1330-1335: Olive Groves, Ice Cream and a Monastery

1330:  England Beat the All Blacks & Kokkinos Pirgos

Saturday 26th October 2019

This morning was pre-booked ages ago.  No matter how much the sun shone or the dogs looked wistfully at the door.  We weren’t going anywhere!  England v. New Zealand.  I felt sick to the pit of my stomach, and two tries disallowed.  But they prevailed.  Could it be a Great British Final???

After lunch we wandered around Kokkinos Pirgos – a village of two halves.  There are essentially two streets, the main road and the lower beach front.  The main road had a lot of half built and abandoned buildings.  It really looked like people had seen the opportunity to develop the town for tourists, but then the tourists didn’t come.  When we hit the beach road, there was a bit more life, as in open cafes and bars.  A manky, ice cream … he’d obviously scraped the bottom of the container … yuk!  After the not so good meal when we arrived last night, we didn’t see any restaurants that would entice us to part with our money.  

1331:  Wales Loose to South Africa  Agios Gallini

Sunday 27th October 

Day 2 of sofa surfing.  Sadly Wales will not be in the final with England.  

We had plans to go for a walk, but by the time we’d lunched, it was too late … the hour change makes such a difference to when the long shadows draw in the day.  So a trip to Agios Gallini.  The car park is right down the small town that clings to the side of the hill and by a small port.  Thankfully it was getting on towards the end of the day so we could park.  Pretty and full of bars and restaurants.  A walkway across the bottom of a cliff to the small beach.  We wandered around what there was to see and sat facing the port with an ice cream.  One of the things we love about Italy is their love affair with gelato … at least one gelateria on every street.  Here, we are finding it a) hard to find places that sell proper scoop ice cream b) ice cream that is not slightly off / old and c) has a limited choice of flavours.  So limited that today I sampled Kaimaki flavour … slightly chewy and made from mastic!!!  Please note that most of the holiday makers around us were on Aperol and wine!   Not us, we’ve nearly cracked Go Sober for October!

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 Agios Gallini clinging to the hill side.

 1332:  Aborted Gorge and Matala

Monday 28th October 

So today we packed up a picnic and headed off to the Agiofarago (Ayio) Gorge.  We stopped at the Moni Odigitrias on the way.  A service was in progress, but worshipers were wandering in and out of the church, sitting around and all eating cake … no-one offered us any :(.  A lovely floral courtyard and views.

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Moni Odigitrias – pretty courtyard.

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Obviously they expect tourists here, as there was a two room Monk’s cell for visitors to see.

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Great views for the monks, including an outside privy.

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And another chapel at the end of the hill.

From the monastery, the road disappeared and became a dirt track. I walked the dogs a short way whilst J drove and a local told me their had been land slips, so after a bouncy 2.5 of the 5km trip, we aborted.  Shame, as I’d fancied this walk as hermits lived in the caves either side and there is a full church.  Never mind, perhaps another time.  

What to do … we headed off to Matala, known for caves and hippies. We stayed here in a heat wave in March 2018 when we were looking for a sea breeze and discovered a semi abandoned and free campsite.  I stayed here with Maddy whilst James went home for a few days.  We checked out the campsite; it is still operational and we will come back at some point.  A coffee, a wander and then lunch overlooking the very busy beach.  I’m always a bit wary to revisiting places, but Matala did not disappoint.

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Small chapel.  A sign at the entrance said to enter respectfully … I slid off the very worn step and let rip a ‘shit’, don’t think I entered respectfully!

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Views from our lunch.

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1333:  Vori & Kamilari

Tuesday 29th October 

Picnic packed we drove to Vori.  First stop is coffee, always!  We heard and English voice talking to Manoli the barista … could he find two people to turn her mattress.  The English voice belonged to Hebe, resident of Crete for 20 years.  She joined us for a drink and a lovely chat and then we went back to her house and turned her mattress.  How often do you end up stripping someone’s bed only minutes after you’ve met them?!?

The Museum of Cretan Ethnology had won an award, but was pretty old fashioned in its presentation.  Having said that, it had a good display of weaving, tools and household items.  And all the exhibits had English explanations.  We had a little wander around Vori … a lovely village with carved stone lintels.  Everyone saying hello to each other.  Nice vibe.

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From here we drove up to Faistos … the car park only as we explored the ancient site on our last visit.  We used the wall as the table and got the chairs out for our picnic.  Other than the odd coach running its engine we could forget the car park behind us and just enjoy the view.

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Kamilari was described as slightly up market due to the house purchasing by expats … certainly the lass that served us coffee spoke excellent English. You could really see the wealth compared to most villages in the way some of the properties had been restored.

1334:  Another Olive Tree and Apolichonos

Wednesday 30th October 

Coffee at the hamlet of Moroni … the barista had no English so Google Translate got us to an espresso, with a little hot water and milk.  Nice chap, lots of smiles and he pressed an extra bottle of water on James as we left.  

With so much of the countryside covered with olive trees, it is no wonder the ancient ones are much revered.  We drove to see the Monumental Olive Tree os Paliama.  Surreounded by much younger trees, it had another gnarled hollow trunk.  Sadly the information board was as ancient as the tree and therefore illegible, so we can only guess that it is several thousand years old.

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Naughty me… I climbed under the fence to stand inside the monumental olive tree.

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Apolichonos is a abandoned village.  We walked down dirt tracks amongst the olive groves; a few now being stripped of their fruit.  Lovely views across to the distant hills.  A smart white washed church and a summer time taverna, plus the requisite sheep bells and barking dogs guarding sheep to get Corrie on high alert.

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 Baby olive trees – planted deep and with the landscape looked like lots of giant mole hills.

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Apoloichonos:  Abandoned except for in the tourist season … a small chapel and summer time taverna.

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The abandoned village … didn’t discover why.

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We’ve seen these large water pipes all over Greece irrigating the crops, but these had water metres with the names fo the farmers on them.

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We had the goat leg, but this time Corrie brought us the gift of a claw … far too big for a chicken.  

1335:  Moving North Analipsi 

Thursday 31st October 

We have decided that to really be able to get around to some of the more remote places we would like the use of a car.  Emails to about 7 car hire companies (small local ones) yielded only 2 result, one is from Kalyves. A 1250cc Fiat Punto is ours at EUR9 per day on a month by month fee.  We pick it up on Saturday.  The theory is that we will park Jez up for a few days and use the car to get up into the hills and down to small coves.  We will then start to move west along the north coast.  Budget justification is that it will save money on fuel and wear and tear on Jez … he’s done 40,000 miles in under 3 years!  

Today was a wander around Heraklion. James needed to stock up on e juice … he’s switched to menthol and is nearly nicotine free :).  We just had a wander of the proper busy town and lunched with both of us facing the street people watching.  Like Heraklion … it has an honest feel.

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Our over night is a bit further east in Analipsi … what a great name.  This has several large hotels and one huge one … sun umbrellas and bars.  It is surprisingly busy.  We’ll only be here the one night!  Not our cup of tea.


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Is this no shagging in a motorhome allowed, but you can park up?

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3 thoughts on “1330-1335: Olive Groves, Ice Cream and a Monastery

  1. The views and the sunshine look wonderful. France is almost underwater. Incredible rain storms and it’s fine and sunny in the Scottish Borders. Can you believe it? Hey October is over! Happy wine drinking. x x

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