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Published: December 10th 2008
Our Christmas Tree
Saturday, 6th December, 2008 continued
We walked into town at ten thirty, the sun was shining and it was really warm.
The cafe Du Lac, advertised free wifi, so we had a coffee and logged in.
I updated the blog and checked our emails.
The accommodation in Makrigialos that was available, looked really nice from the owners direct website, and we were fairly sure that this was going to the place for us.
We then had a walk around the town, picked up a better Crete map, and raided the cash machines. Then back up to the hotel.
The drive to Makrigialos was about an hour and we left about around twelve thirty to give ourselves plenty of time and do some sightseeing on the way.
Crete is much bigger than Kefalonia, where we have just spent a week and seems to have a lot more space.
The countryside is mountainous but they have gentler slopes as a rule, which allows a far greater amount to grow on the hillsides.
Makrigialos is on the south of the Island and we cut across from Ierapetra. There was no traffic to speak of, and it is a pleasure to drive. We didn't hurry and stopped now and again to take in the view. The wind was blowing fro the south, I believe what they refer to as a “meltemi”. It is a warm wind and the car was saying 23°C.
We found our way to the Villa's and met Rosemary, who looks after the place. The site has twenty newly built properties, in a gated surrounding, with a communal swimming pool.
The buildings were finished in April, 2008 and are built to a high standard, and are very swish and modern. The villa we were looking to rent is great, and Rosemary was very helpful explaining everything about and answering our silly questions. We said we would have the place and left a deposit.
Rosemary, asked if we like a coffee, which we accepted, and spent some time talking about the area and various things. She is English and has lived here for over twenty years.
We drove the other way back to Agios Nikolaos, as we had time and no particular schedule. It is a much twistier route this way and not one to use if you were heading somewhere west on the Island.
We stopped at a Lidl, that we came across, to get some supplies for our first day tomorrow at the villa, as we are not too sure on Supermarkets being open on a Sunday. We will do a bigger shop when we have some space in the car.
We arrived back at the hotel after five and the Manager moved his car so we could park out the front of the Hotel.
We chatted about where we had been and the weather and he asked what time we would be leaving in the morning as he was due to go picking his olives and his daughter who manned reception didn't usually get up very early. I told him around nine, so he asked if we could settle the bill, which I did.
He gave me his card to make sure we stayed there again next time we were here.
We relaxed in the room for a while and I have promised Pat, a Saturday night on the town. We shall see what happens.
We went out at seven thirty, and headed down the hill around the corner. There were a few swanky bar coffee places and we were going to have a drink first before dinner.
We chose the Caramello and went inside. A girl brought us some glasses and a cooler of water, then went away, which confused me. But a short while later, a guy came along for our order. He had one of the electronic gadgets that sends a message, to the bar.. We asked for a Gin & Tonic and a diet coke. He then asked which type of Gin and gave four options, including Bombay Sapphire which is Pat's favourite and we ordered it.
Along came the drinks, with sliced carrots and cucumber, assorted nuts and some crisps in bowls. It was all very impressive and the place itself was stylishly fitted out.
Pat and I then both made a guess as to how much? I said €12.50, Pat said €14.00, it was €8.60, and we were both delightfully surprised.
We took a stroll around to the small seawater lake and a fish jumped as we stood looking. It's another very picturesque location.
I managed to persuade Pat to let me have a Chinese meal as we had seen a sign for one, and it will be my first on the trip.
The New Kow Loon was all lit up and people were eating, the menu on the wall outside had English, so it was a go.
We ordered the set meal for 2, plus a Beef Satay dish. Chicken salad, won ton's and spring rolls for starters, then Sweet & Sour Beef, another dish, and the Beef Satay, with special fried rice. We hadn't eaten that much today, and we managed to eat most of it. Our most expensive Greek meal yet, at €45.40, but we were wonderfully stuffed.
It had rained a small amount when we were eating, but we took a stroll around the harbour area, to finish the night off and got back to the Hotel at ten.
Another really good day.
Sunday, 7th December, 2008
Plan for today, leave the Hotel and drive to Makrigialos, get settled into the villa.
We were both awake at a good time for us on a Sunday and got ourselves washed and packed away. I took some photo's of the view and of the room before we left. The sun was shining off the sea and it was lovely again on the balcony.
We left the room and went down to reception, the old guy was still there and we thanked him.
Everything was put in the car and we walked down the hill. It was about nine forty by now, and the town certainly seemed to b e coming alive. Some of the coffee shops were open and people were outside.
