On the first morning I awoke to a delicate buzzing sound. I left the door open, thinking that a bee was trapped in my room. Instead to my delight, it was a tiny humming bird, his body the size of my thumb. He buzzed around the room, letting out chirps, not landing, but hovering over items to investigate. Yes, I had arrived and in the early morning sunrise Falasania Beach was more beautiful than the pictures. This would be my home base for seven glorious days.
The second day threatened rain in Falasarna. Driving across the mountains, thera in was relentless. What should have taken 1½ hours took 2½ due to unfamiliar switchbacks and the punishing sheets of rain coming from all directions. Finally, the rain stopped and within 10 minutes Paleochora was in view. The harbor, was a panorama of beautiful jagged cliffs and calm Azure water. Strolling to the other side of the harbor, pass the jetty, is Paleochora Beach facing the Libyan Sea. The sand a beautiful mixture of grey tones, much coarser than Falasania, which locals refer to as “Pebbles” beach. The waves crest with more purpose and crash with a thunderous sound. Returning to Falasarna was easier at the end of the day. The narrow roads with hairpin turns did not seem as treacherous. I had a mission to go to Elafonissi, one of the reasons I chose Crete. I was looking for a gentle beach, sand like powdered sugar and waters as clear as glass. I fell in love with this beach with soft golden pink sands, the crystal-clear turquoise water and the gentle lull of the waves. My day was magical and Elafonissi did not disappoint expectations.
The fifth morning was overcast, windy with a slight mist in the air. I decided Balos Beach would be perfect. Balos is a tourist magnet and on a good day, thousand scan invade this lovely lagoon. Unless traveling by boat or ferry, the road to Balos Beach can be difficult to drive. I hopped the 9am bus from the local market in Falasarna and headed to the beach. According to my records it was not far and walking would be good exercise. The bus driver asked my destination and I said Balos. He said,” you gonna walk?”, and I reply “yes.” He thought I was crazy and in hindsight I was. It was only 7 miles, but that was to the parking lot. There was an additional 30-minute walk down the hillside. The path is navigable; no gentle descending slopes here but very manageable, though not designed for unsteady hikers. Once down to the lagoon I knew that I would never be as lucky to get a ride home as I was arriving to the parking lot. I asked about the ferry and was relieved to know I was not going to be without shelter that evening. At 1pm I rented a bed and umbrella. Balos was lovely. Only 1 ferry came in that day, so the beach seemed abandoned. The water was warm, the breeze had died down and the afternoon sun highlighted the cloudless blue sky. The slow rocking, the humming chatter of the sun drenched beach goers made the ferry ride back to Kissamos relaxing.
The taxi back to Falasarna from Kissamos was only 20€. I was home after a perfectly lovely adventure. My final days were in Falasarna. My hotel was minutes from the waterfront. Falasanrna can be very windy. It originally was a major harbor destroyed by Romans in 69BC. The west coast of Crete rose by 6-9meters in 365AD caused by an earthquake. The ancient city never recovered. The beach was never crowded; the sand was soft and the water warm. My travels to Crete were scheduled for the end of tourist season; however there were still many stragglers. The west of Crete is home to many remote beaches.
If I return to Crete, I will return to Falasarna where life is slow and quiet. You can see the stars at night while enjoying the relaxing sounds of the surf. The local honey is thick and luscious and food is prepared in the family kitchen by very kind people. That’s exactly what I was looking for, in a land this traveler has yet to fully explore.