1425-1433: North and South Walking

1425: Move to Polyrizos

Tuesday 28th January 2019

So we drove down to Polyrizos, where we stayed when the Aged P’s were here in October.  Very different now … none of the restaurants were open, but the shop was open in the mornings.  Chrysoula, who runs the shop and the Aged P’s accommodation, recognised me, which was nice.  

After lunch we walked pretty much as far as we could westward, until a farmer told us we not could go any further … we’d only wanted to look over the next bay, but had to turn back after he waved his arms at us … ho hum.

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Would that be another beachside parking?

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Walk along Peristeres Beach, where General Kripe, the WW2 German Commander, was bundled off Crete by the British / Greek resistance.

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Hill views further on … the coast line here really is special with the mountains falling into the sea.

1426-1428 : Cleaning, Knitting, Coastal Walk and a Sun Tan 

Wednesday 29th -Friday 31st January 

J seemed to be sleeping for England, or should that be for Ireland, so we had an easy couple of days.  I cleaned van and knitted  … finally completing J’s jumper that has only been over a year in the making!

I walked along the cliff heading westward, and J did walk the same walk with me another day.  Had I kept going, I could have got all the way to Plakias.  We drove to Plakias twice and ate both times in the same restaurant … pork in lemon sauce and lamb in … lemon sauce.  Nice, but twice was enough.  They did have a huge log burner in the middle of the room, which we sat next too … toasty!  On one of the days, I was drinking … and completely underestimated how little wine it takes not for me to get pickled … I hiccoughed all the way home and then put myself to bed!  Disgraceful!

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We forgot the leads …. found a bit of string for Corrie, but tied a bag to Oscar.  Couldn’t get it off, so he bimbled around with a parachute!

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Walking in the other direction.

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It may only have taken a year, but it is finished!

1429: The Correct Results

Saturday 1st February

We left Polyrizos and returned to Kalives … we had a date!  Rugby in Plakas with June and Karl.  I was driving (an easy decision after the other night!), but the other 3 made up for my abstinence.  Two good results for Wales and Ireland.

1430: The Incorrect Results 

Sunday 2nd February 

Lunch with Lars in Drapanos and England game.  This was not a good game, although the lunch was!  Lars had never watched a rugby game before and asked some very pertinent questions.  When explaining the rules, you realise how strange some of them are!

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Way to go …

1431: Cardiologist & K Walk Around Stylos

Monday 3rd February

James has been having a few heart palpitations, so we decided to get him checked out.  ECG showed a one second blip and the ultra sound showed, and I quote, a ‘nice heart’.  To rule things out J was then sent for blood tests.  The results were sent directly to the consultant and showed, that he is a little anaemic and has high cholesterol … the bad sort!  No more fried foods and pastries then!  He has also worn a heart monitor for 24 hours … had to be careful when going to the toilet with all the wires!  The cardiologist had a quick look and couldn’t see anything of worry, but it goes off to be analysed and we get the results back next week.  The likelihood is that the tablets J is on are causing the palpitations … but worth getting it checked for peace of mind.

Whilst J rested, I took CO2 for a slightly longer than usual walk around Stylos.

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Enough cinnamon breakfast rolls to last us two scrumptious mornings.  Also managed to force down the sugar cake he made!  We’ve got some nice friends here.

P1180230Stylos spring.

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Intensive pruning.

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An old Byzantine Church still under repair … my guide book form 2012, said it was under repair then.

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And whilst they are still repairing some churches they are also building others … this one was 2012.

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The mouth of Diktamos Gorge … apparently you can only venture a short way up it before it becomes unsafe … so I didn’t.

1432: Interesting Wall and Path Walk

Tuesday 4th February

We both planned to walk this morning, but ended up having an extended coffee whilst chatting to Judy and Captain Dino, who moved here a year ago … I’d also met them on the beach clean a few weeks back.

Eventually we set off in the AndyPandyCar and we climbed and climbed.  Once we got out of the car near Malaxa, we climbed some more.  It was a long and slow steady uphill, but great views.  Given how late we’d started, we decided to take a short cut back to the car.  Maps.Me let us down … or I as navigator did!  We ended up following a sheep / goat track for quite a way till we eventually found the correct path.  

