1434-1435: (More) Medical Appointments!
Thursday 6th – Friday 7th February 2020
I finally got the missing tooth filling replaced by the dentist in Vamos. Georgeous George, as he’s known locally, was very gentle and cheap. Only EUR50 for what he described as a ‘not small filling’.
In the morning James was wired for sound … 24 hour heart monitor just to double check the palpitations are nothing serious. The heart monitoring was done by the cardiologist in Kalives, so no waiting or having to drive miles away. We had to wait a week for the results and all fine … nothing to worry about. A mild arythmyia. May be as a result of the hormone treatment … will send the results to the oncologist and doctor at home. So the total bill from the cardiologist for the ECG, Ultrasound, 24 hr monitoring and his time was only EUR100!
Of more a little concern was the result of J’s bloods … mild anemia, so he’s taking folic acid and iron tablets … only EUR5.50 for 3 months supply … we do love Greek medical prices. BUT of more concern, is his high LDL cholesterol. So what is one to do … iron is in liver and red meat, but they’re bad for his chloresterol! Anyways, fried foods, processed meats etc are all off the menu. Quite hard to choose ‘healthy’ options off Greek menus … salad?? I might actually have to start cooking more often! I won’t describe the effect of our increased consumption of beans, legumes and pulses is having on us! The cardiologist did confess that diet and exercise can only improve up to 30% of the bad cholesterol reading … genetics is responsible for the rest.
New breakfast regime: low fat yogurt loaded with dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Apparently 5 handfuls of almonds alone can have a beneficial impact on cholesterol, but that’s 500 calories before you munch on anything else!
1436: Move to Matala
Saturday 8th February
Whilst we waited for the heart monitor results, we drove south to Matala. Jane who we had met in Paleochora, had arrived in Kalives and followed us down … until I, in the lead vehicle (Jez), overtook a slow truck, J soon followed in the AndyPandyCar, leaving Jane lost at a junction. Oops. She soon caught us up and we all installed ourselves, beach edge in the Matala carpark. The last time we were here in March 2018, we’d stayed for free on the run down campsite … free power, toilet emptying and water. We’d checked that it looked open when we had lunch here November 2019, but since then the campsite has been taken over and is being developed. I guess the new owner doesn’t want a load of free loaders and hippies abusing his investment. The lack of hippies did rather affect the atmosphere of Matala though. It felt pretty empty, which is a shame as the pony tailed residents used to frequent the bars and add a bit of colour.
In the afternoon, I took CO2 over the hill to Red Beach … a nudist beach according to the guide book … but not a person, let alone a naked one! We found an open restaurant for supper … so much for my cooking more often!
View from our windscreen … couldn’t be any closer to the beach.
Well signed to the Red Beach.
Matala and the Caves.
Heading down into Red Beach.
1437: Agio Farago Gorge Walk
Sunday 9th February
We had attempted to get a previous hire car down the dirt track in November and had aborted as we feared for the suspension. Since then, we’ve become old hands at dirt tracks and the Silly Sat Nav took us a different long route in, via Kali Limenes, with views of the oil tankers feeding the tanks on the island just offshore … consequently this area has not developed as a tourist resort. We bumped along the dirt track to a small parking I remembered and then the 3 of us with 4 dogs, Jane has 2 whippets, walked sown the gorge to the beach for a picnic lunch. Some interesting rocks and a church en route, but not too long and an easy walk. A few chained dogs detracted from the enjoyment.
The monks used to use one of the large caves as a meeting room.
Church in the gorge.
Sunny picnic spot.
Better to remember to carry a spade then!
And again, we clearly cannot remove our clothes!
1438: Lunch in Lendas
Monday 10th February
Jane stayed in Matala in search of a local vet, as one of the whippets had a poorly paw, so J and I set off with C02. Destination Lendes … Brian had told us about the great scenery over the pass … we had to do that on the way back as the Silly Sat Nav found us a more direct route this time. Along another dirt track and past a monastery … there are a lot of these (and chapels) in Crete. This monastery, didn’t make it into the guide book, but we had a small stop … it seemed fairly affluent.
Silly Sat Nav found us pretty decent dirt track …
… which ‘wendas’ to Lendas!
Whilst these look like Mexican abodes, they are cells at the monastery, either for monks or pilgrims, as they were outside the main complex.
Lendas is an understated resort and reminded us a bit of Loutro, but with a pulse. It had real people (a few out of season) and we found an open restaurant … OK the menu choice was very limited … salad and pork belly or port chops on the grill, but we got fed. So not doing well on cholesterol reducing menus!
Lendas reminded us a bit of Loutro, but we preferred it … a village before tourism.
Known for its rock arch.
The return trip over the mountains above Lendas.
