1041-1048: Oozing along the South East Coast

 1041 – Tuesday 10th April 2018:  Ierapetra

Vet needed for Corrie’s booster injections and rabies blood tests – so straight to Lerapetra to vet Michael and his team…..3.5 hours later all done and the vet missed his lunch, for the first time ever apparently!  But such a thorough examination: ears, teeth, paws skin etc.  Huge thanks to Michael and his team. 

We were starving by now – so where to go?  The answer was obvious – right across the street – “G-spot bar” with ‘playzone’!!! Not a “G spot” in sight and the plays were cards and board games ……  

An evening wander – buzzing town – and wild parking on a town street with a not noisy fairground nearby. 

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Ierapetra.

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Any Greek coastal town of any import has one of these …  A Venetian Fort.

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Napoleon spent one night here … according to the map and vague direction of the rusting sign … this is it!

1042 – Wednesday 11th April: Mirtos

Morning – I ran on a real running track for the first time in 2 years. Repetitions x6 – a 250 metre short track. If I put my fast laps together – it would be 4 minutes for a kilometre!  Quickest for several years…..  K shopped – lamb and sea bass – and wine from a shop/local vineyard.  K:  I had to send for reinforcements to carry it all back to Jez .. J deployed the trusty shopping trolley.

We kept meeting a ‘interesting’ Dutch/Norwegian lady whose Greek finance had died – she seemed very concerned that he’d died in the street with one show off.  She’d seen the police photos  She’s buying a house in nearby Mithi, uphill from here.

 

 

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Pyrgos Ancient mini site looking down to Mirtos.

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Mirtos:  very pretty but too twee.

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 Gourmet supper:  Parchment backed sea bass, with spinach drizzled with oil and garlic and Fava (a puree of split peas).

1043 – Thursday 12th April: Sarakinas Gorge & Gortys

In the afternoon, we drove to the Sarakinas Gorge for our overnight – completely secluded…… Early-ish morning, we set off to walk the Gorge – but after 20 minutes the way became too difficult for our doggos so we aborted. But we had a real flavour of the steep sides – a bit like the Syq in Petra…..

En route to our next destination (monuments to WW2 fallen), we encountered a small mountain town. The streets were narrow – ok, we’ve done this before – easily….the got more narrow – and cars blocked our way, completely. To make matters worse, 2 cars came towards us – more blockages. We had mistakenly drive the wrong way into a one-way street!  (K: to be fair, when I was shown the no entry sign it was flat against the wall so fairly invisible!) We scraped one side of Jez on foliage … hearing the nails on black board sound as we passed – and on the other side we broke a cars wing mirror!  Guess who was driving?  Moi!  K leaped out to spot – the people didn’t speak any English – and one man shouted at her – unusual in Crete….. others were very helpful.  20 minutes later, the 2 cars reversed – which they could have done much earlier and saved a lot of bother.  We scraped through and out of the town – huge sighs of relief – this was Castelbellissimo in Sicilia all over but just as stressful!!!  The joys of motor homing, indeed.

Quiet afternoon (K walked) and overnight parking in the car park of an ancient site at Gortys……much needed relaxing glass of vino or two …    

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Windscreen passenger.

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Start of Sarakinas Gorge walk.  Only possible when little or no rain.

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Really impressive high and narrow gorge.

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This is where we aborted as we’ve not taught the dogs to climb steps.  Oscar had already been scrabbling to get this far.

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A monument to one of the villages where men and boys were killed by the Germans in September 1943 as reprisals for resistance activities.  

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This monument was just outside Ano Viannos.  A huge number of names.  Very moving.

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Gortys:  A 1600 year old Olive tree; surreal as growing around Roman pillars.

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Gortys:  The Roman Temple of Apollo.  A lot of the rambling site is fenced but easy to wander around for free.  Gortys was a major city by 8BC and later co-operate with the invading Romans, so the city was not destroyed, but developed.  At one point it had a population of 300,000 and the provincial capital.

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My walk … The neighbouring village is Ayii Dheka, which means Holy Ten.  Ten Christians were martyred here in AD250, this is the tomb of 6 of them underneath a much newer church.  Christianity first reached Crete at Gortys.

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Ayii Dheka is really authentic … slightly tumble down with odd Roman pillars and stones lying around or having been used in more recent buildings.  The church is where the martyrs met their fate … sadly it was closed, so I could see the actual stone where they were decapitated with their knee imprints.

