1350-1353: Another Peninsula and Looking for Food

1350: Another Monastery and in Search of Lunch

Friday 15th November 2019

Monastery Agia Triada was our Pandacar destination – with beautiful courtyards and accessible rooftops. We enjoyed a copious wine tasting – not amazing wines but palatable – obviously not a ‘dry’ day…  a lovely Albanian lady served us and gave us a lot of informations about the olives and grape varieties.  Sure we had more than our quota.  we really didn’t like the reds … especially the one that is a half white / half red grape and then aged in a barrel … this is the one, each monk has a supply of in their cell!  Only 6 monks live here, so presumably it never runs out.  

P1170822

We’d seen coaches here as we drove past yesterday … and more again today … fortunately we managed to avoid most of them until the end, when we couldn’t get out for the bodies stood stock still … pretending to listen attentively to the guide, and not aware they were blocking the exit!  Bah – tourists!

P1170826

The monastery was a lush huge courtyard garden, with the church in the centre.

P1170828

P1170829

P1170837

P1170840

P1170851

A couple of roof tops were open to climb.

 Loutraki Beach, a parking overnight spot, but not worth moving for.  Marathi – only a fast food van … pretty with 2 beaches.  But no open restaurants.

P1170858

Loutraki Beach … a small sandy beach with a massive hotel; must be horrid in season.

IMG 4122

Marathi – one of the two beaches split by the harbour pier.

Nothing open on way home either, so cheese and biscuits in Jez, back at Stavros!  In the afternoon, I walked west of Stavros, hugging the coast all the way out.  Just as well it was out of season, as I was walking over hotel complex patios and pool areas.  

IMG 4127

Looking back to Zorba’s mountain and CO2 made some beach friends. 

IMG 4126

Natural rock pool, although you can see where the Venetians cut out blocks for building the monasteries.

IMG 4131

Sunset view from our parking.

 1351: Kolymbari ‘ere We Kome

Saturday 16th November 

Shopping on the way … needed to make sure we had food in case all the restaurants here were also shut.  We parked at harbou and K asked the harbour master – 2 nights would be ok for overnighting. A bit noisy with harbour rock dredging.  K walked – and found restaurants open with a much quieter parking including a beach shower – we could attach a hose to save hand balling with our watering can.

Our LPG gas pressure has been quite weak recently – we may have a regulator or filter issue – one to watch. There was insufficient pressure to provide water for showering – I suggested we shower (cold) on the beach – I received a distinctly ‘Brexit-style’ veto!!!   Speaking of vetos, who remembers Nikita Kruschev using his veto by removing his shoe and hammering the table at the UN?  A ‘vetoe’ perhaps…..

IMG 4142

Not the prettiest of beaches, but a lot of new and being built hotel / villa complexes being built along the front.

IMG 4143

Very peaceful – we stayed 2 nights.

1352: Up the Rodopos Peninsula

Sunday 17th November 

Stopped for coffee – and raki was on offer!  Too early for us Purists!

In our super Andypandycar, we set off downhill on a dirt track which became more potholed and rivuletyfissured (try that with a gobful of crushed ice!).  Parked on a bend and walked the two km to St John Baptist church.

Back to the car and K piloted up the hill. On a down slope, the Panda started rocking and rolling with noise – I thought “what a nice extra Fiat put in for us”.  Just to be sure, stopped and checked.  The rocks and rolls had completely shredded a rear tyre!  The jack and other paraphernalia were extracted from the boot. When had either of us previously changed a wheel?  Down slope meant we had all anchors on and rocks wedged against front wheels…  I rolled under the vehicle to locate a jacking point – Oscar and Corrie helped by lying there and looking superior… nurse K used her excellent bedside manner by handing me the forceps etc – could be a difficult delivery!  But, the jacking point held and we got the ‘space saver’ tyre on and completed the job. Luckily, we have a tyre inflating machine that works off the car usb port, as the space saver looked a little flabby.

