About Clunegapyears

Travelling around Europe with James in our motorhome

1408-1414: Wonderful Walks and Minor Medical Matters

Saturday 11th – Friday 17th January 2020

Still based in Kalyves, essentially riding out a spot of some bad weather and sorting out some medical issues.


Walks 

One walk took us from a new-to-us hill village – Kalamitsi Alexandrou and out through olive and orange groves, with lovely views of the White Mountains.  The destination was the Holy Monastery of Agios Georgios at Karydi.

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The monastery on the horizon.

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The entrance … EUR2, wasn’t sure where to leave the money so just left in inside.

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All this complex for just one resident monk.  And I heard his deep vibrating snores echo around.  He appeared later and got the chap who had been sat on the terrace to drive him somewhere. 

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The 12 arch oil factory 1860 within the monastery complex.  Large scale olive production started in 1829 and provided a many local families with employment.

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Our picnic on the terrace outside … notice the lady with her feet up … she’d been washing up whilst the monk slept … division of the sexes here.

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A coffee back at the village cafe and Corrie made herself at home.


Lars, our Swedish resident friend led us on another walk, part of which we’d done before … we parked up behind Almyrida and walked around Douliana and Tsivaras … mostly mixed leaf woods, more oranges and olivestwo cave churches.

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Lars assured us that there are no poisonous snakes in Crete.  J explained how St Patrick had banished all snakes from Ireland.

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Some of our route was old Minoan roads … these huge and smooth slabs have stood the test of time.

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Inside one fo the cave churches.  We’ve been astounded at the honesty and trust here in Crete.  One of the churches had money left on a shelf … 


Beach Cleaning

Armed with gloves and plastic bags, we did our bit … a lot of plastic gets washed up after storms.  This was a Greek and Ex-pat combined exercise.

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CO2 are soooo starved, that they have to wear muzzles at Kalives … people dump cooked bones and there has been some talk of poison being put down.  So much as CO2 both attempt to remove the muzzles, they stay on for their own good.  The orange ‘kerchief is part of Brian’s over sized duvet that was cut down … should get a pic of all 2 dogs sporting their orange (sorry, Brian, TANGERINE) fashion wear!

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The official photo of most of the litter pickers … I am there … about a third in from the left, at the back, between two incredibly tall men.


Medical Matters for the High Maintenance Man!

Let’s talk hearing loss … J had a test about 18 months ago and was told he was borderline for hearing aids.  However, I now often have to repeat myself 3 times … and usually what I say, ain’t worth repeating even once.  The handsome Dr Manos in Kalives, booked a hearing test in Chania.  Moderate loss in both ears at high frequency … no wonder he can’t hear me!!  We went straight around the corner to a hearing aid specialist.  The lovely Vera had stuck green wax in his ears to get the shape last week and we went on Monday to collect the hearing aids.  Time is NOT money in Crete.  We were there over and hour and a half, checking the programme and no echo … I had to ring James from the street with passing cars for a test.  We left with the hearing aids, having left no deposit, or print of our credit card … all Vera had was a phone number!  Take them away and come back in a few days to see how you get on.  Her English is better than our Greek but not good, so people from surrounding shops were drafted in for translations.

We returned on Thursday and another hour to go through warranty and make some adjustments.  Oh, and to finally pay!  James actually hearing what I say now…. RESULT.  And his phone is blue toothed so he can select programmes, volume and …. play his music through them … even phone calls go straight to them (sadly I only now hear half the conversation!!!).

 

A wobbly tooth was inspected by Gorgeous George … locals name for him, although I concur.  It will fall out on its own … a conversation about implants.  I went to pay … he refused to take any money!  

 

Taken on Trust

As well as the trust with us walking out with the hearing aids, having not left any means for the shop to trace us should we have absconded, I had a similar experience.  My phone battery was ‘unhealthy’, so I took it into a large shop in Chania and left it with them for a couple of hours.  Picked it up and got out some money … no, you take this paper and pay up stairs.  I had the phone in one hand and the paper in the other, passed the door to the street … I could so easily have walked out.  You’ll be pleased to know I am one of those folk who tells restaurants if they’ve forgotten to add an item to the bill, so I did pay … all of EUR28.

An earring had a stone come loose … took it into the key cutting / cobbler place next to our morning coffee cafe to be glued … no charge … 

 

 

1406-1408: Sun and Snow in the Hills

1406: Overcast Walk

Thursday 9th January

Coffee at Arti’s – a regular morning tradition…..