 

1044 – Friday 13th April:  Blimey It’s Hot … Sea Breeze Needed

We both ran in the morning 2k and 6k – excellent…  K visited the Gortys ancient site, while I cogitated.

It was so hot that we decided to head for the sea and shoot the breeze – at Matala. An unmanned and unmaintained campsite, but with electric, toilets and water – free!!!  A regular hippy colony with many pony tails – K suggested I grow one. Well, I remember 1968, flower power and Haight Ashbury – “If you’re going to San Francisco….wear some flowers in your hair”, etc. 

We were not the only Brits … We met Diane and John – fellow motorhomers from Nottingham. What happens when motorhomers meet?  Drinkypoos, of course! They’d come to Matala for 2 nights … 6 weeks ago!  This is something like their 18th trip to Greece.

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Flowers along K’s running route.

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Some fine Roman statues …

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Gortys ancient site – Ayios Titos Church 6AC: fenced off, but still remarkable.  It was Crete’s main church.

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The Odeion: the structure at the back houses the law code, dating from around 500BC.  

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The Law Code is an ancient Doric Cretan dialect and is written left to right and then right to left, so eyes can continuously follow the script.  The code is a series of rulings on specific cases.  For instance 5 witnesses were needed to convince a free man, but only one to sentence a slave.  The law covered rape, trade, children of mixed marriages and property & inheritance rights … giving historians a clear insight into the Gortys society.  

1044-1046 – Saturday 14th to Monday 16th April: 

K walked to Red Beach – whilst watching nakedbuttocksbathing – a nuddy beach!   K:  I was chatting to the parents of an ex-student in the cafe, when I suspended my train of thought … pert buttocks do that to one!   The campsite bins overflowing due to some campers being silly?  Solution?  A complete site community project to sort it!!!   We supplied the rubber gloves.  Diane and John admired our twin tub, so K Diane went into full laundrification mode… Meal in Jez – and first swim of the year – sans K9s… 

Matala was a hippy town, but the caves on one side have all been fenced off and people are charged to wander around them.  However, there are still occupied caves around the other side, plus a number camped pretty permanently with us.  One such cave dweller is Jeremy … adopted from the USA, public school educated, agricultural collage, chef trained etc etc … he has an opinion on EVERYTHING, but is well informed.

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Looking down onto Matala.  Many caves in the rock.

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Red beach.

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Matala is nothing but a tourist resort with tat shops and restaurants.  Great beach though. 

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John and Jeremy, who just happened to pass as we were hitting the gin.  He stayed to supper.  No prizes for which is the cave resident.

1047 – Tuesday 17th April: The Bikes Came Out

Running again…  Then for Corrie’s first bike ride – a total success – but we decided not to harness them in the Os-car OscarCorrie buggy as Corrie nearly strangled herself!   Kommos beach walk and lunch nearby – ice cream and more vino in Kalamaki… 

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Kommos:  we parked the bikes and walked the beach with the dogs.  Surprisingly busy given none of the 3 tavernas were open.

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Lunch in Pitsidhia:  Supposed to be a dry day! 

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Fine bone china coffee cups 🙂

 

1048 – Wednesday 18th April: Bike Ride Number 2

Cycle to Ayia Triadha and Festos. Entrances were free saving €18 – worth a good lunch – lamb for moi and chicken for K –  ‘nostimo’ – delicious in Greek.  Rental car booked as Maddy will arrive tomorrow – and I will depart on her Squeezyjetplane…..  Maddy will love Matala – shops, beach, restaurants – and Hippydom…..

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Ayia Triadha:  some of the best finds were vases, now in the Iraklio museum.  Another site where you could wander at will.

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Festos:  Busier and larger than Ayia Triadha.  The original palace was used as a foundation for a later one.  The central court had amazing views.

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993-998: We Must be Bloody Mad!

993 – Wednesday 21st February:  Adria Athens
 
Lovely lie in – as we could!  We drove to Adria Athens (lovely people) … a few minor jobs and booked to have rear air suspension fitted . We had to hang around to check that delivery will be at a time that suits us.  This was rather spontaneous, but it had been at the back of our minds, that the springs on motorhomes do not get the chance to spring back and relax like on an unladen truck. Rear air suspension is also supposed to help with the ride and handling.
 
Onto Accorinth … ancient fortress covering an extended hill top near Corinth, which we had not visited with the Aged P’s.  It was shut by the time we arrived, but amazing views.  Little did we know the visit would change our lives…..
 
