05/22: Amari Gorge Tour

Since the last trip, we’ve had some fun, mostly based at home.  Highlights include:

  • A musical lunch at the Botanical Gardens with friends
  • Various meals with friends …. still not loosing weight!

And Danny and Lisa visited from Thornaby.  They became part of our Turkish lockdown family.  We’ve been up to see them and they stayed in our Devon house in January.  Danny had been unable to get a dental appointment for 18 months … what is that all about?!  So for EUR50, he had a filling replaced over here.  could have had a next day appointment, so we are moving into Dental Tourism as a money making exercise!  just don’t expect your flight to arrive on time!  Once that was down, we headed off to Spinalonga for 2 nights.  Lisa only just managed to finish ‘The Island’ before we arrived.  We parked up at Plaka beach for 2 nights, visited the island and ate out.  Super hot so used a bar’s sun loungers and had a few swims.  En route, we stopped at Knossos (Minoan main city) and on the way back at Moni Arkadi.   And we managed just fine all 4 of us plus CO2 in the van.    We also has a WW2 tour about the start of the invasion … will probably repeat this with the Aged Ps in October.

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Knossos.

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Spinalonga Island and Elounda behind.

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Danny and Lisa are not lepers, honest!

So Danny and Lisa left on Monday.  House cleaned Tuesday.  Next guests arrive on the 11th June … we have a few weeks to head off in the van … yay!

 

Potamon / Potamoi Dam

Wednesday 25th May 2022 (IRemembering Nicky’s who would have been 57th today)

Before we collected Jez, we went via Chania for J to pick up his repaired hearing aid … he’s been on one working for over a week.  And let me tell you 50% of hearing aids is not equal to 50% hearing loss.  I am sure people think I must be more unpleasant than I am, due to the aggressive sounding shouting.  And he has missed most of the conversations when any background noise.  

Our 2nd chore was to take Jez to a Fiat garage to have a new remote key programmed.  When we were thinking of selling Jez last summer, I hid 2 sets of remote keys, along with all locker etc keys somewhere SAFE.  Of course, we kept hoping they would turn up.  The van has been emptied and turned over, but at some point (probably much earlier than now) it is sensible to get a replacement key.  Especially as we are thinking of Turkey come July.  So down some narrow lanes to the Fiat service centre.  A chap came out and wanted to drive Jez down to the back of the garage, between a wall and lots of parked cars.  It was TIGHT.  I don’t know if he had ever driven a right hand vehicle before.  Keys programmed … apparently if we do find the missing 2 sets they will no longer work anyway!  But then I had to reverse out.  J was my rear end man and another man on the front …. big sigh of relief when out onto the road.

Only 1.5 hours drive to Potomon Resevoir  We’ve stayed here before, but this time we’ve moved around the other side of the dam.  So hot, we got the chairs out and sat in the shade of the van reading and knitting.  Peaceful views only briefly disturbed by a drone!  What?!?  Two photographers and a bride and groom for a photo shoot.    And thankfully CO2 didn’t jump on her!  Once it cooled down, I walked CO2 to the junction of the road we want tomorrow.  It was impassable on our last visit here due to massive subsidence.  It’s been re- tarmaced and slipped again.  Along with landslip across the carriageway and encroaching foliage making sections single track, but passable.  Signs up declaring it a ’slow speed road’!  And no prizes guessing for the person who didn’t pack the mossie spray! I’m OK, J is my decoy!

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Potomon Resevoir.  For the second night we moved up to the chapel.

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We’d gone cheap on a replacement roof light, and it doesnt open as far as the previous one.  After exploring lots of alternative routes up the roof, I finally managed to get through the aperture and cleaned off the various Sahara dust storms.

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The wedding shoot.  Do wish men would have their too long trousers turned up!  Lovely dress, but grey from the dirt at the bottom.

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View for the chapel parking.

