Sunday 16th February 2020
We’d briefly stopped in Argyroupolis when the Aged P’s were here back in October 2019, but not stayed long as a) we were en route to down south and b) it was raining. It was forecast to rain some more today, but we donned our wet weather gear and headed out for a shortish walk and explore. We are not feint hearted! Much! Argyroupolis is split into an Upper and Lower. The Upper was built onto the site of the oldest ancient Minoan city in Crete, called Lappa; very little remains. The Lower is in a fertile valley with springs that have been channelled into interesting waterfalls and rills by the large restaurants.
We started in the Upper part, which took us past many old buildings … not the ancient Minoan ones as Lappa resisted the Roman invasion of 67BC and was consequently destroyed … another strong Cretan theme along with the Germans burning and killing whole villages in WW2. Only a few years later, 31BC and the Lappians decided to support the Romans and so got their village rebuilt and some elements remain, such as the 1000 m3 water cistern that still supplies the village. A Roman mosaic was covered over for the winter, but we’d been there, and seen that before. The name Argyroupolis (the g is pronounced as a a y) was adopted as recently as 1822.
The stone lintel is from Venetian times and the script translates as ‘The world is but smoke and shadows’. It refers to the tale of the princess Sophia, daughter of the feudal lord, who was wed the son of a Cretan rebel. The wedding was intended to reconcile the two factions, but the brides father got the groom’s family and soldiers so drunk that they were easy prey to be slaughtered. Moral of this story is that if you want to be a Cretan rebel, forget about marrying beautiful women, but stay in hiding!
The step is the lid of a child’s sarcophagus.
The second part of the walk took us down to the chapel of the Five Virgins … but you had to be at least 10’ tall to see through the window to their tombs inside. Of more interest were the early Christian burial sites all around the church and a 2000+ year old plane tree. All this was accessed … slowly … down a stoney and slippery donkey track.
Thirsty Oscar imbibing grave water!
The Whomping Willow? The ancient 2000+ year old plane tree looks as if it has had a hissy fit a the smaller tree.
Would have made a good picnic spot.
We’d elected to leave the picnic behind and planned to have a light snack in one of the restaurants, but ended up having a full meal … half of which is now wrapped in foil and back in the fridge for tomorrow. We started with homemade zucchini balls and a Greek salad. The house free offering was hot rice, cooked in stock and served with butter and lemon juice … similar to one we had in Kisamoss. The restaurants here are known for their spit roasted meats … today’s offering was lamb’ just delicious. And all consumed in front of a roaring log fire.
Despite the overcast sky, cold wind and slippery paths, another successful day in the Clune household.
1445: Potamon Reservoir & Patsos Gorge
Monday 17th February
Having showered the night before, it took a quick refill of water and a coffee and Arts’ before we set off for Potamon / Potamoi Dam. At one point our Co-Pilot for Caravans took us through a small village with a centimetre either side … as the the driver of Jez, I was thankful to get through without adding to the scratches. I’ve sine spotted an easy drive back out. Lunch on arrival and J rested, so I took CO2 for a walk around part of the reservoir. Built in 2008 and the water supplies the greater Rethymno area. In 2014 a crocodile, dubbed Sifis, was spotted in its waters, believed to have been released by a local. Several attempts to catch it and re-home it failed and sadly the harsh winter of 2015 caused its demise. There is a lot of parking around here and it seems to be on a day out on the Rethymno tourist circuit. Super quiet except for the odd 4wd trucks, mostly with olive tree prunings, that pass us to and from work i.e. early and late.
Oscar doesnt care what falls on top of him.
Potamon Reservior built in 2008. Jez’ parking in one of the many parking spaces.
Did I do that? I walked over the dam and the road was blocked off … subsidence all the way along.
After J arose from his slumbers, we drove to the Patsos Gorge. One of the websites I looked at described it as being in the top 10 most beautiful gorges …. it certainly was beautiful. True to form, we took a minor detour into the restaurant at the start! The gorge walk was short, but slow … really pretty and lush / verdant.
The resident parrot was extremely vocal. A high pitched siren when CO2 got too close. A stream of conversation otherwise … we recognised para kalo.
