10 September 2015

Between the main road and the beach
there is a hidden part of rural Crete

Bougainvillea covering the balconies of a house on the way to the beach in Platanes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

It is fair to describe the old road out of Rethymnon that runs through Platanes as a tourist strip.

It is lined with bars, caf├ęs, restaurants, hotels, apartment blocks and tourist shop selling souvenirs.

But it is only a long strip of land, and I only have to stray a few metres to find reminders that this remains essentially a rural part of the countryside of Crete.

The short walk from Julia Apartments to the long golden sands of the beach takes me along a narrow road where the balconies of houses and small hotels are dripping with bougainvillea and hibiscus.

A small vineyard, by one of the side-roads between Platanes and the beach (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Along the way, there are still open patches of land where goats graze or seek shelter from the heat of the summer sun in the shade of an old olive tree, and in the side paths I find small vineyards, groves of citrus trees, gardens with apricot and pomegranate trees, tomatoes, peppers, gourds and melons.

Sea lilies growing on the beach in Platanes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Down on the beach, every effort is made to protect the trees and to encourage the small flowers that thrive in the sand, such as the Sea Lily (Pancratium Maritimumn) that grows around the Mediterranean coast. It is also known as the “Sea Daffodil,” “Lily of Saint Nicholas,” and “Narcissus of the Sea.”

A goat grazing on open green patch between the road and the beach (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

I have no need to go up into the mountain villages above Platanes to be reminded of the beauty of rural Crete. Here are some more photographs from this green area between the resort and the beach, without any further commentary:

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