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!!! 

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The sun out again for our walk on Sandy Beach  

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

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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.  

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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…..

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

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

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

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

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And this is relatively calm now.

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

1030-1034: Gulf of Mirabello

1030 – Friday 30th March 1028: Ayious Nikoloas

Agios Nikolaus – free parking on the Marina – walked the town – very nice area – lunch sitting right on the water’s edge …..  

We met two chaps on a boat nearby – they’re sailing their craft from Turkey to California! 14 metres long – it’ll take about 3 months with the longest stretch of nothing to look at but waves being 3-4 weeks.  It looked small but, we were invited to look around inside – and it’s remarkably spacious. Two double bedrooms en suite and large living/dining space. They sail rather than power – 2 salty sea dogs!  Apparently, a yacht will self right if turned over, but a power boat won’t.  

K: even when having a boat tour in harbour, I was uncomfortably conscious of the movement … I’ll stick to a motorhome, even if a lot smaller inside.  Incidentally, I met a another yatchie dog walking who told me the mooring and electric here came to about EUR350 per month … not cheap if you want a marina.

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One of the views from yesterday as we approached Ag Nik.

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Ag. Nik. only has 2 small beaches, but look at the mountains heading east along the coast. People come here to relax, eat and drink.  We had read that Ag Nik has been adopted by the Brits and we did hear quite a few UK accents … having not heard British voices for a while, it take a moment to tune into them.

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Europa who was kidnapped / tricked by the leacherous Zeus who had disguised himself as a beautiful bull.  He hid Europa in the cave he was born on.  She bore him numerous children.  

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The bottomless lake.

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A family of paddle boarders entertained us whilst we had lunch. 

1031 – Saturday 31st March: Plaka Walk

We ran along the seafront in the morning – perfect running conditions…

We sailed Jez to Plaka – a short distance – to a gorgeous free beachside overnight – 50 metres from the lapping waves!  A good perambulation uphill around the headland via a wind farm – 14 kilometres all told!!!  A Plakaperfect sunset…

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Corrie impersonating a mountain goat.  We came across a huge herd / flock / school of goats … fortunately we were warned by the sound of their bells as Corrie seems to think chasing them is acceptable.

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This coast line is the Gulf of Mirabello … and it truly is.  Over the last 40 years the hotel complexes and holiday villas have moved in, but it is still stunning.  The small island is Spinalonga Venetian fortress and subsequently a leper colony until 1957!

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1032 – Sunday 1st April: Spinalonga Fortress & Lunch

Uphill am running on the track we walked yesterday – but not 14k!  About 4k up and down….   All brekkied up and off to the boat for Spinalonga island (ex leper colony).  It appears that leproacy still exists in India, China and some other poor countries – a dreadful disease…  

Our doggies were well admired en route.  The photos tell the tale of our circumnavigation of the island.  To the mainland for a sumptuous lunch of seabass, salad and wine – we had been recommended to the restaurant by a young lady we met in Ag Nik…   

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Neither dog was happy to board … particularly Corrie … we shan’t get a yacht then!

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The Venetian fortress 1579 completely covers the island.  It was impregnable and was only handed over the the Turks 50 years after the rest of Crete had surrendered.

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The Turkish building within the walls were adapted by the lepers, as well as 3 large ugly C20 concrete dormitories.

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Most of the buildings are shells that you can wander around, but there are still features such as wooden shelves and window frames.

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The Lepers’ Graveyard.  This was the last Leper colony on Europe, long after medicines were available.  The conditions here were very basic and those that complained were incarcerated in the fortress jail.  

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Would this be another sea side lunch?  It was a little windy and a certain hero had to clamber onto the rocks to retrieve my sun glasses that had blown off the table.

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Simply the best sea bass EVER. 

1033 – Monday 2nd April: A Plaka Pruning and Big Spinalonga

Morning run again – then vanwork – K shearing Oscar – and moi doing van internal cleaning. Then K sheared me as well – one of her special Kkutz…. different shears!   We left the lovely parking having filled a few watering cans for Jez’s gunnels from the high up beach shower … aching and wet arms for K who held the watering can aloft, like a processional torch.  

We motored all of 10 minutes to south of Elounta.  Across a small stone bridge to big Spinny island and another seaside overnightly – just as good as the last one…  An Austrian motorhome arrived – the first we’ve seen on wilding for a while.  K doggywalked while I set up camp and tidied a bit. 

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Sunrise.

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Think Corrie was panicking that her turn was next!

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Can a view get any better than this?  

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There were salt pans here, stone windmills and an ancient port.

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From a small chapel on my Big Spiny walk.

 

1034 – Tuesday 3rd April: Kritsa & Laundry

Morning run – this is my fifth running day in succession – six will be a record for some couple of years!  I’m upping the distance slowly – 6+k today – forcing myself to run slowly.  K: I walked this morning … the dog pruning is not easy on my back!  

On to Kritsa via Lidl and a small church with frescos, coffee – and guess what?  Another beachfront parking!  Twin tub out, laundry – and clothes line fluttering in a strong breeze – mega quick drying.  A no alcohol day so I’m imbibing zero alco beer…  We visited a British food shop – I’ve got some Magners cider for tomorrow.  My first taste of booze was Bulmers cider in a corner pub in Blackrock Dublin where I got rather squiffy and threw up in Blackrock Park!!!  Amelia will know the area well… K:  J assures me that the ONLY reason Amelia knows the area is as it is near where they lived.

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 Panayia Kera Byzantine Chuch with the most complete and best preserved frescoes in Crete … mostly C14 and C15 …

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… the guide book says they’ve been retouched so often that they are now impossible to accurately date.  They were beautiful though.

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Krista is know for its weaving, embroidery and other handicrafts … to be honest all the shops looked the same and the table cloths all looked machined.  We did spot a lady doing some crochet, but this was about as creative as it got.

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Karavostasi Beach: A working shower on the beach, so we filled Jez and I did several loads of laundry … it all dried within hours.  Not sure how many pairs of knickers I lost off the line!

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Yes, another great waterside overnight parking … we are now used going to sleep to the sound of waves.


The Owners’ Diary – the Empire strikes Back!

Four can play this game – Oscar/Corrie!  Now readers – these little feckers have chewed through a lead (halfway), a recycling bag – and stole a days supply of treats from K’s bum bag!   We will instigate the ‘naughty’ step, kiddos!  But they do it so innocently – “who me?”  How about an exchange visit – with Poppy and Boo, Shirley and Margaret?  Or we’ll take Kensie from Robyn and Tom!  

Watch this space – K9OwnersClub.littlefeckers.chewballs.dryfarts.org.