Crete Part VI: St. Antonio’s Gorge

After a morning at a livestock research institute learning about how sheep and goats can be used in orchard production, a small group of us went for lunch at Drymos Taverna, which was highly recommended by our lecturer, Nikos #3.* If Nikos #3 ever gives you advice about food, you listen to him–it was delicious. And not only was the food amazing, but the atmosphere was really great, too. We ate under a covered pavilion next to a river with ducks and a waterfall. Wow!

The ducks weren’t the only critters we saw there. While I went exploring in search of a water closet, I noticed a sign for a “zoological park”, so after we finished eating, we went to check it out.

It was funny to see a bunch of farm animals with “fancy” (*cough*laser printed*cough*) signs telling you what they were. “This is a Horse. Horses are used for riding and pulling carts. We don’t eat horses because this is Greece, not France.”** It was less funny to see dogs locked up in cages all by themselves. One of them was easy to reach, so I gave her a pat to let her know at least one person in the world loved her. The other one was in a cage where I couldn’t reach her, but she so desperately wanted attention. It absolutely broke my heart.

To distract ourselves from the fact that we couldn’t do anything to help the animals, we went for a hike through St. Antonio’s Gorge. There is a lovely little creek that runs through the gorge, and more waterfalls that we could count. There is also a shrine to St. Anthony, which was originally a shrine to Hermes until Christianity spread through Greece.

I’ve been having shoe/ankle/calf issues lately, and even though this was a pretty mild hike, I was in a lot of pain. But I am definitely glad I did it, because the views were absolutely spectacular! There is much to be said for forging ahead when you really want to quit and reaching the top to find a vista that steals the breath from your lungs. Nothing in the world compares.

Nothing, that is, except perhaps having an impromptu dance party to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” on the side of the road when you stop to get a picture of the amazing sunset.

That’s how you know you’ve made it in life.***

Read more about my Cretan adventures here.

* We had lectures and presentations by three different men named Nikos. It’s one of the most common names for Greek men, apparently, along with Manolos and Nikolaus.

**This was a real thing that a real Greek person really said to me. Really.

***Thanks for the great motto, Liza!

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