05/22: In Search of the Perfect Beach

Komatose At Komos!

Saturday 28th May

We exercised.  Swam.  Sunbathed. Read.  Repeated.  Big beach so no worries about the weekend and tourist bodies being too close.  Lovely staff at a mobile snack wagon who plied us with cold drinks, ice cream and J’s burger lunch.

Beach showers used with my natural bar shampoo.  Toilet emptied under the cloak of darkness into the public loos.  A really lovely site.  Only disturbance, other than Oscar barking at passing dogs, was lads arriving for beers at 1.30 a.m. playing loud music.  

20220527 182021 

Reward after a longish and warm day. 

20220528 120231

Beach Bum Jez!

Agios Pavlos

Sunday 29th May

Moving from beach to beach has never been something we do.  Being beach bums for days has never been something we do either.  But they are so pretty here.  It’s hot.  And we’ve done pretty much all the sites nearby.  So now on a beach cruise.

I didn’t fancy another full day at Komos.  Needed a change of scenery.  So we upped sticks, cos we can, and moved to Agios Pavlos, arriving early before the  Sunday crowds.  Snack shack staff asked us to move right into a corner, given it was a smallish car park.  All very pleasant, so we went in for breakfast coffee and a shared plate of humous.  And then for a drink and icecream.  The sun loungers were a tad expensive at EUR6, but the shade meant we didn’t have to erect the kiddies UV beach shelter for J and CO2.  

20220529 112126

Agious Pavlos beach. Walked up the steps to the cave and over the massive sand dune to the beach the other side.  A really pretty spot.

20220529 112339

Time to turn back CO2!

20220529 112716

This amazing rock formation was on a boat cruise poster.  We saved £££s by cruising there in Jez.

20220529 113205

Up some steps from Ag. Pavlos and then over the huge sand dune to another nudist beach.

20220529 200410

Supper at the hotel slightly up the hill with lovely views over the bay.  Cash reserves running low, so we were relieved to be able to pay by card.

Ammoudi, eventually

Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st May

We were headed to Triopetra (3 rocks) and long beach, but we didn’t like the look of the shortcut turning … tarmac only about as wide as Jez’s wheels.  So re-routed via the main road adding 25 mins to the journey.  Didn’t like the look of that turning either.  Cobbles and steep … not Jez’s favourite!  We filled with diesel and asked the attendant about the road.  Road good, village at the start is  small and may be difficult.  As the solo driver, I’m a lot more adverse to risking it than I used to be.  Another quick re-route and onto Ammoudi, a recommendation by friend Lin.  

Suddenly we found ourselves in Spili.  We’d been here only weeks ago to the Maravel Herb Garden.  The main car park wasn’t too full so were able to stop.  I re-stocked on natural products of bar soap, shampoo and creams.  J had an omelette for breakfast and both had coffees … to 2 bills were EUR 6.60 and 7.00, but the charge was 9.50 … confused.  And we found a bank.  Back in funds.

Ammoudi is very pretty.  A short walk either side to nudist beaches.  A snack shack … already sampled ice cream and a drink.  A few small campers look pretty well installed.  They’ve hogged all the shade under the trees, but we wouldn’t have fitted anyway.  And a taverna just up the road.  A reprieve from the heat of the weekend.  Only 28C today and a cool breeze on the beach.  And bargain sun beds at EUR5.  And reading our blog from a few years ago we had walked here from Plakias and identified it then as a great park up.  We hadn’t stay ed there then as we had an appointment in Plakias to watch a rugby game in a bar.  Great to be able to ‘remember’ what we did by reading about it!

We stayed 2 nights and walked over the Damnoni Beach for supper both nights.  I got up very early one morning to climb to the chapel with views both ways.  The temperatures have generally been 29C by 7.00 a.m., a real feel 33C for most of the day, so reading, swimming and dozing has been the order of the day. Every day.

20220530 123735

Another beach snack shack.

20220531 081449

Despite the early start, it was still sweat making.  A few other folk were on the path also trying to avoid the heat.

20220531 082224

Ammoudi Beach.  Jez is invisible as he’s concealed by the mountain rocks.

20220531 082232

View the other way to Damnoni Beach where we ate … twice.

20220531 082602

The Summit to prove I made it!  Looking inland

20220531 221657 04

First cherries of the season.  They are grown in the Amari valley, where we started out.

Plakias for the Last Time

Wednesday 1st June

We have been to Plakias a few times, stayed and driven from nearby to eat, but always out of season.  We used the sells-everything-supermarket and a butcher.  Parked up and then were asked to move by the Life Guard … the season started today and we could not take up more than one parking bay.  With his OK, I moved us onto a rough area … it suited us as I could angle the fridge out of the sun.  And a bonus was that we were a little distance from the late night revellers loudly wending their way back to the their holiday accommodation …. we still heard them, but at least from a bit of a distance.  We have both agreed that out of season with only a couple of bars and restaurants open is much preferable and have no desire to stay there again.

20220601 155017 

A drink stop in Plakias.  Last time we were here with the Aged P’s we watched a car being pulled out of the harbour. 

Secret Location P!

Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June

This is a park up that has not yet appeared on any of the parking apps and we will not be the ones to change this.  We were introduced to Secret Location P by friends Lin and Bo who are good friends with some of the business owners there.  Lovely sandy beach.  Showers.  Great inexpensive tavernas.  It is a special place …. calm and quiet.  It feels healing somehow.  The two days here just oozed by.  Maddy and Jordan are coming to stay from 11th June and to give them some space,we will come down here again in the van.  We think this IS the Perfect Beach.

20220602 101347

Coffee Break.

20220602 185927

 View from the van 

20220603 205612

Rocky walk with CO2

And so back home

Saturday 4th June

I walked CO2 through the rocky undergrowth to the next beach and came back by the road!  J cleaned Jez … not a deep clean as we will back in him in a couple of weeks and before we leave Crete on 2nd July we will wash all the rugs etc.    Swapped vehicles back at the airport parking and returned home to Almyrida.  Feels hotter here as less wind.  I’ve already made my jobs list for the week and made a batch of soup!!!  Our mini holiday was a proper beach holiday.  Not our normal choice but it was relaxing.  

20220606 150005

 Back at Almyrida and these are the temperatures inside and in the shade!!

 

 

 

 

05/22: Amari Gorge Tour

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

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

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

IMG 6982

Knossos.

IMG 6987

Spinalonga Island and Elounda behind.

IMG 6990

Danny and Lisa are not lepers, honest!

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

 

Potamon / Potamoi Dam

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

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

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

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

IMG 7038

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

20220526 075237

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

IMG 7041

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

20220526 175009

View for the chapel parking.

Patsos Gorge

Thursday 26th May

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

IMG 7048

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

IMG 7046

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

IMG 7058

Patsos Gorge.

IMG 7061

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

Friday 27th May

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

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

IMG 7065

View from the climb to Syvritos.

IMG 7066

Was the climb worth it James?

IMG 7068

Not when this is all there is to be seen!

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

IMG 7070

Is Moni Asmaton worth walking to James?

IMG 7073

 Yes, it was! 

IMG 7074

IMG 7075


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

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

20220528 120231

Our prime beach front parking at Komos Beach.

20220527 182021

We used the Snack Shack … 

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