1439: Votomos Lake, an Aborted Walk and Monastries
Tuesday 11th February
Having cottoned on the Sat Nav’s silliness, I navigated us on tarmac to Votomos Lake. A manmade emerald lake just north of Zaros, where one of the main brands of spring water is bottled. The Lake is fed from a spring, created in 1987 and is stocked with trout. Sadly all the restaurants were shut as fish would have been a good menu choice! As it was we picnicked by the lake on fruit – tick, and some fava (split peas) – another tick.
Our walk took us from the lake, past the Agios Nikolaos Monastery and up into the Rouvas Gorge, where we planned to walk a large section. Once past the monastery, we quickly aborted and leashed CO2 … caterpillar pods suspended from the pine trees and cater pillars crawling all over them, dropping …. for the uninitiated, their hairs are irritant and can be lethal to dogs. We’ve hardly seen any pods until this area of Crete.
We stopped at two sister, or should that be brother (?) monasteries on the way home. Shut for lunch, so we couldn’t go in. But much more attractive than the Agios Nikolaos.
The pic doesn’t do the emerald colour of the lake justice.
The Agios Nikolaos monastery was particularly unattractive … modern and right next to a quarry.
Much more attractive, but shut for a long lunch, was the Vrontisi Monastery, so we couldn’t go inside the church.
With its massive plane trees.
1440: Three Goats and a Banjo
Wednesday 12th February
On the previous evening Jane had got stuck in some sand that had drifted onto the car park. A local had offered to come back today with a stronger tuck to tow her out … our supposedly 5 ton tow rope broke so was consigned to the tip when it’d been used last night. It certainly wouldn’t have been strong enough to tow us without and sticky sand. The local volunteer rescue didn’t show, so the 3 of us set to and dug down to the tarmac, so Jane could drive out.
It may not look much, but I can assure a LOT of digging took place here, with one small spade and two dust pans.
We returned to Kalives to see the band Three Goats and a Banjo. We’ve met Eric a few times and his OH, Suzanna once at the open mic nights in Almyrida. We dined whilst listening to the folk music with Ann, a friend of hers, and Jane. J’s menu choice was a Greek burger on the premise that feta cheese is less unhealthy … but chips still seemed to play a part! The band exceeded our expectations, and these were high to start with. Excellent musicianship and harmony. And a number of well known Irish ditties.
Three Goats and a Banjo. Even performed the Fields of Athen Rye … I spotted J signing along!
1441: Another Meal Out???
Thursday 13th February
Jane and I headed into Chania with laundry. You meet all the best people at laundrettes. We met a lady of Danish origin, who’d married a Cretan, had two boys, divorced him, worked her socks off with 3 jobs and then met a Norwegian, who can only come to Crete 3 months in 6, as Norway is not part of EU … but their relationship works and works well. We talked about Greek machoism (locking a 3 year old in a dark room to cure him of the dark!), families, love at first sight etc … one of these completely open conversations that you sometimes only have with strangers.
Jane also dragged me to a second hand shop … two items purchased for EUR10.50 and one was a long Esprit corduroy skirt, as new! The second hand shops system works differently here … they are not charity shops. The donor receives 40% of the sale price and only a few will donate their proceeds to charities.
Michelle and Michalis, have just sold their restaurant in Kalives, so now have free evenings … we all went to Three brother and a Cook in Stylos … amazing freshly cooked food … my chicken with veg cooked in a parcel (pouch on the menu), was only EUR5 … hardly worth cooking at these prices. J did well … chicken patties with a yogurt sauce and NO CHIPS!! One of our table was the lively Monsieur Georges, an octogenarian who was passed running up the hill as we drove home.
1442: What Out Three Nights in a Row!?!?
Friday 14th February
An easy day, no surprises there. Then we moved Jez up to Drapanos, to the friend of a friend’s driveway, which we’ve parked on before. Then took the AndyPandyCar back down to a bar in Almyrida to meet Julia & Anthony and June and Karl … to support them in a Mr and Mrs Competition. Anthony was in trouble … they’d been practising questions and he forgot all his stock answers … they came last! Unbeknownst to them, there was a music quiz before the Mr and Mrs … think I know the answer to 3 of 60 questions. Perhaps I should have done the Mr and Mrs!? Back up the hill to Drapanos and supper at one of our favourite restaurants … Eleanore’s … chicken for me and meatballs, with … chips for James … oh dear!
1443: Wet, Wet, Wet and a Recovery
Saturday 15th February
Pretty grotty weather, we may not have Storm Dennis, but we’ve had a lot of rain. A few chores including food shopping … planning to eat in a few nights! Jane had planned to head back to Paleochora, but her van wouldn’t start … jump leads to the ready. Recovery for Jane … again!
We waterproofed ourselves and drove to Georgiopolis for a wet walk on the beach. We left CO2 in the doggy dry bags … to get warm and dry, whilst we did the same in a cafe! A quiet night in, no booze, light supper and early to bed! Thankfully … we’re struggling to party 3 nights back to back! Recovery mode for us before we go into limp mode. I’m sure its nothing to do with age … just out of practice!