Paleochora in My View – Christmas Competition 2016

Photo 1

It’s often said, and with good reason, that all visitors who come and discover what a special place Paleochora is, will inevitably return.  Some, and there are many, have been coming annually for decades.  A fortunate few have bought land and built a home in hills overlooking the town ; Lynne and I did just that, living happily for twelve years in her “paradise” until she left us in 2011, so badly missed.

Everyone has their favourite view of Paleochora ; for some, travelling over from Chania by car, taxi or ‘bus, it’s the avenue of eucalyptus trees as they enter the village, and think “I’m back.”

Photo 2

Others arrive by ferry, maybe from Loutro or Sougia, and watch excitedly from the deck as the “Samaria” approaches the Skala.

Photo 3

Photo 4

Everyone should climb to the Venetian “kastelo” for perhaps the best view over the town.

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Many visitors come in spring and autumn to walk, maybe along the E4 path between Elafonisi and Sougia, or enjoy the numerous other local walks described in the “Explore” series, or in my two guides “Ten Walks” & “More Walks” from Paleohora.

Photo 6

Everyone has their favourite cafe for breakfast, morning coffee or lunch by the sea ….

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…. and a special taverna or restaurant for a leisurely, and maybe romantic dinner under the stars.

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Many are content to relax and do little except enjoy sea views to our “crocodile” at Cape Flomes,

Photo 9

Especially in winter, with a backdrop of the snow-covered White Mountains.

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Not everyone will be up early enough to witness the sunrise from Chalikia or “stony” beach ….

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….  but the magnificent sunsets from Pachia Ammos, our “sandy beach” are memorable.

Photo 12

For this year’s competition, all you have to do is choose which of the twelve photographs is “Paleochora in My View”, and then  – using no more than 140 characters  –  say why.

All entries will be judged, and a winner chosen, by Markella Perrakis, our town councillor with a special interest in tourism.   And of course the usual prize, of a Ten-Euro gift voucher to exchange at “To Delfini” bookshop.

Happy Christmas  – “Kala Xristougienna” – and much more to “Explore” in 2017

The competition has closed

 

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Milia For Lunch

Many visitors to Paleochora will have been to, or maybe even stayed overnight, at the ecological village of Milia, but fewer will have reached there on foot, ideally the correct way. Katsomatados, at the southern end of the Topolia Gorge (see ‘Explore’ July 2012) is a 32km drive from Paleochora ; the walk from there to Milia, an hour or so depending on fitness, with a steep initial climb of 250m, will guarantee an appetite for lunch.

Park at the Oasis taverna (formerly Panorama), and walk back, past a spring, to a gate with a sign to “Milia”.

Katsomatados Spring

Katsomatados Spring

After just 50m on the track, go left, below an olive tree, then follow yellow waymarking on a narrow path up the hillside, eventually (through a smaller gate) to join a wider track, and turn right. Continue steeply upwards, pausing to enjoy views into the Topolia Gorge, across to Leventies summit, 623m, and close all wired stock gates behind you.

Topolia gorge

Topolia gorge

When you reach a surfaced road, walk right to, then left through a gate (you will later return here by the road.) Now the track winds downhill, with distant views of the Gramvousa peninsula on the west of Kissamos bay. After a sharp bend, note a path to the right (signed to ‘Kastelos’) which you might (or might not) decide to take later.

Kastelos sign

Kastelos sign

On reaching the chestnut trees at Kato (Lower) Milia, keep ahead, left of an empty house. Now following red waymarking, a path winds up below the trees, through a gate, and on to a second gate. Go up left here, to join the wide road into Milia.

Milia taverna

Milia taverna

Milia was inhabited from medieval times, but abandoned in 1948 ; restoration and renovation, using local materials and workers, began in 1982, and the new Milia “village” opened in 1993. It’s open all year round, with simple cottages to rent, and a restaurant open daily, serving organic food grown or raised here, with a wide reputation for its Greek and Cretan cuisine. Sit on the terrace in summer with a salad, kalitsounia (cheese & spinach pies) with fresh vegetables, or by the log fire in winter with bean soup and chestnut ‘stifado’. (Note, there are many alternatives to my vegetarian favourites!)

Local Chestnuts

Local Chestnuts

After the inevitable ‘raki’, return by the path to Kato Milia, and to the “Kastelos” sign ; now decision time, either to return by the same route to Katsomatados, or – to walk off lunch – a longer, maybe two hours, alternative. Let’s go this way and lose some calories. Take the narrow path, leading to a fine ‘kalderimi’, a paved mule trail which climbs gently (with now white waymarking) to a small plateau.

Way to Troulu

Way to Troulu

Above left are the rocky slopes of Troulu, which means “dome”, its summit at 550m. There’s a waymarked route up (red paint dots), but be warned, it’s not easy, especially near the top, where a “head for heights” is required, and some rock-climbing experience. But the view is superb, out over Kissamos Bay, and if clear, to the island of Antikythira, 55km to the NW.

Kastelos summit

Kastelos summit

Continue north, the path later giving way to a track, which in turn leads to a surfaced road. En route, look back to the now clearly ‘domed’ peak of Troulu, especially with pride if you’ve climbed it.

Kastelos from Milia

Kastelos from Milia

Turn right along the road, uninteresting but with distant views to the White Mountains which will take you back to the gate to Milia, and then the route returning down to Katsomatados.

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