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We were quickly up to about 300m in the car and then had a long, slow and steady climb up to 550m, with vews looking back over towards Kalyves and Plaka.

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A new long wall had been built … not sure what to surround, but someone had a sense of humour.

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Oscar found, not one, but two sheep’s skulls.

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And J emerging triumphant from the sheep path we followed.

1433: Flora and Follies Walk with Lars

Wednesday 5th January

Lars has walked this region a lot and said he would lead us on a “beauty” walk.  I was rather hoping that I would emerge from the walk beautiful!  It was a lovely walk … some early orchids and other wild flowers.  And lunch at a stone built folly.  Lars has met the creator several times … and he only took 3 months to create the edifice where we picnicked.  

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Anemones

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Early orchids.

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 With all these wild flower, so wonder the honey is so delicious.

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 Lars had informed us there were benches at our lunch spot … we were not quite expecting this!

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Real attention to detail.

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And another section both side of the road further up.

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Apparently the garden has just a small patch of grass, the rest has been built on.  The creator has to find something to do with his hands …

 

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Look at what my oh so charming daughter sent me!

1418-1424: Southern Scenery Wows

1418: Farewell Dinner

Tuesday 21st January 2019

We returned north to Kissamos to spend the evening with Brian.  He had booked the daytime ferry for Wednesday morning which would take him to Glythio on the Peloponnese.  We had booked the restaurant in Kissamos that J and I had eaten at twice before, and bespoke a special meal … the daughter / waitress had told us that it was her favourite dish after I’d said how good her mother’s flavours are. She’d given me her mobile number so I could contact her to let them know when we were coming!

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Morning CO2 walk up in the hills behind Sougia. 

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Wild flowers creating a New Year carpet.

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Farewell dinner with Brian.   Chicken cooked in the pressure cooker for 45 mins.  The rice cooked in the chicken broth and run through with sheep’s butter and lemon juice.  The rice, particularly, had a lovely delicate flavour, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy old chicken again.

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We played cards … J tried to focus as Zoa straddled his lap.  As soon as anyone passed the fridge … Zoa was all attention – he’s quickly leaned that frozen kongs are an evening treat.

1419: Kalives … High Maintenance Woman This Time

 Wednesday 22nd January 

Quite a few people had picked up colds at the New Year’s Eve dinner.  J and I very rarely get colds, due to our fresh air lifestyle.  But when I do, it usually goes to my sinuses and I cant shake it off.  So I paid a visit to the Kalives doctor … they know us quite well now … wonder if they have our address down as … Camper, Beach Car Park?  UK doctors will reluctantly give me 5 days of Amoxycilin (I know the reasons why!), but I always have to go back for more.  This doctor gave me 10 days worth, probiotic for my tum and a nasal spray.  EUR 20 for the consolation and EUR25 for the meds.  Very happy with that.  And thank you for asking … the antibiotics are working already.

1420: South to Sfakia

Thursday 23rd January 2019

I drove to Chania and topped up on our Lidl shop, whilst J sorted Jez and CO2 out.  Showers and services.  After lunch we convoyed to Chora Sfakion … it really is a stunning route over the White Mountains.  The snow we went looking for, a week or so back, has largely melted.

We are parked up at the entrance to the harbour, which is mostly full of boats lifted from the water, advertising day trips to Gavdos and Loutro.  Coffee with the locals … the toilet was interesting … a portaloo perched on the edge of a cliff with the wind howling round!   Amazing stars again, given so little light pollution.

1421: Top Gorge Walk

Friday 21st January 

A pretty rubbish night’s sleep … before bed we had moved Jez to face the wind, but in the night the wind moved.  A late start!  J slept worse than I, so he rested whilst I took CO2 off in the AndyPandyCar.  I had a BIG smile on my face the whole trip.  Stunning views from the switch backs up and then down to my parking at Livaniana, which had no sign of life other than free roaming goats.   A narrow road down, covered in red dirt, that then gave way to a dirt track.  Oh well, done these before – just concentrate!

