Gorge entry is about a Km farther, on S. edge of village;u can park right by entry kiosk.

WALK TIPS -- BEFORE you get to Gorge, both arm yourselves with TWO walking sticks... look around Chania, or in any wooded area you drive thru. VITAL. The Gorge is mainly rocks, some softball-size but many are football-size. The stress is on your knees, balancing. I had 1 stick, but Der German Walker-Hunds all had 2, and passed us like antelopes. I'd say 2 hrs would be speedy. We stopped & picnicked half-way, and took our time. It was Spring and very Green (unlike September), and the overwhelming scent of Thyme made me feel as if I were in an oven with a roast leg of lamb (hmm, getting hungry). Near the end of the walk is the narrowest part of the gorge, you go thru a natural arch, where you can almost touch both sides with your hands-- probably Magic Johnson could.

THE END GAME -- When you emerge, there's a little cafe (of course! this is Greece!) where u can have a lemonade & look downhill to the sea. You still have to walk about a km on a paved road that curves down to a taverna near the sea, where taxis park. A dowhill stroll, where we were bemused by sight of goats nonchalantly scaling a sheer ciff to left of road. THEN you get a taxi that goes back up to your car.

The RE-RUN -- Now, you say you want to continue your trip on the south Coast? Get ready!! Your THIRD experience with the Gorge, you drive back DOWN that road ... take it easy, about 30 switchbacks. My companion, an acey driver (she now lives in the Rockies) loooved it! (I closed my eyes). You may want to stop in Hora Sfakion for a bite to Eat before moving on.

GOING ON -- You'll be heading East along the coast; here's a "serendipity." A Komitades, a wide spot in the road, stop at the first Taverna on the Right as you leave the (30 house?) village; it's right after a little white church on the RH side. Ask "Pou (where) Ay Nikolas??" & point downhill ... Someone will point to s small path. It will go thru an olive grove. There will be GOATS. just as u get discouraged, there may be a wooden sign on a wire fence, with an arrow. Suddenly... a flower-covered ruin, about the size of a 1920s garage. A church from 1300, roofless. Inside... a mural of St. George, still barely visible after 700 years.

FRANGOKASTELLO -- Worth a half-hour stop... magnificent shell of a castle; from outside looks amazing.... it's a 14thC fortress built by Venetians (greeks called all Europeans "franks" in middle ages); also scene of Greek heroism & Turk brutality in 2 uprising in 1770s, 1820s... there's a legend about the "ghost army" of the 1820s martyrs, the "Drosoulites"; google it.

progol Mar 15th, 2011 01:08 PM

Thanks, Jan, great information and suggestions. I'm especially pleased that you wrote about the "serendipity" on my post -- I had noticed it in another post and was planning to do a search. Now, at least, I'll be able to find it easily.

From what you've written, I get the feeling that it's generally safe - and we've often left a car with luggage unattended in rural areas without problem, so hopefully, this will stay in the itinerary (definitely weather-contingent, though).

brotherleelove2004 Mar 15th, 2011 01:26 PM

I hate to be pessimistic and cynical but with all the problems in No. Africa and with so many people having left Libya for shelter on Crete it might be prudent to conceal your luggage or store it somewhere else while you're hiking.

progol Mar 15th, 2011 01:49 PM

So would your recommendation be to stay in Chania for night #4 and do a day trip -- which may make the most sense -- or is there a good place for us to leave our luggage safely?

We travel lightly, but will still have some luggage, and I'd hate to have to deal with replacing it while traveling!

travelerjan Mar 15th, 2011 03:50 PM

If there are African contract workers fleeing Libya (and that is what most of the refugees are) and ending up in Crete, brotherlee, do you really think they can find their way from Chania or Heraklion, down a secondary road, through a number of small villages. The only way to get there would be on a once-a-day bus, where the driver speaks only Greek, and then get to an obscure area marking the start of a Gorge Walk??? And walk up to a car parked by the Entry booth, and the Attendant would not notice?

Lee, I know you do not venture far from Santorini, but I think you should go inland 20 miles or so in Crete sometime, and see whether or not outsiders are noticed. Oh and by the way, these peple are not going this week... they are going in September. I already mentioned prudence, but let's not go all the way to fearmongering.

brotherleelove2004 Mar 15th, 2011 04:21 PM

Progol, just use your own good judgement. Common sense suggests that it's wise not to tempt a thief.

progol Mar 15th, 2011 04:21 PM

I think ultimately it depends upon our comfort level in leaving luggage unattended.

From Travelerjan's description, my sense is that this kind of crime or theft is not common, although I recognize that there is always a risk. My question really has to do with the level of risk in this area. I wouldn't leave a car with luggage in it for 3 hours in NYC (where I live), although the car may not be broken into there, either!

No matter where we are (rural or urban), I wouldn't leave a car with luggage seen through the window. I would definitely want it hidden in the car. I don't believe in temptation!

Thanks for the dialogue, Lee & Jan - it makes me realize that ultimately, I have to decide what kind of chance I want to take.

Any other opinions?

travelerjan Mar 16th, 2011 08:08 AM

Progol, I do remember a situation where 5 of us were traveling with a hatchback vehicle in which indeed the luggage could be seen. We were going to be parking for about 3 hours. Our clever driver simple solved the problem by backing the vehicle against a wall where it would be very difficult to open the back! So you might just consider that option! Just cruise around til you find the appropriate spot.

travelerjan Mar 16th, 2011 08:11 AM

PS -- Progol, I know where you are coming from. I lived in NYC for 35 years, downtown and then on the Upper West Side. So I am not naive about precautions.

progol Mar 17th, 2011 01:29 AM

Thanks, Jan, for the continued feedback. I'm definitely leaning toward leaving Chania and going to Plakias (just saw Stanbr's photos of the hotel that he stayed in and the view of the beach from his window, so I'm sold), but my husband has a little more trepidation. He forgets how many times we've left luggage in a car during our travels! I think it's the amount of time away from the car that makes him more nervous, though.

This will be open to negotiation for a few months, but I think he'll ultimately be okay with it. Fortunately, he's not an anxious driver, and those switchbacks don't faze him (I'm a different story, however).


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