Why do car manufacturers provide space saving spares?  To save a few millimetres in the boot? To annoy motorists?  We have decided to field a totally new political party in the UK December elections – the “MASSTY” party – catchy eh?  The “Motorists Against Space Saving Tyre” party – stick that in your Boris, Jeremy!      

The Waves at Ravdoucha restaurant had been recommended, but sadly was shut – land slips on road was an indication of lack of passing traffic.

Drove to Kolymbari … and ditched the car long the old harbour.  Found a  lovely fish restaurant, called Argentia.  Had to choose this one as the Aged Ps and K’s sister Clare and husband Chris are currently on tour there.  It was slightly up market as they decorated Fava with anchovies and capers, normally it’s a bit of diced red onion. Hand washing to remove tyre dirt – and a little local vino to celebrate a tyre change – do we really need an excuse?

IMG 3805

 Corrie’s ears pricked up at the goat bells and her nose was pressed to the car window.

IMG 3807

Traffic jam going up the Rodopos Peninsula.  They were reluctant movers.

IMG 3806

Windy Gap, of course.

IMG 3813

IMG 3816

We walked down to the church in the green bit … and then back up!

IMG 3818

Agios Ioannis Rigologous – St John the Baptist.  Within a gated compound to keep the goats out .. a small chapel and seating for 600 outside.  A pilgrim site on St John’s Name Day in August.  Surrounding the chapel was a food serving station, more seating and modern toilets … all a bit incongruous.  

IMG 3821

My hero at work.  No mending this one!

1353: Back to Kalyves

Monday 18th November 

Filled with water  … strip washed as the hot water is still not not working with single gas cylinder. Good job we don’t need the central heating…

En route back to Kalyves we stopped at a tyre shop – my guess was Euro 40 – K guessed Euro 70 – the cost was Euro 75!  The forfeit was to catch a motorist with a puncture and offer to change the wheel – failed! 

Back to Kalyves – becoming our favourite base in this area of Crete –  bed linen dropped into laundrette – chilled. 


 

IMG 4147

A FaceBook funny.





1346-1348: Time to Vamos!

1346: Vamos – A Walk!

Monday 11th November 2019

We are still at Kalyves … such a handy place to park up and use the hire car.  Today’s destination was a walk around Vamos, one of the main local hill towns and an administrative centre.  This was the first walk out of the books local Ann donated to our so very worthy cause.  

In the afternoon we managed some laundry in Jez again (and it was all dry by morning – result!) and showers for us.  Supper was intended to be in a recommended restaurant, but it was shut (Monday closures), so we ended up in the grill … any meat you want so long as it is grilled, and served with chips, a bit of salad and tzatziki.  Not having great expectations for our meal, we ordered a half litre of white and two chicken dinners.  OMG … I don’t know what herbs they coated the meat with, and then cooked over coals, but the flavour was just superb.  We ate it all.  We paid … all of EUR14 … but as we were about to leave, we were told to sit down … Greek yogurt with candied lime peel and the Raki arrived!  Wow!

IMG 1801

Coffee stop on arrival in the small square … friends of Ann’s had recommended Anna’s bar … we recognised it by the description of Anna’s friendly large black dog, that CO2 were desperate to play with .. but not in the square with the odd passing car.

IMG 1802

An old olive press.

IMG 1803

 It was a walk of animals … a fair while before we could let CO2 off the leads.  We’ve noticed a lot of young lambs … seems strange to us in November.

IMG 1805

Goat tethered under a tree, plus sheep, chickens and, until we got out of Vamos, a LOT of raucous barking dogs.

IMG 1807

IMG 1809

An old cobbled street in Vamos, built during the Ottoman occupation by enforced local labour.

IMG 1810

IMG 4049

Back to Anna’s bar for a 0% beer … and fresh juice.  James has only not been able to get 0% alcohol beer from one bar, as it was about to close after the season.

1347: On the Move!