The actual gorge walk is described as strenuous with plenty of climbing over rocks and ladders … not one to do with CO2.  Apparently descending from Livaniana would have meant I could have walked the easier part and done a circular walk.  Had I been able to find the path!  So I followed a path I could find, with CO2 strapped to my waist … far too much goat temptation.  I didn’t feel at all hard done by as the the views of the gorge were simply stunning and I got to walk in the warmth of the sun.  

On the way home to J and Jez, I did a slight detour to nearby Aradena … I’d read about a steel and wood bridge spanning the gorge.  It’s installation was paid for by a wealthy business family whose village would have been cut off else.  The village access being a very steep foot / donkey path down the steep gorge and back up the other side … gotta bring James here tomorrow.

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Up the road moving west from Chora Sfakion.

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The Aradhena Gorge clefting its way across the landscape.

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The gorge approaching the coast.

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CO2 and I stopped for an H2O and sun break at the chapel.

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Enough shell cases to smelt into a church brass bell.  And BBQ fire pits … CO2 trying to consume all the cooked bones left behind!

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 On the way back down … this is our destination in a few days … park at the bottom and walk over to Loutro … accessible only by foot, donkey or boat.

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 Aradhena, perched over the gorge.

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Distant view of the steel and wood bridge.  Built in 1986 by a wealthy international business family, as a lifeline to their village further on. I’m sure it dips in the middle!

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The guide book states ‘Rumble across it in a car and the terrifying crack of the wooden boards against the metal thunders around the gorge below”.  It was surely a stomach in mouth moment, to walk it too, as there are cracks between the boards, and the boards move …  I will take J back for the experience tomorrow … he will want to inspect the rivets!

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And now you can see how deep the drop below is!!!  In the summer, you can bungee jump off!

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1422: Wood and Cave Walk

 Saturday 22nd January 

I was a bizarrely a tad disappointed that J who is not over keen about heights, was absolutely fine on the bridge.   He won’t do the platforms on the Willis or Hancock Towers.  I should have remembered that he knows bridges.  Not even a single rivet inspection.  What I found particularly strange was the lack of max weight sign … was it OK to hold a 15 ton lorry then?  Would not have wanted to drive Jez over at around 4.5 tons. 

We drove onto Agios Ioannis on the road to no where.  At the end of the road, we spontaneously decided to respond to a walking sign heading to Kormopos Cave; Loutro could wait till tomorrow.  Although we had no views until near the destination, it was interesting as it was wooded, whereas most of the landscape is low scrub.  The height we attained … and it was a looooooong up, and then a looong down, meant that we found both cloud and snow.

We picnicked over looking the cave, not chancing the wet, steep and narrow path down to it.  

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No need to check the rivets … J’s a bridge man!  I did spot that the last one had popped up, but we were over by then.

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CO2 reluctantly set off over the bridge, thinking this was the way we were headed … only to have to come back again.

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A curious gaze and a very large bell.

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A totally different landscape and we found snow.

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Picnic spot overlooking the cave, our target.

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This is Chora Sfakion – you can see Jez’ nose poking out behind the rock.  Our home for 6 nights. 

1423: An Interesting Journey to Loutro

 Sunday 23rd January 

Loutro today.  It is named as one of Crete’s gems … inaccessible by car.  A lot of trippers catch a boat here for the day.  A scenic drive to Finikas, brushing the donkey with the wing mirror as we inched past, and then down the super steep and nerving road / track down.  A really pretty walk around the head land, with views and passing and archeological site. 

We had been ripped off at cafe in Sfakia … tourist prices and had been using a taverna up in Anopoli for the last few days for our morning and afternoon coffees.  There was a restaurant open in Sfakia, but TripAdvisor had mixed reviews … so we went back up the hill to Anopoli for supper.  Really excellent quality and good prices.  On the way back down the head lights picked out lots of boulders … no the goats were all tucked up on the tarmac, so we chicane’d around them.

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Unmovable object blocking road.

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Tarmac to start, but a good half is dirt track…

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… narrow with sheer drops.

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Looking back to Finikas, the hamlet, where we left the car.

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Walking around the headland; the archeological site is behind the church bell.

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Chora Sfakion is just in the distance.

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Loutro.

