11 May 2008, by Kristy
So I broke another toe… but we also discovered that paradise is only a two-hour bus ride, four-hour (nauseating) boat ride, and hour and a half walk in the heat. Which, if you think about it, isn’t too bad for paradise.
This past week, we spent four days on the island of Gavdos, which is a small (10 sq. miles) island off the south coast of the rather large Crete.
Before I get into it, I want to clarify the notion of paradise… if you are thinking thatched roofed bungalows and five star restaurants, forget it. This is paradise Greek style: total isolation, little to no modern luxuries, and almost near abandonment.
There is a boat from Crete to Gavdos twice a week, if it comes, and only about 50 people live on the island. But from the golden sandy beaches flanked by juniper spotted dunes you can see the outline of Crete from the north and Africa from the south. The clear water on the boat ride there is the purest blue and it gives way to something reminiscent of an iceberg as you approach the shore of Gavdos.
At the port, the ferry is greeted by a handful of the locals (a.k.a. half of the island’s population) collecting supplies or visitors. The flurry of activity and excitement at the arrival of the ferry solidifies how remote this island really is; it seems greeting the boat is really the only thing to do.
A walk around the island – which is possible to accomplish in a few hours — will introduce you to just about every resident in Gavdos. One of our friends in one excursion met the lighthouse keeper, the baker, and everyone else that came on the boat with us. They all greeted him with smiles and enough raki that he was found (by our other friends who were driving by with the guy who runs the Gavdos radio station) swaying down one of the roads of the island.
My clumsiness prevented us from taking any excursions, so we spent the days enjoying the beach and exploring the semi-permanent structures occupied by the modern nomads who live on the beach. We were happy on the beach, but feel like we missed a few things. So, as the toe-healing is well underway, we begin again plans to return to Gavdos and practice our own life as modern nomads.