Tuesday 12th November

After 11 nights in Kalyves … we very rarely stay this long anywhere.  But that was the whole point of having the hire car … park up and explore in the Panda.  And Kalyves was becoming another home from home.   We did the services, and shopping … sea bass for supper.  LPG fill on the way … no need yet for heating, but when we do need it, it does burn gas.

We parked up at a pretty fishing harbour called Agios Onouphrios, on the Akrotiri peninsula (where Chania airport is).  

IMG 4063

Our overnight parking.  The gaggle of geese were being camera shy!

IMG 4051

Another fab view from our front window.  No need to point out in case of ‘vanevac’ (Van Evacuation in case of undesirables) in Greece, we can face the best view.

IMG 4065

Caught up with the geese.

IMG 4060

Nearby dog walk. 

IMG 4056

 

After lunch, we drove in the Panda to the Venizelos Graves and the Souda War Cemetery.

IMG 1822

Simple stone slab tombs for Eleftherios Venizelos, Crete’s most famous statesman, and his son Sophocles.  Both were Greek Prime Minister several times and Eleftherios Venizelos is akin to Italy’s Garibaldi .. he unified Crete with Greece.  In Italy no town is complete without a Piazza Garibaldi … here is is Venizelos Square / Street.   The graves are set in gardens …

IMG 1812

… with stunning views over Chania.

IMG 1815

The site was the scene in 1987 of an illegal raising of the Greek flag by rebels, led by Eleftherios Venizelos in defiance of the Turks and other European Powers.  The flag pole was smashed by a volley, but a Cretan became a human flagpole.

IMG 1818

The little church of Profitis Elias … 

IMG 1819

… and its guardian who hissed to prevent CO2 from entering.

IMG 1825

The Allied War Cemetery at Souda.  

IMG 1830

2000 graves, of which just under 900 were British the rest were New Zealand or Australian …

IMG 1831

… a significant number were unnamed …Known Unto God.

IMG 1832

In search of coffee, we drove to Kalathas … pretty beach but nothing open, and onto Horafakia, where we found coffee and a bun!  Just to mention, our sea bass with caponata was nostimo … delicious.  Note:  some people refuse to cook fish in a  motorhome … rubbish, no smell at all, so long as its fresh. But do dispose of the bones etc before going to bed!

We woke early hours to a massive thunder and lightening storm.  I got up to batten down the hatches and our little ‘puss was sitting bolt upright, shaking and not looking happy. Up to now, we’ve had her on our laps during thunderstorms, but now we’re in bed.  The choice was for one of us to get up and cuddle her, or we let her on our bed and cuddle here there.  Sheer laziness and we went for the latter option.  Once invited up, she was like the proverbial ferret.  Not to lie between our bodies, but up on the pillows.  We were breathing in her hair through mouths and nostrils, and she has lots of it.  Oscar is not nervous of storms, not to be left out, went between us, but was very restless and moved every 10 mins to shove one part of our anatomy out of his way.  Not our best night’s sleep and NOT to be repeated.

 

1348: Stavros and Zorba the Greek

Wednesday 13th November

The rain eased and I took CO2 back out along the peninsula, where we watched a tanker connect what looked like a very small bore pipe across the water to the petroleum plant.  No wonder it was there hours.  We did some admin … J more than I … lack of sleep and I was on a go slow.  After lunch we packed up and drove all of 15mins to Stavros.

P1170755

Massive puddle on one side, so the puddle ducks took a muddy bath.

IMG 4075 3

 Corrie avoiding the puddles by leaping from rock to rock.  Oscar ploughs on through.

IMG 4074

Tanker at work at the mouth of the inlet.  We were able to google where is had come from … the massive petrochemical area just west of Pireaus.

Stavros is a circular bay, almost a lagoon, with the craggy sheer mountain rising opposite which was where the final dance scene of Zorba the Greek was filmed.  And guess what we will watch tonight!  A stunning location and I took advantage of a lull in the rain to walk CO2 between the mountains.

