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.

P1180077

The monastery on the horizon.

P1180071

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

P1180074

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. 

P1180069

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.

IMG 4616

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.

IMG 4617

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.

IMG 4626

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

IMG 4633

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

IMG 4632

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.

IMG 4601

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!

IMG 4614

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! 

IMG 4554

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

IMG 4555

This car has been up cycled!

IMG 4556

Macheri village, from the start of the walk.

IMG 4560

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.

IMG 4561

IMG 4564

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

IMG 4566

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.

IMG 4567

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.

IMG 4570

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

IMG 3984

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

P1180031

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

P1180063

Mincing.

IMG 4575

IMG 4574

Playtime.

P1180033

P1180036

P1180032

P1180043

P1180054

P1180061

IMG 4579

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

IMG 4551

 

 

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!!! 

IMG 4496

The sun out again for our walk on Sandy Beach  

IMG 4498

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

IMG 3960

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.  

IMG 4499

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.

Screenshot 2020 01 04 at 17 51 21

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!

IMG 3971

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

IMG 4511

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

IMG 4517

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

IMG 4520

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.

IMG 4528

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

IMG 4531

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…..

IMG 4532

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

IMG 4534

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

IMG 4536

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

IMG 4538

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

IMG 4537

IMG 4541

And this is relatively calm now.

IMG 4545

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

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!

IMG 4431

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

P1170986

Track to Balos Beach.

IMG 3924

P1170988

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

P1170993

P1170994

P1170998

P1180005

IMG 3925

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.

IMG 4443

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

IMG 3932

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!

 

IMG 4444

Christmas morning walk.

IMG 4445

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!

IMG 3944

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


1382-1387: ‘Ela of a Place

1382: A Birthday and Open Mic Night

Monday 16th December

Katherine’s birthday…..

Nice walk with CO2 amongst olive groves and cypress woods. K opened her gifts – from family and moi. Michelle from Icarus restaurant (and Michaelis) brought a surprise gift – a lovely Cretan necklace!

Late afternoon – we moved Jez to Almyrida for the open mic night. Lots of good music – including “Happy Birthday” for K – and a birthday candle from Capt Jacks!

IMG 4298

An Ottoman water fountain on our walk.

IMG 3912

Dodgy alcofrolic shot and candle from Captain Jacks.

1383: Castration and Dinner Guests

Tuesday 17th December.

Well, Oscar didn’t realise what was happening (just as well) – he sort of lost his ‘thingies’ – had to wear the ‘cone’ lightshade worst! But the vet was great in Kalyves.  Later in the afternoon, he was real pain in spite of getting painkillers in the morning. I drove him straight to the vets again – another painkiller – and this settled him – we muzzled him instead of the cone…..

Evening saw us entertaining Julia and Anthony – motor homing friends from Drapanos – lively chats and some vino… for James, K was dry after the excesses of yesterday!

IMG 4311

Wrinkly scrotum.

1384: Chores

Wednesday 18th December.

Kalyves again – our most visited spot in Crete – K got the twin tub out – for laudrificationing!  I washed the HandyPandyCar and cleaned the inside – oh and morning coffee at Ari’s “Fresh and Cool” cafe – chats with the regulars…..  K recce’d our nightly parking for Christmas Day in Drapanos – kindly provided by friends of Julia and Anthony!  We will eat in “Eleanoras” restaurant – our favourite in the area…booked by K.

IMG 4305

A couple of older ladies stopped to admire the twin tub  nostalgia on their part?

IMG 4306

And a conveniently closed  cafe as the drying deck.

1385-1386: Elafonisi 

Thursday 19th – Friday 20th December

Beautiful scenic drive down through the mountains – to Elafonisi……  Little did we know what awaited us! Normally, we would recce a dodgy road – alas not this time – oh no! The access road was a “Strada Horribilissimo”!!!  Craters, fissures – oh and some road surface as well. K bounced down in Jez – I followed in Pandacar and watched as she wobbled and straddled the obstacles – we have never seen such a road in all our travels! We later lay awake dreading the uphill journey – watched the forecast avidly as rain would effectively imprison us there for days…  Stunning place though – one of the very best – we’ve said in about most of Crete…

Brian obligingly cooked supper – caulifloweriness and cheesely – noshtimo!

Next morning saw us joining the road gang – repairing the ‘volcanic’ craters – or so they seemed to us – Michael from Germany had started patching already – we rolled boulders – big on top and small to fill in – in 2 different places. Not exactly Dept of Transport Chapter 8 and BD68 (I’m giving away my work background) – but it looked good!  

IMG 4320

This is a panorama shot zoomed in to where Oscar was moving  could replicate this effect! 

P1170935

Places have a light dusting of fine pink sand, from coral and shells.

P1170945

The Lagoon.

P1170947

IMG 4327

Soft fine sand  and dunes.

IMG 4326

P1170941

  

1387: Getting Out and On to Sfinari 

Monday 16th December

K had a rather early morning walk – we needed to get up the hill asap!  Brian went first and had one place where he had to roll back and have a second go – K took 3 attempts int he same place … and I andycarred uphill….  K started up – traction control on – and raised rear suspension – raised nerves and adrenaline – and buttclenchingness….. but guided by Brian and moi – it all worked ‘straddlingly’.   K:  I was shaking by the time I got to the top!

Hugely welcome coffee – and then the most amazing drive to Sfinari – now parked up along stony beach in Cretan sunshine – not a pothole in sight. We never want to see such crazy craters again. Oscar and Corrie were completely unfazed by the whole experience….

P1170954

Elafonisi in early (for me!) morning light. 

P1170962

View back from the island … sand causeway.

IMG 4420

Straddled!

IMG 4422

A little of the road repair.

P1170969

 Part of the route up to Sfinari, looking back down to Elafonisi – the hazy bit in the distance.

P1170976

Corrie on the beach at Sfinari.

P1170984

P1170980

Brian believes Zoa is looking for fish, I think he’s checking out his reflection!

P1170985

Nor see this one before … looks like cabbage leaves.

IMG 4302