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Our parking at Accorinth.
 
994 – Thursday 22nd February:  Corrie
 
Oscar tells the story better than I can – albeit with his slant – see the end of this post. Our new family member is a poppet – and quite domesticated – doesn’t pee or poo in the van but waits patiently for her outside visit. Aged Ps think we are bonkers – they’re right!  So far, we’ve bought a house and two motorhomes on a whim – so why not adopt a doggy?   She has passed the blood tests (no Leichmanoisis, which was what we particularly feared) and vet exam – spaying due for Monday.  Then Pet Passport process.  We will be coming back to the vet in Corinth a few times!  As well as being several hundred Euro lighter!   Now, they are known as CO2….. we expect more carbon dioxide to be spayed – no, sprayed around Jez. 
 
Onto Korfos … pretty fishing village, but a boozy night with Jac and Scott (motorhomers from Derby) whom we met on our stroll – we then parked next to them – lots of vino – and some white rum – producing some K-rum results…….
 
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Corrie.  A real heinz 57, but definitely some Greek shepherd dog in her.
 
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She watches everything.

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Korfos.
 
995 – Friday 23rd February:  Hang Over for Ancient Epidavros
 
Slight sore head in the am for K ….. we walked it off into town for coffee. We gained a wine glass from last night – cheers S and J. We filled with water at Epidavros Ancient Theatre (K had spotted a tap when we visited here with the Aged P’s); thankfully as showers are due soon.  Here we discovered that our Corrie barks at dogs approaching near our Jez – maybe more of an ‘alarming’ dog than young Oscar?  
 
On to the coastal village of Ancient Epidauros and our super overnight parking.  Minor nanny nap walk along the front – spotting running routes for the morrow.  Now K freezes meals and takes a meal out of the freezer in plenty of time for it to defrost.  Pork and prunes due for tonight and it came out of the freezer last night.  We know it would have been yummy, but we were not to eat it.  It had already been eaten overnight … so that was the plastic bag shreds that J found on the floor this morning.  Note to self, move all defrosting items out of Corrie’s way!  No dog friendly restaurants – so supermarket tinned meatballs for supper – rather yummy too!  
 
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Our view out at Anc. Epidavros.
 
 
996 – Saturday 24th February:  Why Move?
 
We both ran in the morning – new system as we need to break Corrie in slowly to running ….. J runs first alone and then K with Oscar, whilst J breakfasts with Corrie.  A meander to the small Greco-Roman theatre – fresh excavations – along the nearby beach to site of a sunken city .   6-Nations rugby in the afternoon – Ireland narrowly slid past Wales keeping a Grand Slam hope alive….  England will play Scotland tomorrow.  K:  No comment on this, as we know how it ended …. badly!

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View back from the far beach where we ran to. 

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Walk to sunken city … funnily enough you can only see it on Google Earth as it is underwater!

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Didn’t expect to see a flock of geese on the beach and even more surprised when they set sail on the sea.
 
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A bit of cuttle fish … must think she’s a budgie!
 
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A local cafe …  more signs of getting ready for the season … both dogs managed to get in this pic.
 
997 – Sunday 25th February:  Corinth CamperStop
 
Destination Corinth Camperstop as Corrie will get spayed by the local vet tomorrow – fingers crossed…  The approach roads are very narrow and twisty – and uphills on a wet surface – traction control engaged – a successful, if scrabbling, landing.  The site: good pitches, lecky, waste and fresh water, chemical wc emptying, wc and showers – all for €10 per night!!!  We booked for 3 nights.   The owner pressed a load of sweet and seedless grapes on us.
 
Being on electric, I got the electric hob and slow cooker out.  Leek and potato soup, vegetable Korma and Greek spinach with beans (a feature on menus that Mum and I particularly liked) all cooked, bagged and heading for the freezer.
 

998 – Monday 26th February:  Vet
 
A short drive to the vet.  We stayed with Corrie whilst she had the sleepy, followed by the antibiotic and pain killer, injections … right up to when she went right under with the drip.  
 
