Monday, 8 October 2012

The Floating Church of Georgioupoli

Many years ago back when the tectonic plates were still cooling and the world was still in black and white, my Uncle embarked on an expedition to Crete – you may have had to take a ship - along with his then new wife. They decided to stay in a little seaside village on the west coast of the island, which they instantly fell in love with. They had a wonderful break from the world of black and white as this village was apparently in colour!

When my Mother said that she was going to go to the west coast of the island for a night he insisted that we pull into the village to have a look as in his memory it was an idyllic Greek village off the beaten track and the perfect place to relax and enjoy yourself.  

Having spent the morning wandering around Chania accumulating Christmas and birthday presents from the highly interesting variety of little shops we were running a tiny bit short of time as we had a four hour drive and we wanted to get home at a sane hour of the day.  

Nevertheless given that we had to drive past the turning for the village we ventured in … the road was winding and in some places falling apart which made us wonder what on earth we were letting ourselves in for, perhaps my Uncle had been the last visitor before the whole village slipped into the sea … the entrance to the village, which we later discovered was the back entrance, was an avenue of enormous eucalyptus trees – the smell was amazing.

Eventually we found the village which I imagine had grown some and advanced somewhat since my uncle had visited. It was still a lovely sleepy seaside village, the huge difference between it now and then, I imagine, was the large hotels that lined the beach.

Georgioupoli is unique in the sense that it has a substantial river running past it that flows from a natural lake high up in the mountains, the village is tucked away between the mouth of the river and the coast line. The river is guarded by a huge flock of geese, which became extremely noisy and very angry when I tried to take a picture upstream!

 Slip way with an old docking system operated by a lot of blocks and an old winch hidden away in its own house. 

As we were getting into the car to leave, having had a little wander around the town and up the river, Mum turned around to discover a small church at the end of a rock bridge out at sea.

Normally churches are places that I admire from afar but this one was different, it is on a very small island about 200m from the coastline. To get to it you must walk down a rock bridge which is in fact a pile of rocks made from volcanic lava, making it extremely uneven as over the years mother nature has weathered them which makes getting to the church much more interesting.

I don’t know the name of the church all I know is that I have seen it in hundreds of photographs and have been trying to work out where it is since I moved to Crete. I was pleasantly surprised to accidentally stumble upon it. It is well worth the detour in the route just to have a look at the church.  

 The building on the land behind is another church 

Georgioupoli is about a 25 minute drive from Chania city centre it is easy to get to and if your staying in Chania a great day trip which might include taking a canoe up the river to find the fresh water turtles and perhaps a spot of lunch.

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