Having planned a weekend road trip in the mountains for some time, we were disappointed to wake up and learn that heavy rain was expected for the day. Our rental car was already booked, and we couldn’t cancel our plans, if we didn’t want to lose the deposit. So we decided to embrace the misery. As it turned out, the weather created an interesting mood for the trip, and we ended up at a rustic mountain restaurant, where the substantial comfort food somehow wouldn’t have tasted nearly as delicious on a sunny day.
After picking up our car, we headed toward the mountain range immediately to the south of Chania. Already, it was pouring. But we arrived at the Therisos Gorge just as the rain was turning into a drizzle. Crete is scarred with deep gorges, but the one at Therisos is one of the few you can traverse by car. We were welcomed by a flock of panicked sheep, and stopped the car to appreciate the gorgeous scene: the sheep, a bubbling stream, heavy foliage and sheer rock walls. Back in the car, we continued up into the mountains. A word of warning: it is beautiful, but please pay attention to the road. Especially if you’re the driver. I found this very hard to do, and was continuously brought back to reality by Mike’s shrieks of terror, as I nearly ran us off the road, again.
Upon reaching the village of Therisos, the rain had picked back up, and although we were tempted to pass straight through, it was time for Greek coffee and a pastry. We hoped that the showers would abate by the time we were finished with our snack, but nothing doing. Rather than climb back in the car, though, we got out the umbrellas and managed to do a little sightseeing, spotting some beautiful stone farm houses and the town church.
Freezing, wet, and more than a little miserable, we got on the road toward Drakona. But before arriving, we had one more stop to make: a mountain restaurant which we’d heard great things about. The road seemed to ascend ceaselessly, but eventually we made it to Ntounias, an establishment which proved to be the highlight of our excursion. This is a family-run restaurant, where everything is cooked from ingredients grown or raised on site. It’s slow-cooking at its finest, and we absolutely loved this place.
The first thing you’ll notice upon arriving are the three clay pots at the entrance, burning log fire beneath them, which are releasing the most enticing scent. When you enter the restaurant, and see the cozy interior with wood ovens, you know you’re in for a great meal. And the experience doesn’t disappoint. This is the kind of place where you eat whatever they’re cooking that day, and although you might not get to choose what you’re eating, it hardly matters when everything tastes so good.
We really took our time here, as the restaurant’s intimate vibe seems to demand, and were in such great moods upon departing that any disappointment we’d felt about the weather was long gone. Despite a total absence of the sun, this had turned out to be an excellent day.
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