We asked when we should come back.  Now, one would expect, being used to British vets, that the answer would be late afternoon.  No, only 40 minutes.  We removed ourselves to Jez for a coffee.  Hardly had we drunk this, but the vet appeared at our window waving us to come in so that we could be there as she came round.  Quite similar to taking a child down to theatre and being in recovery when they come round.  We have instructions and medications that J walked to the normal pharmacy to buy.  I was expecting an Elizabethan collar to stop her licking the wound, but the vet said this distresses the dogs, so unless she keeps worrying at it, best not to have one.  Very happy with that … not to mention how awkward the collar would be in such a small space 🙂  
 
Back at the Corinth Campserstop, we settled Corrie into her bed, but she eventually decamped to Oscar’s.  Not sure how he will take that tonight, as he used to sleeping beside me!  She has been out on unsteady legs for a pee and eaten scrambled egg and rice … the vet said street dogs normal eat much quicker than house dogs.  But very docile and sleepy.  She will go back to the vet tomorrow for another pain relief injection; good just to have the vet check her over again too.
 
Being settled for the day, I took O for a long walk and did laundry; the twin tub has sooooo been a worthwhile investment.  A neighbour told me a medium load here is EUR8 … well, I just saved EUR16.  James cleaned Jez inside and did the engine levels checks.  A productive afternoon.
 
The said neighbour is British ex-forces driving a small and ancient, but rusting Winebego.  He has driven from the UK with his massive drooling Mastiff, with the intention of buying land and erecting cabins in Crete.  Given he doesn’t seem that fit and is advancing in years, this seems somewhat challenging.  However, the real story is that his vehicle insurance expired on 1st Feb and the insurers refused to renew … something about not paying taxes there.  I am sure there MUST be a lot more to it, but he is now looking at registering himself in Greece so he can import the vehicle and get it taxed here.  He mentioned the vehicle is worth £2,000 on a good day, but the importing will cost £6,000.  Fellow motorhomers, Carol and Mike had mentioned another character here, who we have yet to meet … A Hungarian looking for a temporary bride … I forget what the reason was.  You do meet them on a trip like this.  
 
 

Oscar’s Diary (Renamed CO2)
 
Well, well, well (and well again).  Me flabber is feckin gasted!!!  If you’ve ever had yer blabber fasted, you’ll know wot I mean.  The owners have gone totally bonkers!  To cut a short story long…. James took me for my morning walk (and the other thing too) – off the lead (he’s learning well). This little pixie dog appeared – Wild Thing (there’s a song about that). She wanted to play – now I never pass up a chance of a bit of ‘RolyPoly’ – so we gamboled along nicely…..  Then J called K to see the little rascal from the van door – she looked at it and said “shall we adopt her?”.  J answered “yes”.  I thought K wanted an ‘adaptor’ from the garage so I was cool. Bejaysus, the next thing the young doggy was in my van and scoffing my food!  It appears they have taken her into my family permanently!!!!!  
 
K has called her ‘Corrie’ as she comes from Corinth (ancient).  How original is that, you say?  Not.  They could have called her Rover or Trixiebell or TrollyDolly or Wildthingiewotsit…. but no – blinking Corrie!  Mind you, she’s cute (that’s what K calls J – and he biffs her bottom!)  He likes a bit of bottombiffing…. no comment from me, there.  She is ok (not K but Corrie) and takes orders from me – which is the most important thing. We took her to a local vet and she is perfectly healthy (I didn’t want to catch a dose of fleaze or wormz) but she will need the ‘chop’…… It’s good that she’s no pussy (remember Mrs Slocum?).  Sparky enough – and would yez believe it?  She has snow white eye lashes!!!  What is the world coming to?  Any road up, she can stay as long as I have the power of Tito – sorry, vito…..  
 
Corrie here, readers….  I was out minding my own business and playing with this stud Oscar (he wanted his legover – but I never do it on the first date, anyway) – in my wildness area.  Before I knew it – I was dognapped!  Well, it means regular nosh and a nice bed in the warmth of something like a big tin can with wheels…. the owners are ok – J is a bit of a greco-roaming ancient – and K is a bit of a posh bird (she thinks).  They tell me I’ll meet doggys called Poppy and Boo (queer names) and Kenzie – in other countries – I’ve never been past Corinth. I had a family once but the Recession meant I was turfed out, like 1 million other Greek dogs – tragic.  I really wanted to be called Madonna or QueenBea, but Corrie is quite catchy (named after a street in somewhere called Manchester, I believe…  Oscar thinks he can order me around – now girlies – how many men are similarly denuded, sorry – deluded?
 
Yours in shox – Oscar and Corrie – next time it will be Corrie and Oscar.

Yassus, caramera and efharisto – and yackyda (Welsh for his nibs).