Published: January 7th 2009January 7th 2009
Pat helping Connie on Christmas Day
Sunday, 4th January, 2009.
A cloudy, but bright start to the day.
We managed to sit out for a while enjoying the weather.
Pat cooked the chicken sausages, with some baked beans for our lunch.
We left the villa about one o'clock and took a walk along the beach, watching the sea. We stopped at Gecko, and whilst there updated the blog and caught up with our emails.
We checked the premium bonds website, and we have won another £50,00, hooray.
Following this we popped into Status and played pool.
When we left we walked back along the beach, and returned to the villa at five thirty.
We snacked on various things in te fridge, conscious of finishing things, as time runs out on our time in this location.
Monday, 5th January, 2009.
Some clouds, but lot's of sunshine.
We both took advantage of the sunshine and sat on the top balcony, sunbathing and reading.
At midday, I washed the car, to get the dust and mud splashes off it. I need to stop driving through any big puddles, for a couple of days!
We then started getting
our things together, preparing to pack.
Pat cooked bacon & eggs, for our brunch, at three o'clock.
We took a walk down to town at four o'clock, into Status to wish Jacco, happy birthday, and to play some pool.
We left around six o'clock and went to Lucky Luke's for a Gyros (at home we would call this a doner kebab, but this name has it's routes in Turkey, so is not used here). We ate this as we walked back to the villa. At the shiny new patisserie, I bought a wonderful chocolate mousse mouse, which was scrummy.
We went out again at eight o'clock, back to Status, as it was Jacco's birthday, It was fairly quiet and we left at about ten thirty.
We are drawing to a close another chapter of our journey. We leave the Island this Wednesday, the 7th. Crete and especially Makrigialos have been very welcoming and hospitable to us over the last month. The weather has also been beyond our expectations.
The quiet Christmas and New Year, being on our own, in a strange town, is what we may have imagined. This was outstripped by far, with
what ended up being the reality.
We have had the opportunity to have some serious rest and relaxation over these past four weeks or so. We have explored, when we wanted too, and also been very lazy when we wanted too. The weather has had it's lesser moments, with some very strong winds and heavy rain at times. But , the temperature has remained not too far below twenty, most of the time. Today, the car said 17°C. Pat's Mother rang us specifically earlier today to let us know that it was snowing where she lives in Felixstowe.
I think we have both come to the conclusion that we can survive in Greece over a winter. This has been one of our objectives in travelling outside the summer and seeing what Greece is really about.
On a change of subject, I was reading one of our Greek guidebooks, to find out that Greece has 1425 islands, 166 of them are inhabited, some of them apparently only by Monks, and 78 are connected by ferry.
This prompted me to work out what parts of Greece, that I have visited so far, over the years, the list is
Epiphany. The priest about to throw the cross i the water.
as follows:- Crete, Kefalonia, Pserimos, Kos, Corfu, Paxos, Lesvos, Nissyros, Rhodes, and of course mainland Greece. So, nine islands so far. A long way to go.
Tuesday, 6th January, 2009.
Bright sunshine to start the day.
We were up and about early as today is epiphany and we understood that part of the local celebration of this day was to throw a cross in the sea, to be recovered by local lads diving in after it.
We walked down to the harbour along the beach. There were a lot of people and eventually the priest came down from the church, got into a boat with several others, including those who were going after the cross. The priest started the service and threw a small wooden cross into the water. Six males of various ages dived in after it. There was of course a winner and he took it back to the the priest. It was thrown in a further two times, to be chased after.
We saw and spoke to Rosemary, and several others we have made an acquaintance with during our stay.
We then wandered back along the beach to the villa. Pat
Epiphany. The winner
finished some ironing. I popped out to fill the car with petrol, and check the tyres air pressure.
Our packing continued, gradually getting everything back in the holdalls and crates.
Pefki Bob, was back at the complex today.
It threw it down, with hail early in the afternoon, which lasted for about twenty minutes, followed by another beautiful rainbow.
We had finished packing most things and once the rain stopped we then loaded the car. It didn't seem to take that long, we are obviously getting used to doing it.
We went dow to Status at about three o'clock, and asked Connie to prepare us some food, we had a hamburger and chicken soup.
The Christmas decorations are coming down today, Pat helped a little with getting them down in the bar.
We left about five, got back and tidied the villa.
We popped down to Lucky Luke's at seven to get a whole cooked chicken, with chips. This was dinner.
Rosemary came to wish us goodbye, and we thanked her for her help during our stay.
At eight thirty we went down to Status, it was darts night tonight. The place was fairly quiet and there were six of us playing darts. Pat and I were part of the Red Team and we beat the Blue team 6 - 4.
