101 Things To Do*

* before I die


Visit a Nude Beach

I had read about some beaches on Crete between Plakias and Preveli that were popular with "naturalists", but we found this one near Matala by accident.  The main attraction at Matala are the caves in the cliffs at the edge of the main beach.  They were "discovered" by hippies in the 60s and used as their hangout for many years - (allegedly Joni Mitchell was among them) - before being taken over by developers and turned into the very touristy place that it is today.

We found a nice spot on the main beach with lounge chairs and an umbrella.  But just as we were getting settled, a man came up to us and said, "That will be 2000 drachma."  We said, "No thank you." and moved to a place on the rocks just below the caves (which are fenced off so they can charge you to explore them), but it was rather windy and a bit chilly, so we decided to go back to our hotel room.

As we were walking back to our hotel, we noticed that the short street that it's on turned into a dirt road, then a foot path and headed up into the hills not far from town.  We asked the hotel manager where the path lead and he said it goes across the hill to another beach - "Very nice," he said.

So, we borrowed some beach mats and set off for the other beach.  After the twenty minutes he said it would take to get there, we were only halfway up one side of the hill - which was quite steep and very difficult to climb.  We finally made it down the other side and onto the beach.

I was expecting it to be a nude beach but hadn't said so to Kumiko.  When we got there, she was quite surprised.  Being somewhat more reserved than I am, she declined to do the full-Monty, but I was keen to get an all-over tan - so here I am, with Kumiko's hat strategically placed...

Later in the afternoon, two girls walked by on their way to the north end of the beach.  After a while, Kumiko asked me what I thought they were doing down there.  They were about 150 meters away, so I couldn't really make out what was going on - but they seemed to be rubbing some dark substance all over their bodies.

We decided to walk down and see what was going on - and, of course, I took my camera.  As we got closer, we could see that they were applying full-body mud packs.  There were several buckets of the stuff made up by (I assume) the person that rents the umbrellas we saw further up the beach.  There were two different kinds to choose from - one a medium gray; the other a darker brown.

The girls were just finishing the job of covering themselves and we chatted about the mud packs for a few minutes.  Then I asked if I could take their photo - to which they agreed.  I think they look like they came from another planet - when, in fact, they're only from Switzerland. ;-)

Anyway, we've now been to a nude beach - definitely a first for Kumiko - but only a first for me because it was a beach.  I've been to the original Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis near Austin many times.  And hopefully, this won't be the last nude beach during my trip...