S’s cousins had the brilliant idea that we should take a drive out to find Ideon Andron – the cave where Zeus was born. This was supposed to be about a 45 minute drive out. What we didn’t know at the time was that the cave is nestled in the side of Mount Ida, the highest mountain in Crete.
We embark on this journey with cousins B and N in the front and us in the back. Everything is going fine when about 30 minutes into the trip, I realize we are driving up steep mountains on winding roads, quickly reaching higher and higher elevations. I am flashing back to a trip S and I took in Munnar, India that required a similar, but more treacherous drive up small, steep mountain roads, and remember his knuckles turning white from gripping the door. He doesn’t like heights.
We’ve suddenly become very quiet in the backseat, which the cousins notice, but don’t think much of at the time.
I reach over to make an attempt at comfort and assess the situation. I get a terse “that isn’t a good idea right now”.
Consider the situation assessed. Not good.
Meanwhile, unaware of the panic setting in behind them, the cousins in the front start making some chatter, offering such discomforting revelations such as “man, we are really getting high”, “are you really taking a picture while you’re driving?” and “oh, it looks like there are no guardrails up here”.
We finally take a break – we were expecting to be there by this point, but aren’t. After some google searching (the directions to get to this place aren’t that clear), we determine we are still probably another 20 minutes away. We debate if we should keep going. S is playing it cool, so I follow his lead and we are like “whatever you guys want to do is good with us”. We did come all this way after all.
On this second leg, the cousins suggest we stop for pictures at a particularly nice lookout point. There are certainly some really beautiful views from up there. S and N decide to use the partially obscured space behind a small hill for a bathroom break, and given my lack of confidence that we really know where we are going and how long it might take to get back, I go too. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone on the side of the road. And of course, when it’s my turn I have the misfortune of a passing car.
So, back in the car, and off we go. The cousins are still unaware of the near panic attack that could be happening at any moment. We finally see a sign for the cave and get really excited, but there is only a small winding gravel road that goes up to it. We aren’t even sure if we can really drive up there, but as it’s getting dark soon (this trip has already taken longer than we expected), we go for it and start making a slow, bumpy ascent.
We finally approach the gate. The place looks completely deserted and the gate looks, well, locked.
S gets out of the car, and now, emboldened by solid ground, exclaims “I didn’t go through all of that not to see this place.” So he climbs the gate, and the 3 of us quickly follow suit. There is not a soul around, but that just adds to the creepiness of the place. Well that, and the weird noises coming from the cavernous space below. S surmises that maybe the gate we just climbed over is to keep something in, not keep us out.
And on that note, we snap a few photos, and head back home.