Patsos Gorge

Thursday 26th May

We ran the dodgy road but only for a 3km run.  Getting warm.  And recently we’ve been driving to where it is virtually flat to run, so the hills were taking it out of us.  A short drive the Patsos Gorge.  Anther revisit.  Very pretty … a (much) younger couple ahead of us indicated that it was impassable from the bridge, so we aborted on part of the climb down.  Into the taverna there for lunch.  Decided to head back to Potomon reservoir, but stayed next to the chapel.  More shade and higher up to less mossies.

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A prayer to St Anthony and you don’t need your crutches to walk out of the gorge.

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Lots of prayer offerings and scraps of written prayers stuck into the rocks.

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Patsos Gorge.

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Syvritos by Thronos, Monistraki a mistake, and Moni Asmaton a ruin

Friday 27th May

We stopped by a church in Agia Fotini to ’steel’ some water.  Such high pressure, it should have been called Agia Fountainii!  I did a mini hand wash, filled the van.  Proper working town so managed to buy mossie repellant and itch cream from a pharmacy.  J suggested a cold drink at the cafe …. good to ‘pay’ the town for the water.

A sort hop onto Thronos, destination Syvritos.  J is normally up for most of my suggestions.  He had some comments on this mini excursion though.  Mostly along the lines of the sense in climbing a rocky track in the heat of the day.  And hadn’t we seen enough Minoan sites already.  At the top, he sat with CO2 in the shade and I went to explore Syvritos.  I was back pretty quickly.  It was so overgrown that there was very little to see.  Just a few signs denoting building A or B.  Thorny bushes so couldn’t even walk around what was there.  Ho hum!  It was much quicker going back down to Jez.  Had to move the van from a dirt area as apparently that was the bus parking!  Lunch in the shade with a breeze.

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View from the climb to Syvritos.

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Was the climb worth it James?

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Not when this is all there is to be seen!

Then onto Moni Asmaton and just before we arrived, J suggested an ice cream at a cafe …a quick swerve and parked.  Coffee and ice cream. I looked at the map … Mono Asmaton was all of 150m away.  So I left J with CO2.  A stunning ruin with an intact chapel in the middle.  From 1927 to the 80’s it had been an agricultural school.  One much newer building had been replastered recently.  It would make a good hotel complex.  I was tempted to ‘lift’ a couple of shutters and doors to decorate the patio area in Almyrida, but would have had to walk back past the cafe with my swag!  Too embarrassing.  

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Is Moni Asmaton worth walking to James?

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 Yes, it was! 

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We drove towards Monistraki.  Another ancient site with a parking that promised views (ergo a breeze) and water.  Errr … not down that road we aint!  Sat nav re-routed us to another unfeasibly narrow road with over hanging trees and parked cars.  A 5 point turn and the bemused faces of locals as we passed by them on the way outta town!  Similarly we headed to Amari, but it didn’t seem to have any larger roads.  Another 5 point turn.  Ooh a lovely parking identified with water, a breeze and on a hill top.  We arrived and decided we may have got Jez up there and under the arch, but then again … Abort.  Tired now, we went for safety.  And drove down to Komos Beach.  We had cycled here previously when we have stayed at Matala.  Much as we like Matala, we knew it would be rammed with a small beach.

We arrived.  Parked.  I swam.  And availed ourselves of cold drinks from the mobile snack bar.  Once the beach front parking cleared out, I moved the van into a prime position.

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Our prime beach front parking at Komos Beach.

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We used the Snack Shack … 

Having been the solo van it felt a bit congested to now be one of 4 vans.  A D, Ch and Greek rental.  The German Swiss chap I disliked.  He seemed to think it was to let his large German Shepard roam free.  Disturbed CO2, who promptly shot out under our new £600 door flatscreen.  Minor damage.  The concertina trellis was no deterrent.  Humpf! 