A walk to Macheri village and surroundings – with Brian and Zoa.  Early in the walk, Oscar approached a chained dog – and promptly got attacked! He was underneath the other dog and trying to escape – we think the owner believed Oscar was the aggressor – but our O hasn’t an angry bone in his body… no damage done.  And that should teach him to stay away from chained dogs protecting their homes.

On with lovely walk – later Brian treated us to his haute cuisine – noshtimo! 

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Small rock church … nothing unusual there, but the Laura Ashley chandelier is unusual!

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This car has been up cycled!

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Macheri village, from the start of the walk.

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Macheri new amphitheatre with lovely views … where J recited ‘The lake Isle of Inisfree’, one of my faves.  The amphitheatre would seat the population of the village several times over.

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An old olive press just in a barn along one of the lanes.

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Red rocks and J coming out of Macheri.

1407: Snow Frolics

Friday 10th January

Katherine’s early doggie walk photo is amazing!

Then off in our PantyCraftyCar – to the snow – it took a while.  We kept driving and driving, seeing the snow piled up on the sides of the roads. Eventually we found sone, almost over the other side of Crete, at Imbros.  We’ve walked down the gorge  but this time we walked up the mountain.   The results were fantastic – frolics in the snow – and that was just Oscar and Corrie!  Well worth the trip.

Then – another recommended family restaurant in Stylos – they lit their fire especially for us. K had delicious liver – and I noshed chicken meatballs – a first!  Back to base – Kalyves – and chilling….. literally … when the sun goes down, it gets very cool.  We are burins gas at about a bottle every 6/7 days, but we don’t do cold, so no stinting ~ switching on the heating.

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I’ve taken a few pix of Kalives from the harbour, but this has got to be one of the best.  And that snow is where we are headed today.

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 I was worried the last 2 days of rain would have washed away all the snow … it was not looking promising.

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But we found some at Imbros … at least a foot deep.

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Initially Corrie jumped from rock to rock to avoid getting her paws in the snow.

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Mincing.

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Playtime.

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And we found another lovely restaurant, 3 Cooks in Stylos; another recommendation.  And they lit the fire for us! 

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1397-1505: A New Decade and Acts of Kindness

Not wanting to sound soppy …. Both James and I are struck with how kind and helpful people are generally, but this last week has particularly humbled us.


1397: New Year’s Eve Festivities

Tuesday 31st December 2019

Walked on Sandy beach and then coffee and pastries.  We left the street parking outside what may have been a council building; lots of folk going in and out, but sideways places at us –  so with thanks to Paleochora…..

In convoy back to Kalives to load with water and then up to friend of a friend parking (again!).   Act of Kindness No. 1: parking for us arranged by Julia.  Self showered and off to Eleanore’s eatery at Drapanos. Act of Kindness No. 2:  Thank you to June, Karl and Lars for inviting us.  Conversation flowed, and the wine flowed faster!  A little Greek dancing to the live band, but not much room for a dance floor as the place was rammed with diners.  A testament to how relaxed andchilled the Greeks are … the kitchen couldn’t cope with the numbers … 90 covers for a small family restaurant, and hot food was still coming out at 1.00a.m.  Important to the Greeks is that it is freshly cooked.  A lot of tourists complain that starters arrive often with the main course and that it is not piping hot.  It comes out of the kitchen when it is ready and most plates are for sharing.  

We left at 2:00 am – the party was still in full swing – including 10 police officers and wives – drink driving???  “Chonia palla” to all – Happy New Year (sort of) – in Greek!!! 

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The sun out again for our walk on Sandy Beach  

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 … there was a cold wind so no-one was taking advantage of this being the nudist area.

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At Eleanore actually trying to capture the family with fine identical moustaches behind us!

1398: Enforced Easy Day

Wednesday 1st January 2020

Slow start and slow day.  Can’s think why!!!  Back down the hill to Kalives.  

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Dogs just got walked along the beach  more snow on them there hills.

 

1399: Doctor and Soup Making

Thursday 2nd January 

Weather was really grim.  Visited the good doctor to arrange hearing test for moi – pardon? Pm – coffee / wine with Ann and K making batch soup amounted to our sole activity!  A continuing good start to 2020 – shall K ask me to marry her – again – leap year – I would leap at the answer… 


1400: Chania Activity

Friday 3rd January 

After two days of inertia and lack of activity.  A trip to Chania for laundry and late lunch at an amazing restaurant – “Tamam” – which in Arabic means ‘excellent’ – how apposite? 

