Home > Uncategorized > From Iraklion to Agia Pelagia

From Iraklion to Agia Pelagia

“Do you see anywhere to turn around?”

“I didn’t even think this was a two-way rouad.”

“This can’t be the main road to Fodele. This is just dirt.”

“I think this counts as a highway in Crete.”

“Does anyone have Jen’s cell? She could just give us directions.”

“That would require us knowing where the hell we are.”

“Not to alarm anyone, but we seem to be out of gas.”

“There’s a sign ahead, maybe-”

“That’s a monastery”


“I think we just passed El Grecco’s house.”

“Oh good. Maybe he has gas.”

I’m leading a two-car convoy through the Psiloritis mountain range in a Hyundai Auto that the nice man at the rental agency gave me without looking too carefully at my passport and license. He also neglected to tell me the car had only an eighth of a tank left, something I fail to realize until we’ve managed to detour off the E75 highway. We are now deep inland from where we want to be, in what appears to be a completely deserted part of the island, except for perhaps somemonks and the ghost of El Grecco. We are, of course, completely lost, and trying to navigate on a few hours of fitful sleep we caught on the ferry.

The Cretans have invented an incredible system for improving their driving skills. They’ve carved a series of narrow roads that comically expect to acommodate two-way traffic, along a series of ledges overlooking a vertical drop into the ocean. They’ve piled a series of small stones along the edge as a sort of notional barrier. Ominously, the barrier is destroyed in several places, followed by a collapse of rock, a gentle reminder of what happened to the last person who took that curve too fast.

This design may seem foolhardy, sadistic, and terrifying, but it is, in fact, a brutal kind of genious. Since the road system is only a few decades old, the death rate from auto accidents in Crete is still freakishly high. However, the Cretans surely realize that after millions of years of evolution, this intense selective pressure is sure to decimate their population to the point where only the supernaturally adept drivers survive long enough to propogate. In 1,000,000 AD, Crete will be known for birthing the greatest drivers on the planet.

You just have to admire that kind of long-term planning.

The dirt road does eventually lead us to Fodele, where a nice man tells us where to find gas in Greek, along with our destination and, miraculously, we somehow undertand him. We drive a minutes out of our way to find a Shell station, coasting in on fumes as we do. When we return to our original route, we imediately notice several dozen gas stations.

  1. June 25, 2009 at 11:50 am

    LOL, you describe it so well and your voice is very entertaining 🙂 Now that we’ve all parted ways I’m looking forward to keeping up with your travels.

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