05.22: Mini Road Trip East Crete 2

Chiona And Xerokambos

4th & 5th May 2022

We started the day with a run. Fab views over the Chiona Bay.  Set off on a walk up to the Peak Sanctuary associated with the Minoan site of Palaikastro, but it was super steep and full of loose stones.  We aborted, but still skidded our way down.  James landed heavily, which for a diminishing man (loosing weight … I’m not!), is quite a feat.  He has the bottom bruise to show for it.

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Views from our aborted walk, the Peak required peak fitness!

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Relocated to Xerkambos.  3 sandy beaches but only inhabited by a Dutch man being shot blasted by the sand.  I chatted with his wife about the treasures of Crete.  They are here for 2 months, will leave the car and return in September by plane to save the ferry expenses.  It is sunny still but the winds are at 37kmph and gusting at over 60.  The van is facing the wind and the hab door tied back.  We are passing the time with walks to the beaches and  the salt lake and coffee / wine in one of the 2 tavernas.  I dont much fancy driving Jez in these winds so were are here another night.  

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The cafe yesterday brought us a tasty advert  … lemon chicken and potatoes. We shall eat here on night 2.

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Our Xerkambos parking for 2 nights.

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The salt lake.  

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Even the taverna staff were bringing in the tables and chairs due to the winds.

Voila, but with a Greek accent, Kapsa Monastery and Gorge

6th May 2022

A stunning drive up over the hills.  We had been this way before, but in a hurry.  We had been headed for Ierapetra to get new acquired Corrie her booster injections and have no memory of how remarkable the scenery was.  We tend to think the west of Crete has the best scenery, but this area is special.  

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Up in the hills it was a short detour to an abandoned Medieval village with a Venetian fountain, called Voila.  Wondered if it had a French connection.  Chatted to a lovely Greek dog walker who explained that one property had been pretty much restored so people could see what the interior looked like.  She was a geologist who worked in hotels. Time again we find people with degrees as Doctors, teachers etc who cannot get work in their field or it is better paid to work in tourism.  

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Then the day didn’t quite go to plan.  We parked up by the Kapsa Monastery.  Incredible location, hanging in rocks.  Got chatting to two lovely Canadian couples who had flown their bikes in.  Needless to say they looked super fit and lean.  But whilst chewing the fat (ours not theirs!), we watched a chap arrive by car … as we were about to go into to the monastery and chapel, he came out and told us it was now closed.  10 minutes early too!  

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Kapsa Monastary.

Lunch back in the van.  J nanny napped and then we walked back along the road to the Pervolakia Gorge.  We managed to scrabble up quite a few boulders before calling a halt.  Corrie being a Greek mountain goat, bounds up and over, stopping periodically to check we are still coming.  Oscar, our solid plodder, however, was struggling to find purchase with his claws.  And after a a bit of a slide down a large rock, I called a halt.  It’s quite handy being able to blame the dog for our not completing a 9km there and back gorge walk.  I did read after that this gorse is considered challenging.  Note to self, do thorough research first!

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Pervolakia Gorge … looks easy at the mouth!

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Cave Dog.  Otherwise known as Hanibel Lecter!!!  

The muzzle is to stop him eating everything … bones, poop etc.  We can’t seem to get through to him that he wouldn’t have to wear it if he refrained from making himself ill.

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We bimbled further west along the south coast looking for a remote spot to stay.  All the turnings looked too rough of narrow, so we ended up in Makrigiolos.  Our hearts dropped on arrival as it was wall to wall hotel complex.  But we knew there was a car park along side the beach.  And it was right on the beach.  And the original, much more charming,  part of the village was from here on.  An ice cream and a glass of wine helped us forget the horrors of hotel complexes.  But the wine wasn’t sufficient to knock us out so we didn’t hear the 2.00 a.m. revellers walking past.  Why is it drunk people have not quiet button?

