The Janis Brothers Great Bike Adventures in Crete

Day 1 Athens - We explored the Acropolis, Parthenon - old (1908) Olympic stadium - Ancient history - Aristotle, Plato - 300 BC. Great Greek lunch at steps of Acropolis. We drank our first Mythos beer. Lenny had his Ouzo on ice (9 straight days!!)
Day 2 Athens to Crete - Breakfast on the top floor of our Golden City Hotel and a view of Athens. Afternoon flight to Hania, Crete. Port City with dinner on the Mediterranean - olives, spinach pie, Mousaka, Greek salads, Mythos, Ouzo, Baklava.
Day 3

Enough of the easy life. Our biking begins from Kalives, a small fishing village near Hania. We pedal up a very steep (8-10% grade) of 17 km. as we climb through western Crete from the Aegean coast to the Libyan side in the south. We climb the "White Mountains" of Krisses and through the mountainous valley of Askipou, we pass from village to village and arrive at our destination - Sfakion.

Day 4 Day 4 Long ride around the savage, curving southern coastline - high head winds - unbelievable views of the sea from every mountain. We pass ancient chapels and cycle through the Koutsifou gorge. This was a huge challenge as we battled 25-30 MPH head winds with steep grades for several miles. We reached the Monastery of Moni Preveli - very religious Greek Orthodox site. Jody had to wear a long skirt and Lenny needed to cover his "tight bikeshorts". Les' & Larry's baggy style again proved to be a good choice.
Day 5 Moni Prevelli to Sivas - High winds and a few sprinkles during the morning. We pedaled through many switchbacks and climbs and then descended into the picturesque town of Agio Galina - a wonderful lunch followed by a 10 mile climb out of the valley. Again the grade level was very steep throughout. Magnificent & unique rock formations. The middle ages looking "Lions & fountain" in Spili was fascinating. Dinner in Sivas from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm and sleeping by 10:30 pm!!
Day 6 Rode to Festos - Minoan Palace and discovery of the "Festos Disk". Ruins of a civilization that existed 3800 years ago. Then rode to Gortyn - the Roman capital of Crete. After a quick cheese sandwich picnic lunch, we all hiked through the ravine of Agio Farongo to the secluded beach near the chapel of Agios Nikoloas. This was a long 4 hour hike, but the views were truly spectacular.
Day 7 Today we crossed the mountains (Crete's Continental Divide) back from the south to the northern side of Crete. The weather was perfect. The morning was especially tough as we climbed through many small villages. We finally reached our Creta Maris hotel near the capital of Iraklio (250,000 people live here out of the island's total population of 500,000).
Day 8 We start at 8:00 am on a long, long switchback climb up to the Lasithy Plateau. This was truly a wonderful biking day. We were challenged for 6 hours of mountain climbs. Treated to a great lunch in a small village. We ended with an 18 mile descent all the way to the Mediterranean coast. We all had Mythos and celebrated this unique experience - a plethora of sights and smells.
Day 9 We toured Knossos - the capital of the Minoan culture almost 4000 years ago. Hevgad took us to the main archeological museum. After an hour of museum touring, we all decided it was too exhausting!! We stopped for another delightful outdoor lunch. We walked around the old section of town and toured the ancient castle that has been occupied by the Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans, Turks and Greeks. We said farewell to Jody & Barry and had one last Greek dinner on the Mediterranean.
Special Points of Interest and Highlights
Crete is only 150 miles from Africa (Libya) and 375 miles from Israel
Our guide, Hevgad and his son Matan - Israeli's who spoke no Greek giving us a tour through Crete - knowledgeable, engaging, always attentive, caring - very good company.
Candy bars produced in Israel for our snacks
Cats everywhere - especially at outdoor restaurants
Villages - quaint, small villages - women in black - donkeys
Cretan food - the best of any trip. We had more Feta cheese than we've eaten in 20 years!!
Les always search for chocolate
Lenny - Ouzo on ice
Larry - BenGay neck patch at night
Sfarion Hotel - our 3 rooms were about 6 ft. square with a 3 ft. square bathroom & shower. We had fun
Hevgad - Life on a kibbutz
Jody & Barry - our two other riders. Really enjoyable people to be with and accepted and did EFI challenge. We all liked the smallness of our group. Both very good riders. We were all very compatible together.
Rikki - After dinner "shots" of Greek "white lightening" served after every dinner
Bikes - seats that moved, chains that dropped, handle bars too far away for Janis brothers' long legs!! Brakes, rubbing tires, loose tires, etc. etc. We overcame and rode EFI.
Les - or should we say "Lance" stood for most of the climbs in second gear. Never went to lowest.
Larry - rode in lowest gear and struggled, but inspired by Les & Len - made it!
Len - Led the way on the long stretches
Larry - Saved by Hevgad from truck backing into him at village crossing (another near death experience)
Sheep herder and 200 sheep under our breakfast terrace each morning at 8:00 am in Siuds.
Best Breakfast - Shivas - warm fresh bread, eggs, crepes - an outside view of the quiet countryside
The climb - Our last day of biking - beautiful switchbacks up and a magnificent descent.
Linguistic abilities in learning Greek "O".
Lasithy Plateau - Like Shangri-La in the movie "Lost Horizon"
Favorite Foods -
  o Les - Chocolate
  o Len - Greek Salads
  o Larry - Olives
Lunch - After "The Climb" - Greek Hamburgers that reminded us of Mom's special recipe.
Lenny - Provided us with Blue (Greek colors) shirts and hats - We all wore our matching shirts on the plane ride home)
Best shopper - Larry - no contest
Les & Len - really enjoyed their own jokes together!
Hevgad - 0-3 on jokes!
Mythos Beer - 20 oz. bottles
Tense moments of disagreement - None
Exposure to outside world - None

All of our 12 bike trips these past 14 years have been spectacular. This trip to Crete really was an adventure that challenged but also rewarded us. There is a certain euphoria in what we do together that impacts our senses and creates an "emotional high". The bond we share is truly unique - we will all ride again next year…