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Road Works, From Askifou To Hora Sfakia !


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#1 Cliff Astles

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:58 PM

Having decided to take a drive from Gerani, to Hora Sfakia, via the newly refurbished road, I was pleased to find that the journey was better then I had expected (road condition etc). We had a nice stop, coffee, cake etc at the first cafe' in Askifou, and as usual, out with my camera to take some shots, of the village from this high vantage point.

We then continued southward to take a leisurely drive to Sfakia, around the plateau, very, very nice, and taking in all of the beuatiful views that are to be had on this journey, as always in Crete.

THEN, just around the next corner, WOW !!!, am I dreaming !!! what is that I can see just ahead ???

A big cloud of dust, hiding, what turned out to be something I had never considered would actually be going on in Crete, at such a busy holiday time. A long line of BIG lorries and road maintanance vehicles of every size and description were busy, "recreating", not just maintaining, the road ahead.

The actual road at this point, is not only quite narrow, but has natural steep and rocky sides (as you would expect), but also has (if you are bold enough and dare to look away from the road ahead) quite stunning, Cretan vista, with a drop, at some places, down to the bottom of the valley floor. ( Keep you eyes on your driving, and the road ahead) comes to mind, for me anyhow, at my age !!

What I had expected on the journey anyhow, was narrow roads, tight and steep bends etc, BUT as I enticed my wife to come with me for the day (she does NOT like heights, at ALL) she was by this time very very upset with me, almost in a state of panic. I am NOT coming this THIS WAY !!! is something I still have ringing in my ears !!

However, after what appeared to be forever, we finally got passed the roadworks, and had a very nice day in a wonderful place. I would like to go again, this year, May / June 2009.

PLEASE TELL ME THAT THESE ROADWORKS ARE NOW COMPLETE, OR IS THERE A BOAT TO TAKE TO GET TO SFAKIA !!!!!!

Looking forward to some quite quick replies.

Thanking you in anticipation

Cliff

#2 Ton

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:15 PM

Hi Cliff,
It sounds from what you have written above that your wife is more of an issue to you than the roadworks. Therefore may I suggest that this time kindly ask her to visit the shops in Rethymnon while you are having fun driving around Crete in roads with works or without . This way you can both have funB)

#3 harribobs

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 06:04 PM

you can drive to Paleochora and get the ferry to Sfakia, IIRC it leaves at 10.00am

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#4 Cliff Astles

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 12:00 AM

Hi,

Thank you Harribobs.

That is exectly what I was looking for. I will now look into your suggestion as a Ferry ride and another visit Sfakia is just what I was hoping to get suggested.

As for leaving my wife to do some shopping, while I enjoy the the beauty of Crete on my own, NO WAY !!!

I think I would rather go to Blackpool, and I would NEVER go to Blackpool for a holiday, with or without my wife.

But thanks for replying.

If the roads are still being repaired, I would like to know, HELP ???

Cliff

#5 john4d

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 05:24 PM

Cliff

Yes, I would say that it is now safe to take your wife on this road. There are now three small tunnels and the worst bit of the road has now been either bypassed or widened. The route is no longer as exiting or beautiful but you may have a quieter journey! These roadworks that went on for many months are now finished, but who knows if and when they decide to improve another piece. No sign of any activity 3 weeks ago when I drove down there.

Enjoy your holiday

John

#6 Julie

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 11:26 PM

Cliff, you cannot go direct by ferry from Paleochora to Sfakia. You have to change in Agia Roumeli, where, depending on the ferry schedule, you may have to wait some time, so the trip can take you the better part of a day. You would then have to stay overnight and return to Paleochora the next day. It's a marvellous coastal voyage and if you have the time I would definitely recommend it.