 

Pefka Gorge

7th May 2022

Just a little way back into the modern part of Makrigiolos is the start of the Pefka Gorge.  Billed as being much more accessible.  We knew we wouldn’t make it all the way to the top as it was over 6 km each way.  And today was warm.  Now I’m going to blame Oscar again!!!  Corrie being Greek, sun bathes in direct heat at 32C.  Oscar melts at 20C.  I prune his fur but he still pants.  And we had an incident a few weeks back where he had a mini fit from over heating.  So we are careful of him.  So we made it a little way up the gorge before deciding O had had enough!  Lunch was back in the old part of Makrigiolos.  

This was our last activity before heading back home.  Dropping and emptying the van at the secure airport parking.  Picking up the car and heading back to Almyrida.  We’d had a great trip and it totally reminded us of why a) we love touring in Jez and b) how wonderfully diverse Crete is and c) how Oscar can be blamed for everything!

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 View of Makrigiolos from the Pefka Gorge.  The walk was more along the top of it than in it.

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Bonus pic … not every day you get to see James’ bottom!  His bruise from where he slid coming down a mountain is developing nicely!

 

 

 


04.22: Mini Road Trip East Crete 1

Heading East

Friday 19th April

Kalimera readers – James here blogging after a long gap – for all kinds of reasons…..   We Jazzed to the east of Kriti – via Heraklion for a new Jez key – we seem to misplace keys – occasionally…  (K:  What he kindly doesn’t say is that I hid two sets of Jez keys somewhere safe.  Along with the roof box keys.  News sets all round required!) We wild camped overnight in exactly the same spot as 4 years ago – big Spinalonga.

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A repeat overnight … just over onto Big Spinalonga

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K walked up to a chapel and later when looked oat our blog from 4 years ago saw I’d taken the exact same photo.

Pachia Ammos

Saturday 30th April 2020

While wrestling with the roof box on our Suzuki car, I strained my wrist – painful – so Nurse Clune bandaged (not banjaxed) me up. No running and an easy day and Lidl shopping… 

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Nurse Katherine LOL!  A tea towel was sacrificed to make a bandage and dog lead used as a sling.  K wasn’t a Girl Guide for nothing, even if they did ask her to leave!

Tholos Beach

Sunday 1st May 2020

Another lovely beach overnight – hair pruning – moi and big O…In the morning, I ran and K did Pilates of the Caribbean – or Aegean…I’ve got up to 5Km walking and running – keeping my pulse rate below 106/120 max. We’ll run/walk a half marathon in October – to accompany Maddy and Jordan – virtually – raising money for MacMillan nurses…

We liked Tholos.  One close Taverna and a few bodies (alive).  Only the Brits were sunbathing with a needed wind break. Walked to the end of the beach and spotted a chemical loo  (which we used: not us but our cassette). 

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Tholos Granary was used in Roman times.  Goods were shipped in and stored until they were sent by pack horse to a port on the South.  The question has to be, why didn’t the ship just sail to the next port?

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Tholos Beach and some geezer taken from the granary.

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 Corrie STOP!

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Oscar post pruning.  J had his head sheared too! 

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We do not have a choice.  Too many so called friends have spoilt CO2 and now they expect to have a bed snuggle every morning.  Corrie goes to extremes and lays her head on a pillow and is often under the duvet!

Mochlos

Monday 2nd May 2020

Parked at Mochlos – as 4 years ago…  Am – drove to the town – it rained – sought refuge in a taverna – for local lunch – aubergine salad, fava and moussaka (K:  You forgot about your side order of fries James!) – noshtimo! 

Overnight was near Sitia … a turtle hatching beach.  Again a spot revisited.  K checked when turtles come up to lay eggs on the beach (May-to September is the answer) and did a recconnaisance walk before releasing our beasts.  Locals smiled and waved at us or even came and had a CO2 cuddle.  Nowhere have we found people to be as friendly as in Greece.

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Looking back to Tholos Beach.  

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Mochlos.  When it rains  what to do but have lunch.  Last time we were here we sat outside and watched a cat try to climb a pole to reach a squid hung out to dry.  Today we watched rivulets of water come under the restaurant awning.

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Fortunately the sun came out as we walked back to Jez.