IMG 4082

Our overnight with Zorba’s mountain.

IMG 4085

My walk.

IMG 4090

IMG 4096 3

Some weird rock formations.

IMG 4099

And then the heavens opened a bare 15 mins after I got back.

1342-1245: We Have Time, A Lot, Did Not

1342-43: Oozing

Thursday 7th and Friday 8th November

OK, so we coffee’d, lunched and suppered.  Not sure what else we did.  We are starting to feel so relaxed here in Kalyves, that we’ve forgotten what we did!

We do remember going to Simon’s Italian pizza and pasta place with a room full of Brits to listen to a young Greek trio perform some great rock music.  Needless to say a lot of wine was drunk, and not just by us!  

IMG 4036

Another beachside coffee.

IMG 4039

And another.

1344: Douliana Walk

Saturday 9th November

A circular walk through olive groves and a bit of a gorge started with a coffee in the village.  Lovely lunch in Drapanos’ Eleanoras restaurant … one starter and two dishes … EUR18.50, with chicken and chips left over to go … to be souped.  A restaurant to go back to.

IMG 1789

IMG 1793

Douliana:  The only place that seemed open was a tiny coffee shop … the choice was sugar or not.  No Latte, Americano etc.  Greek coffee it was; there was no milk.  But lovely to sit in the sun listening to the sheep bells.

IMG 1795

The walk took us to two cave chapels.

IMG 1796

IMG 1798

IMG 1799

 Some lovely views and Autumn is ‘trying’ to make its presence known.

 1345: Remembrance Sunday

Sunday 10th November

We had a coffee in Vrysses and observed the 2 minuted silence.  And then, listening to Radio 2 back in the van 2 hours later, observed it again with the last post.  

We had gone to Vyrsses on the promise of a bazaar with Christmas gifts, bric a brac and crafts as advertised in the Living in Crete website forum.  I spotted the stall holders discussing how quiet it was ..yep , lack lustre,  We did manage to come away with two books … inlacing Victoria Hislpos’ ‘The Island’, about Spinalonga, which we visited last Crete trip and I’ve been meaning to read for ages.  And a ‘silver’ (i think not at the price and weight) bracelet AND two cakes … home-made eccles cake and a bakewell tart … nostimos (yummy in Greek!).  As coffee and wandering the 6 stalls had not taken as long as we’d anticipated, we drove back to Kalyves to potter for a few hours.

Heading out for a 3.00 p.m. supper we bumped into Ann again with another couple of ex-Pats with their two hounds.  Once the barking abated, and bum sniffing was the calm-ish order of the day, we were able to converse.  I queried outstaying our welcome in the car park … no the owners are overseas and we shouldn’t feel concerned.  Ann mentioned a trip on the 20th up to a hill village followed by lunch.  Tempting, but we can’t leave the dogs (well Oscar!) too long.  The other couple immediately offered doggy day care … how kind and generous people are, but we couldn’t inflict Oscar on anyone.  We need LPG, so will soon head up a peninsula via Chania (for LPG) for 4 days or so and then come back.  

Ann very kindly gave us two walking books on this area … really enjoying exploring the villages and surrounding areas in some detail.  In our first year we bombed from Nordcap to Sicily witha few side diversions, achieving 25,000 miles … and getting under the skin of – not a lot.  We have slowed up, but Crete is not massive and knowing we will be here until February-ish, gives us a really relaxing sense of time to chill.  If we were still looking to buy abroad, the idealistic approach is to immerse yourself in the local communities.  BUT learning a language sufficiently is virtually prohibitive; blame age and alcohol!  Kalyves has a strong ex-pat British contingent, so there seems to be a ready made social life.  A lot to be said for that.  Can see us renting here when we want to be still for months at a time.