Chilly out and we needed fortification … fried puffs with cheese and covered in honey!
The path was pretty easy …
A couple of chapels along the route.
We didn’t leave our own wish / prayer … no paper. Nothing to wish for anyway!!!!
One of those walks that feeds your soul as it is so beautiful.
The bridge to nowhere … this is where we had to turn around. The heavy rains of winter 2019 had removed part of the bridge.
1446: Myli Gorge, A War Museum and Treats!
Tuesday 18th February
First stop was the 2010 Military Museum in Chromonastri. A young Greek National Service conscript, with a UK Masters in English, did a private guided tour just for me. He confirmed that military service is 9 months and the pay is EUR8 per month. However, if you elect to go to Cyprus, the pay is EUR500 but you are committed to 12 months. The museum was the brain child of the former Head of Armed Services who got the military to fund the museum in a former Venetian palazzo … funnily enough he came from this village. And he’d been sitting in the office with the young soldiers. I learned a few more facts about Greek / Cretan military history, the most revolting being that the New Zealand Maoris had cut off German penises, east, tongue etc and this had caused the start of the German reprisals.
James won’t go into military museums, so by the time I came out it was definitely coffee time. We wandered down through the remarkably smart village to a small old fashioned cafe / taverna. CO2 were allowed in, so we all felt the benefit of the log burner. Not sure about the benefit of the gritty Greek coffee.
Our first non seaside pitch since start October! We’ve become so accustomed the to the sound of waves and here was super quiet!
The military museum in Chromonastri … given the tour, I was over an hour!
A short drive to the start of the Myli gorge. J elected to rest in the car, which, as it turned out, proved fortunate. I set off merely expecting an easy walk down the gorge on an easy path. The winter of 2109 had been biblical in terms of rain and floods. Crete is still repairing roads and bridges. On the exit, I spotted a sign saying that the gorge walk had suffered land slides and to enter at your own peril … nothing at the top! Having forced my way over the obstacles, I was determined to get to the end … so James could drive around and pick me up! Nearly had to re-clamber my way up when faced with a major landslip.
This path looks civilised…
One of the many bridges washed away. Kind souls had either relaid planks of wood or thrown rocks into the stream to make stepping stones.
Oscar that is not a zip wire for you. The way the cafe half way along gets its supplies. Not sure how many customers they had last summer or will this, given the state of the path.
The sign states ‘The power of mother nature – winter 2019’.
I’d had to bottom shuffle off a half bridge earlier, but this land slip was significant. Some seriously large rocks and no clear route over. After a couple of false starts, I found a way down … slithering on my behind down a dirt slope to rejoin the path. Not for the nervous or infirm.
I knew the rest of the path would be ok, if horse and pond could get to the cave. A chap I met, English called Geoff, who we later bumped into, said that he’d spoken to the NZ cave resident who had lived there for 20 years!
By the time J found me, I had sunk the best part of a large glass of wine. So he had to join me … we moved our tray over to the small church to sit in the sun … lovely.
Having started, we continued, soaking up the sun on the terrace of the bar just 50m from where we’d parked.
From the bar, we could just make out the snow covered peak of the tallest mountain in Crete – Mount Psiloritis or Mount Ida … everything has more than one name or spelling here.
The wine wasn’t marvellous, so …
… we moved onto Metaxa and G&T … yiamas!
1447-49: Kalives Dinner and Jobs
Wednesday 19th – Thursday 20th February
Funnily enough it was a late start in the Clune household. We are lucky that CO2 will pretty much leave us alone for a lie in. The odd tail thumping by the side of the bed, a quick stroke and they go back to bed.
We returned to Kalives to have supper with Ann, Emma and Warren on Wednesday. We found them in a bar on the way to the restaurant! J got a pizza and I had excellent Prawn Saganaki.
On Thursday J went to get his 24 hr heart monitor results … the street had a power cut … a regular feature in Crete. Come back tomorrow. But all good.
Other than a trip into Chania to see the hearing aid vendor (how to use the app, clean the aids and check all was good), we did jobs, admin, coffees …. the weather was chucking a lot of wet stuff down at us still. Oh and Corrie had a pedicure!