Sitia and onto Chiona

Tuesday 3rd May 2020

City of Sitia  – walk – seeking a phone case, cable – no luck so will order online. Lovely city Sitia.  Proper working town. Obligatory coffee… 

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Yep, cold and windy.  May in Crete!

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Roman Fisheries.

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Coffee stop.

Drove to Toplou Monastery – famous building – and scene of defences against Ottomans and Germans…..Well worth the Euro 8 for entrance. Ecclesiastical vestments and altar bits – reminded me of being an altor boy in Glasthule St Joseph’s…

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Toplou Mnastery.  It’s wealthy as they own tracts of land on this this western point.

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And it does look like a fortress.  Part of the museum was guns from the Ottoman resistance and WW2.  It seems incongruous but most Greek priests and monks took up arms.

On to our overnight stay at Chiona.  We chose a different restaurant to last time we we were here, just to shake it up a bit!

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So far it has been too cold, wet and windy to get the stand up paddle board out.  It is travelling strapped into CO2’s sofa …. they have to take turns and occasionally they both manage to get up there.

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Chiona Beach Wetlands.

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Chiona Beach.

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Nearby Palaikastro Minoan site.  It was second in size to Knossos but not fully excavated.  Free to wander as no warden or box for the EUR3 fee.

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Local sausages for J.

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Possibly the best shrimp saganaki I’ve had.


Another Catch Up!

Update … Another One!

Feb to April 2022

We parted the UK shores with Jez fully laden with more stuff destined for our Crete house.  Still had to leave some things behind, but we’ve been ‘allowed’ a storage unit in the Aged P’s new house car barn.  You can imagine our excitement after having had to remove everything down to a toothbrush as the Aged p’s downsized.  The storage unit is currently is home to a heavy combination microwave cooker and various items of camping kit.  Plus some things we will use when we are back in the UK in the motorhome.

We travelled to Crete via Antibes to spend 2 days with James’ daughter Sarah and family.  Quite a compliment that 5 year old Jade wanted to spend a few hours with us alone whilst Sarah was at a party with Cian.  Jade was amazed at our strange home on wheels.  A bed that comes down from the roof.  A wardrobe under the bed.  Cupboards under the floor.  She was determined to use our strange toilet and so did!

Back on Crete we spent a few nights in Jez in the Kalives carpark, near our house.  We needed to clean (or so we thought, but our lovely gardener who had been checking on the house had cleaned for us!) and unpack.  We picked up a hire car, another Andy Pandy Car (Fiat Panda).  Small but serviceable, but it took several loads to get our stuff up to our house.  And the house needed a lot of sorting to accommodate our new stuff.

We had ordered a new car, a Suzuki Vitara back in November.  We knew ETAs were sliding with supply issues so we popped into the Suzuki dealership to ascertain a realistic date.  Yep, not March, more likely May/June.  Ooh er … we are paying for a hire car.  Do you have anything else available?  An, XXX but another EUR2000.  The charming Mathew said I’ll check the computer but I really don’t think so.  Then his eyebrows waggled and we held our breath.  Yes, exactly the same spec as ours due in 3 weeks.  Destined for a lease company but they wouldn’t know / mind if they had ours many months later.  And it came with a better media panel (basically and android tablet).  Under 3 weeks later, it was ours.  Any names suggestions welcome … it’s grey and reg is XNY3632?  After the debacle with Zorba, which was such a great name, we’ve not thought of anything suitable.  So we now have a hopefully reliable car with a 5 year warranty, after all the car and van costs of last summer!

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Nameless car.

I was back to the UK for a few days in March for the Aged p’s 60th birthday celebration and Mum’s birthday a few days before … no diet then!