Supper was fab again at Icarus restaurant … coupe of starters and then we shared a sea bass – wise to the portion sizes, if we had starters, we shared the main!  Nostimo … delicious.  A thunderstorm threatened close by and we watched the sea and hills change various shades from blue to grey.

IMG 4046

Little puss, needs cuddles with thunder.

IMG 3795

If she’s up and getting cuddles, I need one too!

1336-1338: Booze, Car and Kalyves

1336:  A Booze Day

Friday 1st November

Woohoo.  We’ve done it.  A whole month sober.  Thank you very much to those of you who sponsored us to raise money for Macmillan Nurses.

We celebrated by driving up to the Peza, a wine growing area,  We bounced down a single lane dirt track, wondering how the bottles came out unbroken from the Stilianou winery.  The 4th generation owner told us last night’s rain had caused damage to the road and in a few days he would go out with a digger and repair it … not in time for us, so we bumped back down it.   He is a bio olive oil and wine maker … one of his wines also had no sulphates.  Unfortunately his oil and standard red had been sold out.  Got to taste the oil, which was really good.  He uses a mix of green and black grapes … green for sharpness and red for depth.  As I was driving, James got to finish some of my wine.  We wandered into Peza and saw a large winery with coach loads … this one buys local grapes, whereas the winery we went to you is a small family concern and we were the only customers. Not surprising given the state of the track!  At Peza I spotted the cafe had a good choice of ice cream … so that became lunch!  But then we had massive pastries and coffee before the winery.  

IMG 3998

White wine in the stainless steel.

We drove onto Kalyves, where we stayed the night before the Aged P’s arrived.  The champagne didn’t go on ice early enough and since it is Lauren Perrier, we were not going to drink it warm.  So we both had a large gin.  Then celebrated with supper at one of the beach front restaurants. Only a half litre of red … formerly, this would probably have been 1.5 or 2 litres over a meal.  Then we shared the raki and had a small night cap back in the van  I woke at 4 with a cloudy head … hangover?!  James, of course, had no ill effects.  

The first restaurant didn’t want our custom … dogs not allowed inside.  We know, but we’ve not had any issues with the covered outdoor spaces in all the months we’ve been in Crete.  Next door were happy for us to eat in their gazebo.  The lady was English, married to a Greek.  I suggested her Greek must be very good, quick as a flash she relied with “He’s not bad most of the time!”  Rather think she’s said that before.  Another table of 3 generations of English were next door on their half term holiday.  As soon as we arrived the heavens opened and the water started a torrent through the floor of the outside space …

IMG 4002

A slight flood through the restaurant.

IMG 4003

Corrie was very happy to climb on my lap, she doesn’t like going out in the rain even and certainly not sitting in it.  Oscar, was unperturbed by the flowing water.

1337: Rugby, Shopping and Car Collection 

Saturday 2nd November

We watched the rugby final in the van.  I had to keep knitting through it to stop myself from being over stressed!  We didn’t move much!  Dog walking on the beach and I walked into the main part of the town, finding a fish shop, a butcher, vet for dog food and a supermarket.  Cupboards re-stocked.  Caught up on a bit of admin and the blog.  Then, leaving CO2 in the van, we walked the couple of km to the car hire place.  The owner was South African and the rugby result was the first thing he mentioned.  Funny that!  Sadly he feels that racism and corruption are so entrenched in SA, the win won’t make any difference.  We now have the use of a Fiat Panda on a month by month basis.

IMG 4007

 Our water front pitch with our fleet of vehicles!  Suspect the e bikes won’t get used much at the moment.  The public toilet and water point are the tardis looking building on the right … nice and close.

IMG 4005

 Just showing off a bit … the King of Bream, Gilt Head, cooked under the grill with potatoes, tomatoes and red pepper cooked in the Remoska.  Yummy.

