Today, we start early. It's going to be a long day. We are still looking for the Byzantine Churches and the famous frescoes. The itinerary is loosely organized, we will stop at Vrisses, then follow the national road to Sfakia, drive up the mountain with a stop to see Loutro, then to Anapoli, Aradena and Pavlos. We also agreed to stop at other interesting points. We are going to add "iconostasis" to the photo plan. Iconostasis are little structures with oil lamps and saints for prayers and meditation, they are also erected by accident survivors in thanks for sparing their lives, as well as memorials for those who died along the road. It is interesting to see how they vary by regions, although there is a constant: the metal ones shaped like a one room house.
Driving out of Hania and looking at Souda Bay is breathtaking. Our first stop Vrisses is a quaint town where a man in a truck with his loudspeaker is announcing an event for the evening, a sort of town crier. Their memorial to the resistance during WWII is impressive.
The national road follows the contour of the Impros Gorge and at times we had great views into the gorge. We saw an 11th century fort on the hill at Kares, an impressive Greek Orthodox Church also in Kares.
This national road is brand new, and one can see all the coastal villages from above, one spectacular spot was the view of Frangocastello. But then again the view of Skafia from the top of the hill was special. We got to see a Venetian house in the middle of Sfakia, with brand new construction going on around it. We stopped at Anapoli for a "frappe" at the cafe, the greek owners had returned from Brooklyn, NY and opened a hotel complete with cafe, restaurant and rooms with hot water. We spent 2 hours in Aradena, a Minoan Village. And at our last stop, Agio Pavlos, we were rewarded with a small Byzantine Church, complete with frescoes, a magnificent view of the plains below and the mountains across.
This was indeed a fantastic day.
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