My second trip was during June, and having overcome my sense of awe during the journey, I had more time to look around me as once again we bumped and jolted our way upwards. Strange, how much I had missed the first time, the burnt out areas of pine trees, due to fires (not recent I might add) , the plants and flowers (not in abundance, due to the terrain, but there all the same) and this time, a lack of small chirping birds.
As we made our way onto the plain I noticed that the central lake had diminished in size, drained into the earth in the heat of the sun, and the whole plateau seemed to be covered in an abundance of tiny white flowers – no, not daisies – and of course, the inimitable screaming crows.
When we stopped, by the little church, and looked back, the number of sheep and goats were far more noticeable, and the hut behind us was filled with goats trying to escape the full blast of the sun. Steve wandered off to look for flowers and plants to photograph, and I just poodled around looking for anything and everything that took my interest.
Steve called out to me, that he had found something I might be interested in so off I went with eager anticipation, when he held out his hand and dropped something into mine – ugh – something moved – aah – I stepped back and dropped it!!!!! Steve promptly chased after it yelling that he had spend ages trying to catch it for me. And yes he caught it again, and guess what, it was only a tiny tree frog. Stupid me, but it could have been anything scrabbling in my hands. I finally took pics with Steve holding it, and we found a small rivulet to pop it in, and it hopped away, probably with relief that it had escaped the idiotic human who had screeched at it and dropped it
The Plateau is surround by groups of large rocks, and my attention was caught by movement on top of one group about 50 metres away. As we crept closer we realized that a Griffon Vulture was slowly moving around the rock, and being joined by another. A beautiful sight, and so close, when lo and behold a youngster joined the family picture. What a treat, when junior flew off above and over us, mum flew straight up to watch her offspring taking wing, and pop flew off in the opposite direction, no doubt to join his mates at the other end of the plain, for a break from family life.
This time when we left the plains, instead of returning the way we came, we carried on over the top to descend via a new pathway. Oh gracious, what a view!!! Directly downwards!!! The path twists and turns in hairpin bends never ending……. Off to the right across the valley a sheer drop of yellow mountainous rock, glimmering like gold in the sunlight, ahead, mountains stretching out , and, oh look, an eagle appearing from the mountain top soaring and wafting majestically across the skies. I have to be honest and admit that the sheer magnitude of that first view over the top brought tears to my eyes, there are no words to describe how I felt seeing nature in all its stunning glory.
Of course, there is no danger coming down such a drop off the mountain, with all its twists and turns, if you’re used to mountain travelling, I have traversed it many times now, and the downward path leads through a small village across the valley, and then upwards again on the main road leading to the Lassithi Plateau, glimpsing quick tiny views of the towering Dikti mountains along the way ………