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We climbed a bit and then decided it was too hot and too steep, so we returned the way we came.  Loutro is not inhabited … it is all restaurants and holiday accommodation.  They day trippers pile in on boats.  The beach is TINY … so where do they all sit?  In high season, you must physically be rubbing shoulders with neighbours.  

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Loutro picnic spot.  All the awnings and verandas removed for the window.  We and a chap, painting the mandatory white, were the only living souls.

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Lots of large birds of prey near the gorge, and the odd one came for supper!

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Amazing quality food at the Anopoli Taverna … J said they were the best meatballs and my pork with peppers was just yummy.  We ate the lot!

1424: Chania Jobs

 Monday 24th January 

The weather forecast was not marvellous, so we decided to drive back across the mountains to Chania … 3 full loads of laundry, e juice for J, a new phone screen protector and woolly tights for me.  On the way back down south, we stopped off at Icarus restaurant in Kalives … another yummy plateful and a good chat with owners Michelle and Micahlis.   I’ve just got on the scales … 4lbs on this week!



 

1415-1417: Special in Sougia

1415: Headed South to Sougia

Saturday 18th January 2020

Coffee at Aris’ – as usual…..  then driving to Sougia- east and south…..I found that my new hearing aids played my phone music – and the SatNav – the wonders of modern technology!

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Sougia is a small village with basically a road north  … to move east, we have to almost hit the north coast.  It is mostly shut, bar a cafe and a souvlaki grill are open.  However, German Camper Micheal is here (met at Elafonisi and Paleochora) and another solo German lady, Freya, … Interesting character, she told me she is a dancer, as I fixated on the dangling jewel stapled in the middle of her forehead.  So it is quiet, beautiful and pretty isolated.

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We’d driven through fog and rain to sunshine in Sougia … but the hills are still shrouded in clouds.

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The small harbour wearing a rainbow.

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So different to the north, the mountains fall into the sea.

 

1416: Lissos Gorge Walk

Sunday 19th January

Coffee in a local Sougia bar – and off to the Lissos Gorge – fantastic rock colours and formations – but so many goats that our Corriegoatherd was on the lead mostly.  Our picnic stop was a sun trap overlooking the Ancient site of Lissos.  Having eaten and sunbathed out of the wind, lethargy stole over us … we resisted (easily) the temptation to take the steep ascent and descent to the site.

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Just make out the remnants of snow.

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Camouflage dog!

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No, Corrie, you are NOT a goat … but there were a lot, so she had to spend much of the walk on the lead.

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Picnic stop looking down onto Lissos, ancient site.  Out of the wind and lovely and warm.

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Curious goats came to torment CO2.

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The Souvlakerie for supper … a local spatiality to start, super crisp thin crepes, filled with fennel tops and spinach.  Lovely.

 

1417: Mountain View Walk

Monday 20th January

An easier walk this morning – with a biting wind in places. We wanted to find a cave but the final path section was overgrown – return to the village where K discovered the local cafe was open. 2 coffees ordered – our hottest, Maria spoke excellent English – apologised that she had no cakes… then she appeared with salted peanuts – and Raki – at lunchtime!!!…  As we were about to leave she produced pastries she had just cooked – spinach and cheese – our favourites….  and more Raki!   What another amazing Cretan experience!  We left wondering if we might come back to eat there. K had spotted 2 elderly ladies in the village – so we had seen 4 of the 12 inhabitants! 

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You just know its going to be a good day when there’s rainbow with you.

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 On top the world!  High Mountains and deep gorges, typical of this region.
 
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Looking down to the gorge where Sougia is.  
 
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 And a full rainbow on the return!
 
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A long history of being destroyed.  The Venetians raised it in 1527 as the leader of resistance came from here.  They destroyed it twice more.  Then the Turks in 1821.  In 1943, the Germans slaughtered the inhabitants of here and 2 other nearby villages.  This is an all too fairly common story.
 
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 Memorial. 
 
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There were 3 different WW2 memorials in the village, but this one seemed to list the names of those by local village that had been sent to an Austrian concentration camp.
 
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I followed the river from our parking up stream for a way … Note to self, don’t park next to a river when heavy rain forecast!
 
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Back on the beach later., and a talk with Freya.  Not a chat about the oft heard, where have you been … going to ….. but a about the journey through life.
 

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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