Phalasarna:

We continued our drive as far as we could west to the beautiful beach of Phalasarna (above) that faces unobstructed open sea until Tunisia.  After a great swim playing in the small, warm and immensely clean waves we slowly made our way south all the way down the western coast until we arrived in the late afternoon at another spectacular beach, Elafonsi (below).

The roads in western Crete are two-laned, generally windy and often cut sheer profiles without guardrails.  There is little traffic and the major hazard tends to be complacency or the occasional tourist bus on a blind curve.  Passing is a skilled privilege, especially in a underpowered Hyundai.  The engine light came on this day.  We ignored it.

Elafonsi:

On our way to Elafonsi we traversed small village after small village that reminded me of those I saw during my childhood family travels in the 1970’s.  A typical scene are a few old men are chatting at the coffee bar, nursing their Greek coffee, while widowed women dressed in black are out doing chores.  The roads run right through the center of each town and often narrow to a single lane for short periods.  Between villages are fields of mostly olive orchards or vineyards.

Elafonsi is a national park and rightfully so.  Set on an unusual peninsula it possesses a signature pink sand that follows the edge of the water and contrasts beautifully with the blue water and darkly colored rocks.