Lera Cave on the Vardies Mountain
On our first night in Stavros, while relaxing on the terrace of our house, we noticed a little light halfway up the slope of the imposing Vardies Mountain. The next day, we’d learn that this is the location of a cave church, and that there’s a short, steep path which leads to it. We decided to check it out that very same day.
The path to the cave is easy to spot, and more or less a straight shot, from sea level directly up to the cave. It looks daunting, but when we saw a young woman trail-running along the path, we reasoned that it couldn’t be so hard. After all, if she was jogging up the hill, we could certainly walk. Well, it turns out that woman must have been a cyborg, because this trail was exhausting. It took us at least 30 minutes, and by the time we finally arrived at the cave, the sun was nearly setting.
The view from the cave is beautiful, of course, but that’s not the first thing you’re going to notice. No, the first thing is all the goat poop. Because the cave offers the only shelter on the mountain, it’s where goats gather during cold, rainy nights… and rain apparently makes goats poop. It would be literally impossible to walk into this cave without stepping in excrement, but luckily, it’s all pretty solid and turf-like. The kind of poop that’s fun to step in.
Eventually, we managed to turn our attention toward the view. Little Stavros lay beneath us, framed by the outline of the cave, with the sun setting over the sea. The view stretches far down the coast, toward Chania, and is absolutely gorgeous. Which is good, since it’s the only reason to come up here. This isn’t a cave fit for exploration; you can’t get too far, and the darker corners are guarded by millions of tiny flies.
If you’re not done exploring, you can also follow a short path along the bottom of the mountain, to the coast and around the other side of the cliffs. This is nice, too, though less spectacular.
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