|After several years of desire by my family, we booked a two week holiday in the Magic Life Club Lyktos near Ierapetra on the Greek island of Crete.
First glimpse of Spathi Madharas
Ierapetra, the southernmost town of Europe (35th degree of latitude, more southern than Tunis!) is situated on the south coast in Cretes east, more than 100 km from Crete's main city of Heraklion. In the surroundings of Ierapetra, there are high mountains. The sea is crystal clear here and quite warm in August. The Magic Life club offers a comfortable ambience and lots of sporting possibilities.
On my first mountain bike tour from the club, I got to know two nice Bavarians, and we played with the cards on some occasions. When I told them about my plans of a long mountain walk in the Dikti - mountains, they spontaneously decided to join me, together with their wives. Two more Austrians made up our group to seven people, who entered the hired cars on 10th of August, 2007 at 5.15 a.m. for a drive to the little hamlet of Selakano, about 40 km afar, at an altitude of about 1.000 m and high above the village of Mirtos (on the south coast about 20 km west of Ierapetra).
After some difficulties in the beginning, we found the route, marked as "E4" and by paintings.
Selakano has saved Crete's largest forest of Mediterranean stone pines (most forests have been stubbed by the Venecians who occupied Crete some hundreds of years ago; the forest could not regenerate due to the climate).
Due to the early start, we walked very quickly in the beginning, going in the shadow of the forest and the mountains. Once high up, the air was not as hot as on the beach.
Only one of my companions went along with me to the summit, the rest turned back from a saddle in about 1.800 metres of altitude.
Only the descent turned hot when reached lower areas.
It was a good, 8 hours walk, in bright, cloudless weather (the usual weather over there), more than 1.100 m of ascent. An unforgettable remembrance.
You can see the full photo album on Helmut's website.