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30 Mar 2015

Τhe road to the lonely Karoumes

KAROUMES

Sitia may be popular about its customs, villages, cuisine and beaches but its gorges and mountains are an integral element. One of the most beautiful gorges is in Hohlakies. It isn’t as the name suggests a river with hot boiling water. We are talking about a beautiful quaint village, with few people and a small cafe somewhere in the middle of the village. This is where
our trip to the Hohlakies gorge begins.

The right time at the right place.
We set off from Sitia, quite early on Sunday morning to seize the day. Our outing would be long, as it is every Sunday. We took the seaside road and after twenty minutes the first village was in front of us. Palekastro. A few minutes after we drove
from Palekastro we parked in front of the village. This is where we started feeling like Indiana Jones and where the adventure begins.

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Here is a photo of a panoramic view so that you can admire the beauty of this place from one side to the other. Dry mountain, green mountain, sky and river!
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Hohlakies gorge is of relatively average difficulty. It includes hiking, ascending,descending, climbing and swimming (depending on the season). Just where the ascending tohe mountain begins (yes, we have just started and we’ve begun climbing already) the view ofthe stream down below lures you to look at it and photograph it in order to be able to look at it again a few more times at home. You’re going up a mountain which offers you tranquility,concentration and a few landings in wild bushes if you choose-like I did-trainers, Nike or Adidas
for example. So, beforehand I recommend climbing boots, firm and comfortable.

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There is no cellphone signal in this faraway landscape. For better connection, climb up the top of the mountain, there in the background and what you will achieve is to communicate with the birds. There are enough. I can’t promise you anything better than that. However, your chance to feel like a nature child is in front of you 1000%.

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”Let’s relax for a while under the rocks by the river”,I said. I could swear at that moment that I wanted to enjoy, more than just enough, the comings and goings of the river. It was so beautiful, like it had been painted by some artist.

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The path going through the gorge is the E4 European path which starts in Spain, crosses the Mediterranean, then Greece from the North to the South and finally Crete, ending in Kato Zakros, (said the compass!).

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While I’m walking along the river I try to listen to the sound of the water.. and then I imagine thousands of pictures. Couldn’t we have gone to a more romantic, more idyllic place? Somewhere with a swimming pool, deckchairs, sunscreen lotion so that I wouldn’t get tired? Why should I find myself in the mud, the water, the wild weeds and the bushes??
A present from mother nature to you…with love!
Because this is what nature is all about.This is the truth. On the mountain, at sea and by the river you will feel your heart pounding withjoy because you will have discovered one more place that only few can experience and appreciate. That is because everything around you is real. They were created by no human hand but it’s in your hands to see them and become part of them for a few moments. The feeling? Invaluable!
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The gorge is about 3 km long. It took us 3 hours to cross it and return.

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It is the joyrney that matters, not the destination. This is something you could say about adifferent place. Here both the journey and the destination are admirable! I don’t
know if you have swum in deep blue water. Here, at the destination, I found the most beautiful, secluded, unspoiled beach I have ever seen. Amazing scenery, crystal clear water, small pebbles. This is KAROUMES. So secluded and beautiful. I felt overwhelmed by the beauty, so I promised to return in the summer with my friends to enjoy swimming.
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Hmmm. To feel even better, the bravest in our group took off their jackets, put on their swimsuits and dived into the freezing cold sea. Me, sitting outside, eating a snack, I admired
them and felt jealous at the same time. It is wonderful to be a tourist in your own town! Because it is your town, the town where you grew up! Because there is always something new
to experience!

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This is how the adventure that Sunday ended , resulting in a single tavern in Chochlakies with music , song , dance and laughter .

Tip of the day: It’s great to be a tourist in your own city ! Why is yours the city that grew up ! Why there is always something new to live !

I would like to express my gratitude to F.O.R.S.S (Nature-loving Climbing Club of Sitia) for organising this trip and to our new associate-photographer Stelios Paraskeuopoulos for his amazing photographic material!

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