However, the road from Vrysses to Sfakia is now fine. There is only one short section that hasn't yet been redone, and it's unlikely they will start tearing it up in the middle of the tourist season. As John says, there are now three short tunnels that avoid the most hair-raising of the close-to-the-gorge bends, and I don't think there is anything to alarm your wife (of course I don't know her, but I do know the road, and it's now a super-highway compared to what it was just a few years ago!)

#7 DaveW.

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 02:14 AM

They have got rid of the nail biting bends? They have widened the road? Oh how I hate progress!!!!
If you look like your passport picture....you probably need the holiday!

#8 Julie

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 08:06 AM

Dave, I too enjoyed that road as it was, since I first drove it 20-some years ago. But we can't really hate changes that make frequent serious accidents less likely, can we?

#9 DaveW.

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 02:49 PM

I agree with you to a certain extent Julie, but it is not the roads that cause accidents. Whilst there are the occassional accidents where no-one is at fault, it is usually drivers and their stupid/careless actions that actually cause the accident. :rolleyes:
If you look like your passport picture....you probably need the holiday!

#10 Cliff Astles

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 06:16 PM

Hi, and thanks to Julie and John4d.

What you have said is just what I was hoping, and yes, I may now be able to take my wife with me. Although it was not so much the narrow roads that were the problem, as this is to be expected, and the views do make up for it.

However, it was meeting a very big bus, on the way back to the Northern Coast on a very very narrow, and steep part of the road, on a bend to the right, with the bus on the way down and "taking no prisoners" etc etc. That was the real problem !!

Even for myself, having driven some 750,00 miles (ish) in my time on roads on busines, where no matter where you are, roads are much the same where there are mountains.

But, it just so happened that at this spot the sand, dust and shale were much in evidence, and when the car would not move UP, as was the required (and urgently needed) I felt that a side push by the bus, just slightly !! would put me down with the other vehicles that we had passed on the way over.

Anyhow, will try this route this time around.

Additioanlly, I had considered the other suggested route, and had come to the conclusion that using car and ferries, would entail an over night stay, somewhere. TBA, as we have not finally decided, but I would like to give it a whirl anyhow.

#11 Nick D

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 07:47 AM

There is another way - down to Plakias and along the coast. I was in Sfakia in early April and the Imbros - Kommitades road is far safer now than before the tunnels were built, but the section where the tunnels are is just a small part of more extensive road improvements.

#12 tambo

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 09:45 PM

The road in question at Hore Sfakia is ok to travel on, ^_^ the work men are very helpful in letting go past the road works.If you continue that road you come to a bridge crossing the ravine.If you go on the correct day you can bunge jump from the bridge !!!!! :)

#13 Nick D

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 11:40 PM

Tambo,

I guess you mean at Aradhena. From what Cliff has written, I doubt his wife would be that happy with the road up to Anopoli from Hora Sfakion, let alone the Bailey Bridge!

Boiiing!

#14 Tim

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 10:06 AM

There was a wonderful story told about that bridge a good few years ago. As I recall someone with a fear of such bridges and drops was faced with either crossing the bridge on foot, or the exceedingly time consuming alternative of walking down the gorge, or the track to Loutro. (forgive if the details are not quite correct) He reluctantly opted to make a dash across the bridge, prepared himself mentally and set out across with eyes focused on something on the far side and blind to everything else. A little way over he heard a motor behind him that seemed not to be slowing to take account of he the pedestrian. Things speeded up and he ended up dashing across the remaining part of the bridge before diving into cover on the far side to avoid being mowed down. The car followed very close by but stopped on tera firma clear of the bridge.
The driver got out and apologised for his haste but explained that he too had a fear of such bridges and also had to just go for it. (Don't ask me why he didn't wait until the pedestrian had crossed, it ruins the story ;-)
I've no idea as to the truth of the story- but it does support Nick's comment about the nature of the bridge and the drop below!
As to the road down to HS, I filmed my descent, or rather my wife held a video pointing forwards, as we drove down on one occasion. I din't mind the drive but I have never succeeded in watching the video with feeling very sick!