We left just before eleven. Our last night in Makrigialos and we said our goodbyes.
Wednesday, 7th January, 2009.
Pat had set the alarm for six thirty and it was still dark when we got up.
We showered and bathed and packed the last few things, tidied the villa and were on our way by seven forty five.
The drive to Iraklion is two hours and the journey was uneventful, very light traffic. The car managed to get up to 60 mph, and we were on some proper dual carriageways. It's the fastest I've driven for weeks. We got to the Port at nine forty five and couldn't see our ferry.
We parked and went into the terminal. a coffee was first on the list of priorities, which we had with a chocolate croissant.
The GA Ferries office was closed. and nobody was at the information desk, so we went to the ticket desks and spoke to a very helpful guy on one of the desks and he advised that there was no ferry to Thira today. He showed us on a town map, where the GA Ferries office was and advised us to go and see them.
We asked him if he knew of any other ferries in the next few days not to Pireaus and the next one was Saturday, with GA Ferries again, to Thira. No other ports seem to be served from here at this time of year.
GA Ferries are not very well thought of and we have heard from at least two travel agents, that they wouldn't advise travelling with them.
We drove to the office and found it easily. We did some “Greek parking” on a roundabout, and went into the GA Ferries office.
The lady advised that the sailing today had been cancelled, she didn't say why, but that we could travel on the ferry Saturday. No changing the tickets was required. It was at 1830 hours.
So, No Ferry today, and next one on Saturday, three days to wait.
As we had not done much of the Western side of the Island, we decided to head to Rethymno, and possibly base ourselves there for the next few days, we could see Chania, as well whilst there. Off we went.
Iraklion to Rethymno, is about 75 kilometers, so took us just over an hour. We parked in the Port area, as this is usually good luck for us and easy to park. Cars were parked everywhere as usual, and we found a pay car park, which was nearly empty.
I rang my father, to give a quick update.
The Fortress was just near the car park. We walked for a short way and found a Hotel on the seafront with balconies overlooking the beach and port area. The Hotel Kyma was open and had rooms available for us. Sea view extra five euro's, fifty five per night, room only. We were invited to have a quick look at a room, which we did and all was fine. We booked for three nights. The only downside, is because of it's location, it has no car parking facilities, but we thought we would be able to park in the street, not to far away.
As we were parked a little distance away, we took advantage of the reasonable weather and went for a walk around the town.
It was just after twelve thirty by now and decided on lunch, there was a restaurant right in front of us and we went in. A spaghetti bognaise and pork souvlaki, with drinks was €14.32.
The town is a good size, and in the summer highly populated with tourists. The town centre shops were surprisingly normal, with a vast array of types and styles. A lot of places are open and all this suited us very well.
We found a book shop and bought a Greek English dictionary, which we had been looking for.
Pat and I had been looking for some new trainer type shoes for me. Pat had bought me some cheapy trainers before we came away, they are fine, but goodness they do smell.
We passed an outdoor type shop, with trekking gear and shoes, and went in. Some of the brand name things were expensive, but we found the sort of shoe I was looking for and it was 50% off. So I tried some on and we bought them for €45.00.
In order to understand our ferry options better, we went into a travel agents and asked them various questions about ferries, times, destinations etcetera.
We were heading in the general direction of the fortress, at the end of the town centre, and walked up the hill. A samll sign advised that it was closed from one thirty and as it was now one fifteen, we decided to have a look around the outside and come back another time. There are good views of the town from the Fortress and port areas.
We walked back along the sea and went for a coffee, in Livingroom. Good Coffee, with bottled water provided and little biscuits. Very sophisticated. €6.00
We went back to the car, to try and move it closer to the Hotel. The car park was €2.30. The temperature on the car said 26°C.
There is a supermarket next to the Hotel, so we bought some water for the room.
It was a long way round, with one way systems in the town, and we had to do some occasional Greek driving, but we got near the Hotel and found a space, just around the corner.
We got our overnight stuff and went to the Hotel. We asked about internet and they have free wireless connection in the rooms, which is really good news for us, as we can try and catch up with stuff.
We went up to the room and settled in. The balcony is massive and we have a wonderful view of the beach and port area. Well worth the extra five Euro's.
We will now try and see some of this part of Crete. Our plan is to leave Rethymno on Saturday morning and give ourselves plenty of time at Iraklion to find out if the GA ferry will actually sail.
We now know we don't have any destination options other than Piraeus, but in the event of not be able to travel to Thira on Saturday, there are two different ferries going to Piraeus on Saturday evening.
We would then arrive in Piraeus Sunday morning, and be able to find out, what options are open to us, including going somewhere else in Greece, other than Thira.