Even from a distance, you can make out the dark pockets in the sandstone cliffs next to the seaside village of Matala on Crete’s southern shore. The cliff is riddled with ancient caves, some of which are large enough to shelter sleeping nooks. Nowadays, these caves are famous for being the 1960s refuge of wandering hippies such as Joni Mitchell, who sang about "scratchy rock and roll beneath the Matala moon" in her song "Carey." Rick Sweitzer, the executive director of the adventure-tours company The Northwest Passage, fell in love with Crete during the same era as Mitchell and began designing tours to share the island's splendors. An eight-day kayaking trip explores Matala Bay and other hidden treasures along the Cretan coast. After five to six hours of paddling per day—which always includes a cappuccino break—you’ll feast on Greek specialties such as moussaka, beef stew, and stuffed grape leaves before settling into a cozy, family-run inn. Days 1–2: After catching your own flight to Heraklion International Airport on Crete's northern coast, look for a sign labeled "NWP" to meet up with staff. The trip starts with a tour of the nearby Palace of Knossos, an ancient Minoan palace that predates the Trojan War. Afterward, head on to Matala, where guides outfit you with a paddle, a life vest, and a spray skirt for basic sea-kayaking lessons in Matala Bay. Days 3–6: Each day, the group of 6–17 kayakers paddles between seaside inns and small restaurants known as tavernas, leaving plenty of free time for swimming and sunbathing. You’ll visit historic sites along the way, including Minoan ruins and Agios Pavlos, an 11th-century Byzantine chapel where St. Paul is said to have shipwrecked. Head inland to hike the Samariá Gorge, a national park filled with rare kri-kri goats. Other stops includes the coastal town of Chora Sfakia and an optional trek on the E4 European Long Distance trail, which runs west all the way to Spain.Days 7–8: The trip winds down in Loutro, a cluster of whitewashed houses accessible only via sea. On the final evening, guides will lead a sunset hike to the ruins of a Venetian fortress on top of a nearby ridge. The next morning, hop on a shuttle or hitch a lift with a passing dolphin back to Heraklion. If time allows, you can pop into the city's archeological museum before boarding your plane ride home.See the full itinerary for more information.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
Darkhouse Entertainment's Murder Mansion, one of the largest haunted houses in the suburban Chicagoland area, scares visitors witless in "Blood Feast," an unsettling tale of cannibalism set in the Victorian era. After skipping the line with their R.I.P. passes, thrill seekers form bonds with other guests during fear-induced embraces as they find their way through the mansion's darkness, fog, strobe lights, banjo duels, and professional special effects to discover where the show's turn-of-the-century restaurant gets its supply of human flesh. The convincing costumes, makeup, imaginative lighting, elaborate sets, blood, and gore create intensely real scenes of violence designed for mature audiences. Hydrophobes and wicked witches may wish to wear raincoats, as the show promises wet surprises. Consult a list of frequently screamed questions to prepare for the bloodbath.
As December 21, 2012, approaches, many Americans eagerly await the moment when Hades will emerge from the Underworld to recklessly devour raw egg. Until then, experience man-made terror with today's Groupon: $10 gets you a ticket to Chronicles of the Cursed: Hades Emerges, a massive, nightmarish haunted house adventure ($20 value). Be the first to witness the gory horror as it ascends from the depths to torture torture-hungry souls with an opening weekend ticket; good from 7 p.m.–10 p.m. for Friday, October 9; Saturday, October 10; or Sunday, October 11. Dare your friends to witness the spine-tingling goblins and humiliate your weak-bladdered enemies. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
Multicolored holds dot the climbing walls inside North Wall, granting visitors a variety of gripping surfaces and seemingly limitless routes during their scaling expeditions. Since 1994, the rock-climbing haven has been beckoning climbing enthusiasts to its sprawling confines, where it offers classes and private lessons for climbers of all abilities. Participants can even join teams, in which they can boost their skills for competitions or leisurely scrambles up the noses on Mt. Rushmore.
We are an indoor climbing gym that specializes in teaching new climbers, and helping experienced climbers reach new levels. We have many different types of terrain from slabs to overhangs to roofs, and set routes for all abilities from beginner to expert.
The Gladiator Assault Challenge confronts racers with a 5- to 7-mile course surrounded by scenic woodlands, cheering spectators, and up to 30 intense obstacles. Gladiators aged 18 and older go solo or join forces with other competitors to ford the waist-high waters of Mud Mayhem, rope-swing through Jungle Love, and use oversize novelty scissors to break the finish tape. Additional obstacles test physical stamina with 12-foot vertical walls, fallen trees, and cargo nets that act as moats blocking the finish line. After the Slideway ushers racers to a skidding finish, a complimentary beer and raucous after party lend ample time to scrawl "wash me" on opponents' backs.