N.B.  I know laundry is usually undertaken in the twin tub, but the inclemency of the weather and not wishing to turn Jez into a 5 day long Chinese steam laundry, meant a paid for self service facility was required.

K met Ann for coffee and received post that had arrived at Ann’s Act of Kindness No. 3:  this is the second time Ann has acted as post receiver for us  … Valarian for Oscar.  Not vallium … but similar!!  The hope is that it will calm his anxiety and over excitement … fingers crossed.

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Tamam Restaurant, recommence by about 3 people.  In old town Chania, so prices a little higher but excellent quality.  A plate of mixed starters, then from the left  Js veal, pork and cheese pie, Brians beef and aubergine puree, and Kseabass with fennel sauce.  All really yummy.

 

1401: A Lars Led Walk

Saturday 4th January

Blazing sunshine and warm – what a change…….Lars was tour guide for our river walk from Kalyves – as Brian was unwell, we took Zoa – who seemed to adopt me … Longest walk (11km) I have done for a year?  Wonderful views of the snowy hills and then a glimpse of the sea.  Through lots of orange groves … a man slowed his car and thrust his arm out of the window proffering a bag of oranges.  We do like the Greeks.  Not only did Lars guide the walk, he had baked a Swedish apple pie which we had with coffee.  And we left with a chunky slab, a Swedish cheesecake and some lingonberry jam.  Act of Kindness No. 4:  Lars!

Act of Kindness No. 5: One of our recent friends from New Years Eve (Karl) arrived with a smokeless Bbq – he and K had been discussing kitchen gadgets at New Year – how kind is that – amazing!  We just need some fuel and decent weather to test it!

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The snow is definitely a little heavier, but so pretty with the sun on it. 

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A real contrast with the snow and the shirt sleeves only temperature amongst the olive groves.

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Oscar and Zoa had a few stand offs and stick pinching moments  very entertaining!

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Cant wait to give this a go  batteries power an underneath fan so it is ready to cook in 5-10 mins and uses much less charcoal.

 

1402-1404: Wet and Windy

Sunday 5th January

Another day for battening down the hatches….supper with Lars at Icarus…. the menu was a bit limited and white wine ran out so red was a good substitute!  Michelle showed a mug she bought Michaelis – the inscription was “I can’t keep calm … I’m a Greek man!”

As the wind speeds increased, we moved Jez – We’re getting good at this – “CluneVanRemovals”??? 

 

Monday 6th January

K had developed a cold – so a bit of a duvet day for her – poor lamb – not even a ‘girlyflu’… I manfully stepped up the plate and plated (nice pun, J) a sort of meal……’great balls of fire’ – well, great balls of meat with a sweet potato and a few leaves of cabbage. I’m now awaiting the call from ‘DastardlyChef’……..  Act of Kindness No. 6:  Brian kept us topped up with coffees and chocolate!

 

Tuesday 7th January

“Revicanusenlome” (anagram) moved Jez back to our beach wild camping place.  K and Brian had a wet and windy walk with dogs around the head at Plaka.  Supper with Brian … K’s take on a Greek classic … pork with celery.

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Juicing session with the oranges … Act of Kindness No. 7:  Lars had hunted us out to deliver them.

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Massive swell and crashing waves off Plaka.

 

1405: What was that?  Pardon!

Wednesday 8th January

Early start – 0700hrs – blimey!  Blood test results for moi – all positive…..off to Chania – pronounced “hhanya”!  Brian came – we laundrified at ‘Easywash’ – coffee’d across the road where I was persuaded to eat most of our cakes – no great problem – Cretan cakes are scrummy. 

Then – to a hearing specialist – for my ‘earring test. The ‘eerie’ result was what we expected – 2 massive ear trumpets to stick in my channels!  Who remembers ‘HMV’ – ‘His Masters Voice’ – visualise the poor dog…. well, perhaps a little smaller. We won’t mention the Euroresult…….

Splendid lunch again at Tamam – noshtimmo….  Back next Monday for fitting of trumpets and more Tamam foodies – life is a breeze – if you can ‘ear it.  Oh dear, this ‘ere lobe theme may run and run…..

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 ere we go … not Shrek wax but being measured for the hearing aids.

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Tamam:  chickpea soup, rice and chicken and bacon rolls … yummy.

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The Venetian Harbour in Chania has suffered with the strong winds … marble paving slabs ripped up …

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… Sand and rubbish thrown up quite a long way into restaurants …

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And this is relatively calm now.

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Dog walk round the back of Kalives … we are parked up towards the far end.

