A day of geocaching, starting with a few on the beach and then heading up into the Cretan mountains. The girls weren’t in any way interested, even though it was essentially a series of drive-by caches in spectacular scenery. No walking would be involved (or at least, no strenuous walking). And I would happily have taken someone riding shotgun and stopped for multiple ice-creams, but no takers.
My first target for the day was to drive across to Georgioupolis. There was a wherigo geocache there. That was the only type of cache available on Crete that I’d yet to find. So I figured it was worth the effort of going into the town. Anyway, it was in the same part of the island as the main loop I planned to drive around. The proverbial stars were aligned.
It was a straightforward hack west along the north-coast highway to get there. It’s about 20-30 km the other side of Rethymnon from where we were and it took me about an hour to get there.
Wherever I Go, so does she go!
The end point of the wherigo turned out to be a restaurant near where I’d parked. They weren’t open but the hint said that the cache itself would be on the bar at times when the restaurant was shut. The place seemed to have three bars. I have to admit I felt highly suspicious as I was searching around.
After a few minutes, a woman came out of the kitchen at the back and asked me what I was doing. When I said I was looking for the geocache she opened a cupboard behind the bar and got it for me. She asked me if I’d like a drink while I was playing with the cache. I wasn’t in the mood for the beer she offered me (I was driving anyway) so I had a coke whilst sitting outside on their front terrace on my own.
She pointed me at their toilets so I could turn my bike around. When I tried to pay for the coke she sort of waved me away and said it was fine. Probably too much grief to open up the cash register and then account for why I’d been served at a time when they were supposedly shut. So off I went. Whereigo cache completed. Full set available on Crete completed.
Running Up That Hill
Well, driving, but anyway…..
My next target was the “Myths and More” series up in the mountains. I’d solved them all some time previously but hadn’t correctly transcribed all of the hints from the puzzle checkers, and that caused me some grief with some of them. It was a series of about 30 caches around a loop of roads up in the mountains. I’d visited the locations on Google Street View and it looked OK. All of the caches had somewhere to pull the car off the road. No stopping in the middle of the road.
As it turned out, stopping in the middle of the road wouldn’t have been a problem at most of the locations anyway. Once I got above the last village on the road was deserted. I think at least one of the roads used to be the old main road for buses going to Hora Sfakion, but they’ve built a new one of those so the old road is now quiet.
The problem with deserted roads in Crete though is that the road surface can be dodgy. Such was the case here. Whilst the scenery was undoubtedly spectacular, the roads were verging on unpassable in places. Where climbing up the sides of the steep hills (much of the outbound leg) I had cliffs on both sides. The uphill sides were all shedding rocks onto the road surface, and the downhill sides all had big cracks in the tarmac where the road was slowly going over the edge. I guess the route isn’t maintained very regularly. It was a fun drive, to be honest, and I was glad that it was an empty road and that I was in a small car. I wouldn’t have liked to meet anything large coming the other way.
The final bonus for the series was back in Argyroupoli and required a bit of a walk. Technically I could have taken the car up. But it would have been the steepest and narrowest road of the day, so I decided to park on the main street and walk.
On the way there I passed a local bakery, so on the way back I stopped in there to grab some cold drinks and an ice cream. Greece seems really cheap when you’re not on the coast. The proprietor of the bakery was very keen on me trying some biscuity things (a bit like speculoos) that she’d made that morning. I took one and nibbled at it. She insisted I take another as I walked out. They were lovely, but because I was pretty thirsty at this point they were a bit like eating sawdust. I didn’t make it through the second one. The ice cream was nice though.
I had a few roadside items on the radar as I drove back down but at this point I was in “havering” mode. Ultimately I decided only to stop for caches accessible from the coastal highway. So I dropped downhill as fast as possible and started making my way east.
I found three by the roadside on the way home. All of them required me to park and take a short walk. I was happy with that though. I’d been in the car all day so a leg stretch was good.
Where’s Captain Kirk?
I got back to the hotel at about 5:30. The ladies of the house had gone down to the beach some time earlier. I decided not to join them. Instead I typed up all my caching logs and had a refreshing shower while waiting for them to get back.
I also waited until 6 pm so I could go and give the car keys back. He was pleased again that I’d had his car for three days and not broken it. I elected not to tell him where I’d driven it. But it was a marked road, so I was within the bounds of the insurance policy. It was a bit dusty on the outside though.
For the evening we had a quick dinner and then I retired to the terrace bar with the kids and we played cards for a while. All-in-all I’d had a great day out.