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Jez has been stored at an airport car park with CCTV, gates and security 24/7.  A great rate of EUR180 for 5 months.  We’ve taken him out twice now, leaving the car in his place.  Robyn came over in March and we headed off around the main sights of the west.  The weather was bloody awful  The first night was sooo windy, only James slept.  Must be the sleep of the innocent!  I lay there thinking that I couldn’t wake Robyn in the bed over the cab to move the van to a more sheltered spot.  And Robyn lay there thinking, if this were my van I’d move it.  We made sure we found more sheltered spots after!  Our trip included Stavros (Zorba’s famous dance was filmed here), Falsarna, Elephonisi, Paleochora and Matala.  There is no road along the south coast, so twice we headed north only to come south again.  On one such drive, we had snow piled 2ft high either side of us, hail, snow, rain and wind!  We were wearing all our clothes and using the van heating … in March in Crete!  The worst March weather Crete has had in 35 years!

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Got a stick happy dance from Oscar on Elaphonisi.

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Sheltered overnight at a monastery.

The Aged P’s came over for 11 days.  We rented an AirBnB house near Agious Nikolas.  An ice cream in Ag Nik, Big Spinalonga walk and a meal in Plaka and a drive around the Lasithi Plateau.  Great mini trip, but again cold and windy.  Given the Aged P’s are wine connoisseurs (alcoholics!), we did a wine tasting and compared wines from another tasting J and I had done.  You wouldn’t come to Crete for the wine … it’s expensive for the quality compared to other EU countries … as the Aged P’s have told me after their Bulgarian wine tasting 2 days ago!

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Chill time on our patio.

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Navigating a steep down, up and a ford at the Botanical Gardens.  A good lunch was at the reward.

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The Ag Nik Glutton.  A rare species 

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View finally of the Lasithi Plateau a bendy drive up.

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The wine snob.  To be fair, it was rank.

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A chicken diner delivery on our balcony, after a couple of mojitos!

Maddy arrived for 6 days.  She’s in the last throes of her MA so did a few hours most days essay writing, sleeping and chilling.  She and Jordan are back in June for 2 weeks.

Otherwise, we’ve met up with good friends who live near us, had a few walks, and done admin.  Amazing how the time flies!  We finally got to meet our lovely landlady, who was over staying with her partner’s family.  She has assured us that she’s happy for us to continue renting long term, so we’re good to do a few things to the house.  Small world here.  I had admired a painting in one of our favourite restaurants.  Googled the artist and messaged her.  Lives not far and yes she has a studio / gallery near her home  I booked to view her work for a couple of weeks hence.  Half an hour later a message from our landlady … the artist is the mother of her partner!  The artist’s name is an unlikely Balsam Wood … how cool is that. And we now have a lovely painting hanging on our wall.

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2022.01: Unplanned UK Winter

Update …

Sept 21 to Jan 2022

A long time since the last post.  Whilst few significant things occurred we seem to have been busy!

 

James’ Heart

The bypass was scheduled for early October.  J was in the hospital, had ordered his dinner and was then told that it was to be postponed.  Too many staff off sick from the Covid booster.  By this time, I was at the Aged Ps and about to have dinner.  The hospital was a good hour away and more with rush hour traffic.  So J ate his hospital pasta and I had my meal before I fetched him … was that so wrong of me?!  As visitors are not allowed, I’d booked myself busy for 5 days whilst he was supposedly in hospital.  So James came with me … a few nights at Stonehenge wild camping with the motorhome having a few more repairs.  And then overnight up in Twickenham helping a friend clear the attic prior to moving house.

In the end the surgery was 26th October just over 2 weeks later.  He was under a good surgeon, but he had to leave so the substitute was an even better bet.  The top Prof, who rang me himself early evening.  He’s big, as in top man, in beating heart surgery.  Yes, that is a thing.  I had to google it as the consultant had not mentioned it and neither of us was keen to know the specifics of the actual surgery.  I subsequently read about beating heart and skipped over the video that started with the incision into the skin, and would have gone onto the whole procedure … too much info for a sensitive me!  In essence, the heart and lungs are not put onto a pump but are able to operate as normal.  Suction holds the part of the heart still where the surgeon is working.  Pump / normal open heart surgery around been since the 1950’s.  Beating heart since 1995, so still relatively new … not all all open heart surgery suitable for beating heart.  The surgeon told me his recovery would be much quicker and so it proved.  