1393-1396: Nothing Paleo in Paleochora

1393: South to Paleohora

Friday 27th December 2019

After the ritual of a coffee at Fresh and Cool cafe, we set forth for Paleochora / Paleohora.  Again a stunning drive across the mountains.  Although we could see mountain snow from our Kalives parking, we did not pass through any.  Why do I have a yen to head up into the hills and find some?  Guess it will find us soon enough!!

We really felt the benefit of the AndyPandyCar as we did a recce of the dirt track to a parking I’d identified to the the east of Paleochora …at the first soft sand we turned the  AndyPandycar around and headed into the town to check out other spots.  Bingo, a super spot between the town and the new (concrete and charmless) marina.  No-one else here and great views.

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View en route.

Lunch and whilst J nanny napped, I walked CO2 to the west and ‘sandy beach’.  Late afternoon we headed up to what was left of the Venetian fort, ransacked by Barbarossa and not rebuilt.  On the descent we stopped for a glass of vino and were entertained by the adjacent table.  Not that I was eves dropping, much!  Evidenty, a British and Dutch lady had teamed up and were renting a room in Chania and were now looking for accommodation in Paleochora.  They had spent the afternoon with a colourful ageing hippy, with an upper crust accent and a Ukranian boat owner who was largely silent… and they all had consumed a LOT of wine.  The hippy acted as broker and offered them a room on the boat … we didn’t quite establish if there was running water, a toilet, let alone a hot shower, for all of EUR7 / night.  The ‘girls’ had to leave to catch their bus back to Chania … we also left, so we will never know if they missed the last one!

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Fab parking with amazing views.

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Taken from the Venetian castle ruins.  The boat goes along the coast and then to Gavdos Island.  Quite fancied this as a day trip, but 4 hours each way from here and no time on the island.

  1394: Boulder walk

Saturday 28th December 

Drove the track that we’d decided against on arrival with Jez and were very pleased that we had aborted … lots of soft sand areas and loose stones.  

Gorge walk – we had to haul CO2 up big rocks in their harnesses and leads – then faced with what looked like an impenetrable set of rocks, we wisely aborted…and the rain had just started. A young family we met also turned around.  Lunch in PandyAndy charabanc on the beach – local pastries – yummy! 

Later in Paleochora, we met Jane another camping car English lady – supplying her with some clear gaffa tape for an incident with a tree.  Evening saw us supping in Haris’ bar with Jane – really nice noshtimo – and some local wine – with Raki…… Jane navigates her van but not with coordinates!  Could see her eyes glaze over when K was explains about Park4Night etc … did later manage to get her on Maps.Me.

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Anidhri Gorge.

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Lots of boulders to negotiate …

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… and to slide down!

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Anidri Beach, where we sat in the car and ate our spinach and cheese and Christmas pastries.

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1395: Pelekaniotikos Potamos – River Walk

Sunday 29th December

Today an easier river walk – with Corrie mostly on the lead as we didn’t fancy goat’s meat for dinner!  But a lovely riparian roaming…. (K: I hd to ask the meaning of riparian .. J advises associated with a river bank!)

The rain was now relentless and a rising wind with forecast of 33knots during the night – time to move…..to the local harbour with shelter from the sea wall – hunkering down for the evening as the lightning flashed around us – a couple of weeks ago, we were wearing shorts! 

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Not as stunning as yesterday up the gorge, but MUCH easier walking.

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The river back erosion looked like wood.

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Hands up all of you who have worn paper knickers? Jane came to the van in the afternoon bearing gifts – including paper knickers for Katherine!  Very fetching biggusknickers indeed….


1396: Magical Mountain Mystery Tour

Monday 30th December

Our harbour camping soon showed gusts of 70-80 kph! Rock and roll – but not the dancing kind, although Jez was doing a kind of jive!  At 5:00 am, K in pjs did a recce in our pandydandycar – finding a sheltered spot – on the high street!  We decamped both vehicles to outside what looked like the town council offices…..

Instead of a gale force walk, we drove on a magic mystery tour – with us, Jane and her 2 whippets. Churches, villages – some roads almost impassable – lots of 5-point turns – and lunch in a lovely cosy family taverna – with a fire!  We helped advise Jane with a gas issue and a hose nozzle that fell into the pipe of her water tank.  We could set ourselves up as gas consultants.  Amazing how much you learn when something goes wrong!

To ride out the storm, we stayed in town with all blinds closed to not draw attention to ourselves – stealth camping – but nobody complained, luckily. 

