::Stelios Jackson's walks
interkriti:the E4 and other Mythical Trails-by Stelios Jackson
A diary of events of the trials and tribulations
of a lone walker, in his attempt to cross Crete
from Kato Zakros to Kissamos...
"I had done this kinda thing before. The pleasure of planning, the virtually neurotic state a week or so before setting off, wanting... no needing to be in Greece... and then... it's over... and for a while you're left with an emptiness... an unfillable void..."
Unfortunately it is not much in the way of a guide for those of you who wish to follow the "E4" (Pan European Footpath Number Four), as I went from slavishly following it, to hoping to find it, to deliberately ignoring it during the five weeks I spent walking the island. Saying that, as soon as I had decided that the E4 wasn't as important as the enjoyment of the walk itself, I couldn't help but find it, the antithesis of those early days when I searched high and low for it. I hope that these pages will point to some of the pitfalls(!) involved, places where one can stay - and more importantly where one cannot - and the joys and frustrations that are an inevitable consequence. For those of you who may wish to do some walking in Crete, there are walks here for all ages and levels of fitness, some of which tested me more than I'd like to admit, but omit those details, I shall not!


The walk was dedicated to the memory of my Grandfather, William Watson Jackson (1910-2002).

In 1989, I attempted to follow in the giant footsteps of the great British archaeologist, John D. S. Pendlebury in Crete, while visiting dozens of ancient sites in the process. That I failed for the most part, to cover the enormous distances that JDSP managed, didn't detract from the experience which had been the best three month period of my life, even if my memory, at times, wears rose-tinted glasses. Then, in May 2001 during my two-yearly trip to Crete, driving from East to West, I noticed that three of the sites I had visited during that period followed a line of sorts, running from Kato Zakros, via Praesos to Vassiliki. What fun it would be to retread my past. Upon arrival home, I rushed for a book I had first read upon its publication, in 1992 and immediately begged a two month sabbatical from work, giving two years notice.

"Between the Seas: A Quiet Walk Through Crete", by Christopher Thorne was to be my inspiration during the next few months, though upon reading the book for the third time, I decided that his 400 mile trek, traversing the mountain ranges of Crete, in two weeks, was (a little!) too tough and besides, his route was not my desired one. I was to drive everyone I knew, either to the brink of madness or boredom (and in some cases both), during the two-year "training period" that followed. I found myself able to talk of fewer and fewer things, other than "the walk", and by the time I arrived at the final month's countdown, even I was growing tired of this obsessive behaviour. Unfortunately I was stuck with my single-mindedness, to the degree that I found it impossible to get more than three hours of sleep at night, though I had a habit of nodding-off at work, but I am sure that others enjoyed the rest, every bit as much as I.

All walk and no play, made Jackson an extremely dull boy and no-doubt lowered his resistance to illness. Three weeks before I was due to leave, the dreaded lurgy hit! The week in bed which followed, left me more rested, but considerably weaker. My "training bag" - weighing in at a hefty 15 kilos -  which had accompanied me on a 25 mile walk two days before my illness, was now nigh-on impossible to lift, never mind carry any distance. Thankfully I recovered in time to attempt the walk, but there was little doubt that I'd lost a lot of the strength built up during the previous couple of years. Well, that's excuse number one out of the way. Expect others at least as lame, throughout the pages that follow:

History Boxes
I would like to thank the following friends I met whilst on Crete, some of whom feature within the pages that follow: Adam; Alexandra and Bill; Athanati; Chris and Mandy; Donna; Jean; Ray and Lynn; the staff at Oleander Cars; Rex Anderson; Stelios F.; Stuart S, Tony Fennymore, Virginia Heyden; and back home the staff of The Hellenic Bookservice, just for putting up with me; my sister Alison for keeping in touch; the late Christopher Thorne for his well chosen words, travel writers Christopher Somerville, Paul Hellander and Jonnie Godfrey for taking the time to reply to my requests for information and Marc Dubin for his constantly enthusiastic advice; the members, subscribers and staff of The British School at Athens - especially Alexander MacGillivray - who are a constant source of archaeological inspiration to me; the many Cretans who made this journey so memorable and last but not least to all the Interkritters who helped and encouraged me, before, during and after the walk.

The walk was dedicated to the memory of my Grandfather, William Watson Jackson (1910-2002).

© Stelios Jackson & interkriti
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