James surpassed all the milestones and was walking a few miles within a week and a half  Very little pain from his chest unless he sneezed!  Paracetamol was sufficient and that was for his upper back discomfort.  The nurse explained this pain is due to the position they put you in to prise open your chest.  He’s itching to get running, even short distances, but that’s a few weeks off. And then we’ll be back into the hills of Crete!

The cardiac nurse team are amazing.  They respond quickly to emails and calls and we’ve had one assessment meeting with them.  He’s been given exercises to do 3x a week and we’ve been walking a lot building distance and speed.  The Rolex is off … replaced by a Fitbit so he can ensure his heart rate doesn’t go above 106!  I was slightly envious, of his new Versa 3, which includes built in GPS and its olive green … my colour and mine’s only a Versa 2!!!

 

Family and Friends

Lots of getting togethers … mostly lunches!  Our theory was that we’d eat out once a week, but fine dining.  We could afford to do this is we dispensed with ordinary lunches and coffee & cakes.  Using the Michelin app, we booked into a number of local Michellin plate restaurants for set lunches.  All well and good, but we still seemed to have the odd pub lunch and those coffees!   I discovered the Bognor Fishermen’s Association fresh fish stall … so we’ve eaten skate, a whole brill and Dover sole … yum.  Bonus of Bognor is a wonderful homemade open all year ice cream parlour!

And Christmas  … a proper family Christmas.  Our last was 2018.  Again Clare and Chris hosted and we all took bits …but C did the bulk of the work.  It was truly brilliant. Party games, cards etc.  And Boxing Day 3 meats and salads.  All yum!  And Maddy and Jordan came down on Christmas afternoon and stayed Boxing Day until Jordan had to return home to watch Chelsea with his family!  He’s a lovely chap, but sadly he’s into that round ball game instead of rugby!

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All our van Christmas decorations were in Crete, so I raided Poundland …. our tree!  If you can call it that!  Supposed to light up … wasn’t worth taking back for a refund!! 

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Every year the Aged Ps purchase Christmas stocking gifts whilst on their travels.  There was a lot from the UK this year! 

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Arundel.  Wed been for a Michellin plate lunch and walk and then booked a city walking tour for a few days later when Frances and Edward visited us.

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Arundel castle.

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Whole brill cooked with hassleback potatoes in the motorhome with Michelle and Craig.

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Misty Stonehenge.

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Maddy’s graduation.  Did I mention she gained a 1st?!!

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Kalives is the nearest town to us in Crete … found this boat at Chichester marina.  No owner around to ask why it is so named.

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Mum repeated oft that there is NO STORAGE at their new house.  All our stuff was cleared out and under duress they will store a bulky coat and wash kit.  Then they took pity on us … I was offered space to put a storage box in the car barn!  I put it together too.  Needless to say, it is now FULL.

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We’ve really come to like the area around Chichester.  It may be flat, but lots of inlets and wiggly coastline.