1338: Aptera, Hills and Churches

Sunday 3rd November

Picnic and table and chairs squished into the boot of the Panda, we set of to Aptera.  A popular spot given the 3 coaches of French tourists.  Being the first Sunday of the month, it was free entry.    Aptera has been inhabited since C14 BC and up to 1964, when the monastery was finally abandoned!  It has an amphitheatre, cisterns, Roman baths, old monastery, and small chapel (shut).  

P1170736

 James on the Hellenistic (!) path to the amphitheatre.

P1170739

And the amphitheatre. 

P1170740

The abandoned monastery complex.

 We drove onto the Church in Stylos.  Stylos was significant during the Battle of Crete as the New Zealanders and Australians made a final stand, enabling the Allies to be evacuated.  Many of the Antipodeans were stranded and made their way south … we visited some of the places some of them were evacuated from already, notably Preveli Monastery.  As the locals supported them, there were many villages were destroyed and residents murdered in reprisals.  Stylos was busy with restaurants open and lamb being BBQ’d on great spits.  But too early for lunch and we have our picnic!

IMG 4012

Stylos’ ancient church had some damaged frescoes and excavations inside. 

Past Samonas was the Church of Ayios Nikolas; medieval frescos ‘as good as any on Crete’.  We’ll have to just believe the guide book, as the church was shut!

P1170741

Church of Ayios Nikolas.  We could get through the gate, but not into the church.

IMG 3764

We stopped along the road of our picnic… great views out to the Souda Bay.  Only 7 cars passed us in the whole time.

Kalyves beach area seems to be getting ready to shut up for the winter.  After a coffee from the cafe opposite us, we watched them start to pack away all their tables and chairs.  This end of town might become really quite quiet.  Suits us.

 

Corrie and Oscar Blog (combined)

“Well Oscar – what do you think of this place?” “They say we’re in Grease again – in Creti – looks the same to me as Greece and Crete of 2 years ago!”  “By the way, happy birthday – 6-year-old chum!”  “Ok, now the owners are back on the booze again, we’ll have to be careful – mark the level on the gin bottle – and watch James’ heavy pouring hand”  “But Corrie, they say they’re going to drink a lot less…..” Yeah right, Oscar – pigs fly in Crete!”

“Since we arrived (again) in Kalyves, they’ve taken us to Hellenistics, churches, beaches, hilltop picnic areas – they forgot our lunchtime treats once – and put us in a piddly Fiat Pandycar……”

“All right old chum, but they’ve reinstated our sardine and kong rations – even if the old man forgot the feckin kongs last night! “

“let’s give them a chance – They’re good eggs really……”

“More anon, readers”  “Karrapolo, and Jassus – from sunny Crete”

 

 

 

 

 

1316-1322: Charging Around Chania

1316:  Bali?  Cretian Style.

Saturday 12th October 2019

An early doors shower on board followed by an early disembarkation.  We were heading west along the north coast, and looked for somewhere to get our heads down.  Neither of us had slept well in our cabin … we seemed to be above the engines and felt all the vibrations!  Steady hum, Vibrate and rattle and repeat!  Oh and I shared my bed with two furry and wriggly bodies … you’re not allowed on the furniture in the van, my dears!  Our first identified spot was a car park, but the pukka gypsies (not sure of the distinction, we are van dwellers but not gypsies!) had moved in, so we kept going to Bali.  This Bali had a lot in common with the island Bali … probably, having never been there!.  Beaches, cafes and restaurants.  We rested, walked what there was to see, had coffees and ice creams, a light lunch and stayed that night too.  The only incident was early evening when some ‘idiots’ started throwing glass bottles around ing the car park.  Not at us, but I was out with the dust pan and brush concerned for tyres and paws … if I’d spoken Greek, I’d have kindly given them a bit of what I thought of them and offered them the brush to clear up!  

IMG 3871

Bali tree, crying out for pots of flowers on its trunk.

