12th to 23rd October 2020
Woohooo … we made it to our happy place. This is seriously the only place we’ve come back to in our 5+ years of travelling. And this is our 3rd trip. And very happy to be here with the expectations of further lockdowns.
Having set off over a week earlier than planned, we knew the landlady would be in residence of the house we’ve rented for 6 months. In the event, it was longer than anticipated. They left on Saturday 24th and we moved in the same evening! So we had 12 nights to find a bed …. we looked at AirBnB, but they were proving more expensive than we wanted to pay … the weather was great, so the tent on a campsite it was. We thought about moving site mid stay, but we had such a fabulous pitch and felt too lazy to strike camp only to erect the tent again, so we stayed put.
Since we were going to based in the north of Crete for the Winter, we chose to base ourselves in the South. There were 3 campsites we could have chosen from, one in Agia Gallini and two in Paleochora … we opted for the latter, as the last time we were there our exploring had been limited by extreme weather, which saw us moving the van twice in in one night. Camping Paleochora was small, but walking distance to the town, BUT you couldn’t park your car next to your tent. Camping Grammeno had replied to emails and given us a good price … a super site. Large and spacious, beach front, hot showers and a shared fridge freezer. Charming Chris, from England, is the Winter guardian. He has been resident there for 7 years … his motorhome is never going to be driven away … it is held captive by a wrap around decking, steel roof canopy and fencing to contain his 6 dogs and numerous cats! He was super helpful, loaning us a hookup adapter and suggested we go on a metre for power … we paid about EUR5 for the whole stay, compared to the flat rate of EUR4 per day! Pretty good given all our cooking is on electric (hob, instant pot, remoska and the Dometic camping fridge). We also followed up on his restaurant recommendations … although we were about 5 km from Paleochora, there were 2 good restaurants within walking distance.
Chris did warn us that our pitch could become a mini lake in extreme weather … and it did drop copious amounts of the wet stuff on us for a few days. J drew a line in the sand to measure the rising water level behind us. The water came close, but we did not have to evacuate. The tent has now had the best (worst!) that Derbyshire and Crete can throw at it … pleased with our purchase.
When we arrived the beach was covered in Sea Daffodils.
Beachside tent pitch = Beachside office … yay.
And Beachside knicker line!
Many fabulous sunsets … we weren’t up in time for the sunrises!
It was warm enough for Oscar to need a fur prune.
Generally the weather was full on sun … so we did a bit of walking and recommenced running. The road to Paleochora was undergoing long term (i.e. taking a long time!) renovation, so was closed from 9.00-1.00, then 2.00-4.00, so unless we wanted to get up with the crows, it rather limited where we went.
We had two attempts on the Anidri Gorge which we had climbed some of last winter. Once from the bottom and then from the top … so we have effectively done the whole of it now … and it really aint that long … the lower part does involve a fair amount of clambering, bottom shuffling and hoisting of CO2.
Gillian and Steve from one of the FaceBook motorhome forums joined us for a few days and gloated about having not had to run through hoops for their beige Residency Permit. We hoped ours would prove as easy … we have come with just about every document we could think they may need.
Paleochora from the castle … we ventured in here several time for coffee, ice cream, shopping and ….
…. a veggie meal. Absolutely delicious. These starters were corn crips, avocado with a beetroot confit. The other was sweet potato with a cashew paste and caponata.
Walking up the Anidri (Anidhri) Gorge, which we started last winter until rain made it too slippery … this time it was super hot, so we still didn’t complete it. Corrie had to be on the lead for most of it … she would like to chase the mountain goats … and yes, she would be able to climb up there.
Anidri George: James and I are not mountain goats .. a bottom slide was employed here.
Corrie off lead and wondering if she should leg it off after goats that MUST be around.
It definitely was not flip flop walking … don’t know how long these have rested here. Not our size!
The Grammeno Peninsula was perfect from walking CO2 from the campsite and even better with a full rainbow.
Last winter James had bought (expensive) hearing aids and they had stopped working soon after we left Crete. Then with lockdown, getting them sorted was delayed. He tried in Hungary, but was told there was a glued in connection between the battery and hearing aid so they couldn’t fix them. Specsavers in the UK had also had a look at them …. So we had 2 trips to Chania to the hearing aid shop. No great hardship as it is a stunning 1.5 hrs route over the mountains. On visit number 1, Vera (stunning and slim hearing aid lady) kept the hearing aids and then on visit 2, she had replaced the cable and they now worked … for a while! Slight issue where one kept falling out.
Whilst on the north of the island we also went over to Drapanos to meet our landlady and see the house. Carole has bent over backwards to assist us with doing a proper rental agreement, which we will need for the residency permit application. We met her on our 2nd trip to Chania to sign the residency agreement, which the accountant then processed / ratified.
We drove twice up to Chania to the hearing aid shop.