Campsites

Whilst the weather was good we stayed at Connor House and mostly Woodlands Farm 5 pitch site.  Lovely couple run Woodlands … very basic but woods with deer.  However, the lack of sunshine meant the solars were just not harvesting sufficient juice to run all our gadgets and heating.  I was also concerned that post surgery J would need to be kept warm and whilst our gas is super efficient (radiators and under floor heating), I did not want to keep moving the van for gas refills.  So we needed EHU.  And with impending bad weather … hard standing.   Being nearly 5 ton we have a tendency to sink!  We moved to one site, intending to stay there, but the owners were a bit off.  Told me off for putting on the awning light when I took CO2 for their night time pee, would not let us move to the sunny side, even though we planned to stay till January.  So we voted with our wheels and moved to another site.  We were really happy here until the owner doubled the price (we had been using a lot of power at one point as there was a severe cold snap) and the field we were in became very muddy.  I got serious pee’d off with soggy doggies and mud splatters … despite doggy dry bags.  After New Year we moved to another site with proper concrete hard standing … woken every morning at 6.00 am but the tractor … lovely walking there though.  Finally we ended up at Concierge Camping.  Famed for being on a motorhome TV programme where one chappie in his posh van declared he liked it here, as it was expensive enough that he knew he would only meet people like him.  Well, I dont think he can of been there when we were … as with all our accumulated mud (van, CO2 and us) we definitely lowered the tone.  To be honest, it is worth every penny, as the facilities are fab – even a free ice making machine and dog shower.  And at the weekend there is quality Thai street food for sale.  

I think we’ve experienced most of the suitable sites now in and around Chichester … if you need a recommendation?

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Deer at Woodlands Farm. They come down from the Downs in winter and the noise they make at night and during rutting is somewhat unnerving.

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The cold snap at Sunnyside.


Tythe Barn House

Having not been to our Devon house that is used as holiday lets for over a year, we’ve used it a lot this year.  Quarantine back in May. A quickie when the Aged Ps and Clare & Chris used it in May.  November for 2 weeks as it was between guests … the thought of J recuperating with more space was attractive.  And he normally does the washing up but was excused chores, and it has a dishwasher!  Nothing selfish on my part!!!  Then we’ve had some damp work done so we stayed whilst the plaster was drying and then for 2 weeks in January.  We probably won’t get back down there till 2023!  Lovely to be able to share it with family and friends.

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The kitchen had been mostly packed away for the damp work … the housekeeper seemed to know which kitchen kit was most important to us!!

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The main Combe Martin beach with the tide out. 

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The other beach at Combe Martin … with the tide out!

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After a storm at Woolacombe beach.

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Regular walking / running route around Whistlandpound reservoir, especially after some of the humungous downpours we had as the track is mostly firm.

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Walk along to Hebdon Mouth

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Hebdon Mouth

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A Devon road … a motorhome is a no go!

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Baggy Point walk.

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Nothing Baggy about this man!

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Baggy Point looking across to the 2 miles of Woolacombe beach … we did sample the Thai fishcakes at the cafe this end.

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Hang dog – Kelsey is not used to sharing the comfy spot!

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Clovelly is a private estate with gardens and a village.  The ticket was valid for a week, so we went with Lisa and Danny and then with Robyn.

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Fab walk with rushing water and mossy boulders at Watersmeet with Robyn. 

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It was David’s birthday when the Turkish Lockdown family stayed  Lisa did decorations and I did a meal.

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I did warn them that Devon is the wet test country … non stop rain!  Sunny the day after they left, of course!  This pic was taken at the Rocks near Lynmouth.

Mini Tour of North Kent

Loved it.  We intended starting at Gravesend and following the coast around.  But we had to return to Chichester earlier than planned as we (J specifically) had to isolate prior to surgery, and we found so much of interest that we didnt move as fast as we thought we would.  And of course, he was still getting very tired, so we were mostly active in the mornings.  Definitely unfinished business.

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Gravesend Temple.  A wedding was going on but the guests were happy to chat.  Had a free tour and were offered free food. Classes, older person clubs, sports gourds etc … money here but used for the community.

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Guess where this wedding guest made his money!

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Also in Gravesned a WW2 festival.

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We also visited Rochester, but we really liked Chatham Dockyard.  So much to do and the ticket was valid for a year so we went back a second day and still did not see it all.  This is one of the massive old dry dock coverings.

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The Ropery is one of the longest brick built buildings in Europe.  Length determined by the metres required for an anchor rope.  And this is still in use.

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Bikes are used by staff to get from one end to another.  The building would not meet current work regulations … all the windows gaped.  On our tour of the Ropery, I got to have a go at twining rope and came away with a sample. 


 

 

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