1317:  Kalyves

Sunday 13th October 

With beach shower water to enable a fill up, we cleaned the inside of the van … we aim to do this every Sunday, but somehow life can get in the way.  Then we drove into Almyrida, to check where the Aged P’s apartment was and assess the parking for Jez.  A move just up to the next village, Kalyves, where we spent the night in a large car park.  Another beach resort, with coffee shops etc.  But behind the beach area, there was more of the original town.

IMG 3876

Coffee overlooking the beach.

IMG 3880

The small harbour.

1318:  Aged P’s Arrive Almyrida

Monday 14th October 

Being opposite a plumbed in public toilet, we set the alarm for 0600 hours for operation ‘Black Waste Empyting”, but a certain person was awake and up at 0400 hours, so the military manoevre was brought forward.  The advance party emptied and the rear cleaned and sprayed air freshener!  Back to bed!

We picked up the hire car and  shopped.  James then took Jez off to our parking and I went to collect the Aged P’s.  They were in a small apartment, just set back from the beach in Almyrida, and we parked along bit in the car parking area.  Early the next morning we were able to move to just outside their apartment … result.  Another result, was that their apartment had two balconies, one with 4 chairs and the other with a clothes horse … we made good use of both.  Oh and an amazing power shower, which also got put to good use, especially as Mum was kind enough (coerced) into dying my hair!

Supper was a restaurant right on the water’s edge watching the sun go down behind the cliffs and leaving a soft glow.

IMG 3904

Didn’t fancy eating a meal here … wonder if the chef has an unpleasant habit?

 

1319:  Charming Chania 

Tuesday 15th October 

The Aged P’s had visited Chania well over 20 years ago with my sister Clare and hubby Chris, and we’d been for a day wander 18 months ago with Maddy.  All of us remembered liking the town and the revisit, as so often is the case, did not disappoint.  Our only irritation was with the crowds of Americans off a cruise ship that thronged the walk along the harbour front.  On talking to one set, we had had it lucky … the boat’s capacity was 2,500, but only 2,100 were on board … there could have been even more of them, or even worse, 2 ships in!

We coffee on arrival, wandered along the front, accelerated through the busy bit, and up through the back streets, where we had lunch.  

P1170610

P1170613

 

1320:  A Mystery Tour of WW2, Caves, a Cove and an Olive Tree

Wednesday 16th October   

Picnic, table and chairs all loaded … we headed west.  Along the coast was pretty uninspiring … miles of ribbon beach hotel and tavernas.  Pleased not be staying here.

First stop was Plantanias where German Tunnels had been dug out by forced local labour to store ammunition.  The tunnels supplied the hillside defensive battlements.  The museum is run by volunteers and is funded by donations.  A film with sub titles explained how the local children used to play in the cool tunnels when it was 40C outside , pinching candles form the church.  The wiring for the lighting had been pinched by the locals and used to tie up fences etc.  The locals felt it was important to remember and tell the story.  It is almost possible to feel blasé about war atrocities when you visit a lot of sites, but Crete suffered hugely during WW2.  And it is obviously still very raw to many of them.

P1170625

One of the entrances to the tunnels.

P1170626

 An olive tree outside the main entrance … the story goes that one of the German paratroopers had been nursed by local women, but died and was buried here.  When the Germans wanted to start the tunnelling here, scared of reprisals, the priest persuaded them to dig a little way off.

Stop number 2 was the German war cemetery in Maleme.  The airfield here saw a lot of the initial fighting of the Battle of Crete May 20 1941.  The Allies lost it early on and with lines of communication lost west-east, they pretty much gave up.  Piss poor communication and shockingly poor management at the command levels basically lost Crete to the Germans. Resonance with our politicians today?  And bear in mind the Allies had double the numbers of the attacking Germans and the goodwill and military of the indigenous population.  So many Germans were shot out of the air, that they abandoned their plan of conquering Britain with a similar air invasion.

P1170627

 Hill 107 where 4,500 are remembered here.  Ironically, the cemetery’s care takers were for years the author of “The Cretan Runner” and Manoli Pateraki, who played a leading role in the capture of General Kriepe … for which there were also horrendous German reprisals.

