This is a story from our first visit to Vritomartis many years ago. We had flown from the United States, changed planes in Athens for our flight to Chania, and then driven the little French rental car that we named “Gigi” over the mountains to Vritomartis. After unpacking and having dinner, we skipped the orientation talk and went straight to bed.
The next morning, we decided to go to the beach, but having skipped the orientation talk we were unsure how to get there. We missed the road to Filaki Beach and instead found ourselves driving down an unpaved road toward a secluded cove. We knew this must be the wrong place, but it looked pretty, so we parked Gigi and got out our towels and snorkeling gear.
The water was rough, and the beach was rocky, but the snorkeling was great. One of my favorite snorkeling activities is to smash an urchin with a rock and watch the small fish swarm to feed on the remains. This has the added benefit of possibly saving some future beachgoer from getting spines in the feet.
Just as we decided to leave, a large herd of sheep came down the road. They were blocking the road, and there was no human accompanying them.
We had no experience with sheep. We were leery of getting close to them, but they allowed us to get to Gigi without attacking. We sat inside the car wondering what to do. We weren’t sure if little Gigi would intimidate them. We started driving slowly toward them. That worked! They stampeded back up the road from the direction they had come.
We arrived back at our room with just enough time to wash up before dinner. The food was marvelous, especially the melitzani. The outdoor dining area was surrounded by flowers, and a bee briefly buzzed around my wife. Our waiter commented that the bee liked my wife because she was sweet. I joked that evidently the bee must not know her, but the truth is that my wife is wonderful traveling companion, and I couldn’t imagine doing such a trip without her.
We spent the days that followed taking Gigi on short excursions around the nearby area. This included multiple inspections of all the tourist shops in Chora Sfakion. We typically returned to the resort late in the afternoon and spent some time relaxing by the pool before getting ready for dinner. It wasn’t until our last day that we actually visited Filaki Beach.
Greg from Virginia, USA
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