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View back down to Paleohora  we were originally parked to the left of the harbour, then in the harbour and then on the street going out of the town.

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Both ends of the rainbow  lucky.

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One of the many small churches on our vague itinerary … we didn’t see them all!





1388-1392 : Avoiding the Wind

1388: Back at Balos

Sunday 22nd December 2019

Nothing open for coffee en route … straight onto Falassarna, where I got hail and sand blasted on the beach last time we stayed.  A beach walk this morning in the sun and lunch.  After J’s nanny nap we drove back up to the start of the 8km track to the car park for Balos Beach.  We stopped and picked up Brian and Zoa … we wondered how the the AndyPandyCar would cope with the track and the equivalent of 4 adults on board.  We managed not to knacker the suspension!  With the sun and some wind we descended to the lagoon.  Brian and Zoa battled back against the wind along the track to his motorhome.

After fetching Jez from Falassarna we decamped back to Kissamos along the sea front.  It was windy, and I didn’t sleep well … I was also dreaming about the lovely meal we’d had.  We had been to the restaurant with Maddy and had amazing Pork with celery, greens and lemon.  Tonight’s special was cuttlefish with a dill sauce … only one portion left so Brian and I shared.  Also chickpea, lemon and olive soup … I’ve just tried to make this in Jez and it is no where as good as the restaurant’s.  I complimented the waitress / daughter and she has given me her mobile number and said to ring before we come again … her Mum will cook boiled chicken with rice and butter … sounds horrid, but she assures me it is very good … so we will have to go back!

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Kite flying at Falassarna – Brian trying to stay with feet on sand and Zoa trying to catch the kite!

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Track to Balos Beach.

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You’d have thought this chap would have offered to move out of the way!

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James waited and waited, but no donkey taxi!

1389: Hunkering Down in Kissamos

Monday 23rd December 2019

We contemplated a drive up into the hills, but rain threatened and then arrived, so we stayed put. A coffee and cake stop with Brian in town.  I did a little Christmas shopping … a lazy day followed by supper chez nous and a game of cribb with Brian.

We followed Brian to shelter from the wind the other side of the sports centre … so much calmer over night.

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View from the front of the van, before the latest round of wind and rain.

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Zoa also thinks he is a lap dog!

1390: Christmas Eve in Kalyves

Tuesday 24th December 

Having had a half decent night’s sleep, I awoke with energy!  As I opened the side window i spotted a tap and hose …. so the morning became a laundry session.  Twin tub carried around the wall, one of our hoses hanging out of the kitchen window for hot water and the sports centre hose for cold!  Then hot showers for both of us.  Gotta seize the moment!

We returned to Kalyves and joined the lovely Ann and another couple at Simon’s Italian for a set meal and a rock band.  Food was good, wine mostly included and the first set of the band excellent … I recognised most of the tunes.  The second set was essentially just LOUD … a bit to heavy rock for our tastes.  But a great way to start Christmas.

 

1391: Christmas Meal

Wednesday 25th December 2019

A leisurely start … presents and my stocking brought from home.  The Aged P’s buy gifts for Clare and I on their travels this year’s stocking came from Serbia, South Africa, Sardinia, Sicily, Thailand, France …. a lot of dodgy bottles … the green walnut liqueur from the Serbian monastery was very good.

A short walk (blow!) along a coastal path set us up for the next stage of Christmas.  We then drove in convoy with Brian to Drapanos and parked on the driveway of an absent neighbour of Julia and Anthony (who’d helped us with our gas).  A short walk up to Eleanore’s and lunch.  Fava, a mayo dip and smoked sausage to start.  Brian had pork knuckle, which looked better than J and my choice … pork with chestnuts and prunes … tasty but just a little too fatty.  Our left overs, the next night were actually better.

A really relaxed meal, followed by cards … Newmarket, Sevens and Pontoon.  And the wine kept flowing.  As we were leaving, we established that they are also open New Year’s Eve and there is a Greek band playing.  That’s New Year’s Eve sorted then!

 

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Christmas morning walk.

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Looking out to the Akrotiri peninsula.

1392: Boxing Day Recovery

Thursday 26th December 

Another slow start then!  Popped into say thank you to Julia for organising the parking … we can also park there for New Year.

Back to Kalyves … no energy to move far today.  We did manage the walk we’d done yesterday … easy option as we now knew the route!  Also easy option on food as recycled the left overs!

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Forgotten we had this … bought some weeks ago at charity bazaar … tasty, but not as good as my mother’s!