P1170633

We drove part way up the Rodhopou peninsular, through a few villages and then east at Afrata, down a gorge and onto a small cove.  Not suitable for a motorhome.  Having the use a car does have its benefits. 

P1170634

A cafe and a few sun bathers, but a super picnic spot.

On the return journey we had two stops.

P1170636

The first was St John the Hermitage’s Cave, although I’m pretty sure he had several caves as we’ve come across at least one before!  It was quite a complex and obviously used for ceremonies.

P1170637

P1170640

Just outside was a small cemetery, and Google translate was able to tell us that this was for heroes.

P1170641

The last stop was an ice cream stop!  Although the main reason to come here was this olive tree in Ano Vouves.  This tree is one of the oldest olive trees in existence and is believed to be 3000 or 4000 years old, depending on which source of information you use.  Nice to think it may have been around during the Minoan age.  It’s trunk was seriously gnarled and hollow – it could have concealed several people.  During the last Athenian Olympics 2004, a branch was transported to Athens where victory wreaths were made for the winners of first and last events.


1321:  Not Finding the Rhythm in Rethymno

Thursday 17th October   

Having really liked Chania, we were expecting to like Rethymno.  Parked up, had a rip off coffee.  Chatted briefly to a couple who James had chatted to when they admired CO2 in Chania, to be told that the beach football championship was going later that day.  Perhaps, that was what had drown the crowds?  Or was to the over narrow shops, offering all the same silver jewellery or tourist tat?  We’d planned to stop for lunch, decided to see the much made of Rimondi Fountain, and then to skiddadle out of there!  We just tipped over into the second hour on the car park!

P1170644

Similar to Chania harbour, with its harbour front restaurants and Venetian light house, but MUCH smaller.

P1170645

Maps.Me – blame the map rather than the navigator!, led us to this Fountain, but it wasnt the right one!  So we’ve not seen the Rimondi Fountain and now won’t, as we won’t be going back!

IMG 3906

A lot of graffiti, but this was quite artistic.

IMG 3907

This graffiti not artistic.  We were more than happy to oblige.

Dog walking earlier that morning I’d chatted to a Brit, local resident for 10 years.  He was digging a boat out of the sand by the harbour.  A friend was very poorly and he was helping him sell his boat and car and re-home his two large dogs!  Er, no, we really don’t want any more dogs!  But he’d told me about a really good restaurant in a nearby hill village.  And so this was where we went for lunch.  It really was good and more typical of Cretan low prices.  Such good value.  

 

1322:  Theriso Gorge

Friday 18th October   

A super drive as the road follows the river bed up to Theriso.  Lots of z bends and great rocks.  Coffee on the way up … unusually dogs were not allowed in the restaurant and the outside tables had all been cleared.  But they let us in the side door and we watched the green patio canopy being pruned right back.  Mum and I wandered over to the adjacent cheese shop … just one choice of cheese, but we got to sample before buying.  Still soapy, not a big fan of Greek cheeses, but at least it had some flavour.  A sheep cheese … so many goats around, but what is their milk they used for?

At the village, the Museum of National Resistance 1941-45 seemed to be shut, but as we walked away, a lady appeared from a neighbouring house with the keys.  At EUR1 each, it was really good value.  Boards in English explained the Battle of Crete and there was hundreds of photos of locals who had fought in the resistance.  The village is also very proud of their connection with Venizelos’, it is the hometown of his mother.  Venizelos fought in the wars of independence against the Turks, was instrumental in self declared incorporation of Crete with Greece, and then became premier of Greece in 1910 (and several times after), thereby assisting official incorporation of Crete with Greece by 1913.  

Supper back at the beach front Cosanita restaurant for our last night in Almyrida … Fish Med Veg … salmon on roasted mediterranean veg … yummy.

P1170647

P1170648

We drove further up the mountain until we found a flattish spot for our picnic … great mountains.