It all started off as a classic transport problem. Which road to take from A to B? Google Maps gave, as always, three suggestions for our car trip in the Southwest of Crete. The shortest of which took more time than the longest. That sounded like a nice tour to us. On our Greek map this road was marked a yellow road, which is usually a color that refers to interesting countryside roads with not much too traffic on it. So we took off.
A quiet tarmac road took us up in the mountains to the village of Sklavopoula. With the windows open we enjoyed the smell of the Mediterranean vegetation, drying in the warm autumn sun. We came up to a point where we were to turn left. But was there a left? The two small tarmac roads resembled entrances to private property. But we gave it a shot and took the one that was going up, from which a man on a moped came who did not give us a ‘where do you think you are going’-look.
After a few hundred meters, the road changed into a dirt road. And when I say dirt, I mean not only dirt but also rocks, potholes, and humps. All those things you want to be driving a 4×4 for, which we were not. At first it was not that bad. And we even came across a sign that showed us we were going the right way. Never mind that it was handwritten. Elafonisi is Elafonisi.
When we came further and further into what appeared as no-man’s-land, the road became increasingly worse. But soon we were reassured by a blue, shiny, seemingly out of place waymark, saying the road we came from goes to Sklavapoula. Our second reassurance arrived in the form of an oncoming and even smaller rental car. They stopped next to us, rolled down the window and pointed in the direction we came from, with a question-mark-look on their faces. “Sklavopoula”, I said. He pointed backwards and answered “Elafonisi!”. So we now both knew that it would not be foolish to continue on the road we were on.
Soon the Elafonisi peninsula came into view and we stopped the car. In the middle of a hairpin turn. Just for the sake of it. We sat on the edge of the hill, staring over the sea and were contemplating the different opinions of countries on what was a driveable road. We concluded that we were having a lot of fun, but that we were going to take the longer but faster tarmac road back to where we lived.
Meanwhile, in the door of our car, was a German map of the same area. On this one, our road was not yellow but white. That might have helped in having more realistic expectations. But it would also have killed the adventure we just experienced.