We relished the sunshine, both of us are in trousers and t-shirts. Our first priority was to hit the cash machines again, which we did with no problem. We decided on the cafe Du Lac again and sat outside drinking coffee's.
Pat had spotted a pastry shop nearby and we meandered along to see if it was open. It was and we were looking for croissants, but they didn't have plain one's so we had a couple of little one's with apple fillings, which we ate as we ambled along back towards the car.
So, it was goodbye to “Ag Nick” for the time being. A lovely place for a few days for us. We needed petrol and filled up on the way out of town and slowly drove down to Makrigialis. The temperature on the car when we left was 21°C.
We drove down to Makrigialos and the temperature went up to 23°C, the waves were breaking against the shore quite strongly, but it was still lovely.
We arrived at the villa, just before twelve and saw Rosemary, who said the car park was open and the key was in the door. She needed to pop out, and collect her daughter, but would be back in a short while.
I started unpacking the car and Pat started “nesting”. The weather was so nice, that I found the bag with my shorts in and changed, with my flip flops as well.
Rosemary returned and we found out a few more bits and pieces about the place, then she left us to it.
We are apparently the only people here for a few days, some others are due to arrive on Tuesday. I asked Rosemary about the weather, because I wasn't sure if these warm conditions were somehow unusual, but she said that it was usually like this.
We finished unpacking the car and then I made a phone call to my father to give our weekly update. Whilst speaking to my father, I had put our little clock thermometer on the table outside and it read 41°C in the sun.
Pat cooked us some dinner, from the things we had bought yesterday, pasta and a bolognaise sauce, with some bread and butter and olive oil. Our first meal here. simple but very nice.
We decided to have our first general explore and took a walk down towards the beach. We didn't go far, but just ambled along taking in the sights and watching the waves roll in. The town has a variety of small shops and supermarkets, taverns and restaurants. Some are open, some aren't. Enough to supply any immediate needs. We walked almost to the Marina, and sat for a while just watching the sea. Pat described things as “bloody marvelous”.
We had spotted an open bar while ambling along that looked reasonably inviting. So I asked Pat if she fancied a beer. She thought this was a jolly good idea. So we headed back to the bar, “Status” and had a beer and a coke. Not sure what nationality yet, but the lady may be Dutch or German. We sat outside watching the sun slowly slide away. As we left the bar owner asked some questions about how long we were staying and advised that a number of British, use the place and some of the forthcoming Christmas and New Year events.
After her questions, I asked how long she had been in Crete, five years, then the important question, was this the normal weather for the time of year. She said that the sun was strong, and that it was usually around 22° to 26°C in the day time, when the sun dropped it then gets cooler and you may need a jacket, but this was how it was.
We headed for home, and popped into a small local supermarket along the way, for a couple of bits and pieces.
We had a quiet evening and an early night
Monday, 8th December, 2008
My father's 70th Birthday. Happy birthday Dad.
Plan for today, visit a big supermarket and stock up on food and stuff.
It is very peaceful around here and there was no noise in the night. We were both awake early and went up to sit on the balcony enjoying the sunshine.
I rang my father to wish him a happy birthday.
The thermometer on the clock went up to 54°C went it was sat in the sun. At this rate my sun tan will be great by Christmas.
We both read and drank coffee for a while, I then asked to Pat trim my hair again. We sat round the back and Pat did her hairdresser impression.
I decided as were are settled for a while to try my contact lenses again and got them in successfully. I can wear sunglasses when I have them in but, I need reading glasses to read!
Rosemary and Nico were both around, so I talked to them for a few minutes. Nico said the weather is due to change for the worse.
We finally left for the supermarket at twelve. The big one's are a little way from here, so it was going to be a little drive out for us.
We did the Carrefour first and found most things we wanted. Pat now has Gin, so that's good.
Then we popped into the Mega Market, to look round and bought a few other things. We are well set up for a while.
A slow drive back and a little rain in the air. The mountains in the distance keep hold of most of the clouds, so it was only a light sprinkling.
We did get to see some beautiful rainbows, and at one stage you could see the whole semi circle arc of one from ground to ground. With the grey black of the sky in one part and the blue clear sky in another. Really beautiful.
We got back and unloaded the car. We had a snack lunch, of bread, cheese, feta. olives, ham, salami, and little crackers. Followed by some local apples, which were sweet and very tasty.
A restful afternoon to follow, nothing particularly planned for the rest of the day. We may go for a walk later.
At around seven thirty we decided on a walk to the Status Bar. We had a couple of drinks to help celebrate my Father's birthday. We watched the rioting in Athens and Pireaus on the news. We were in Pireaus only a few days ago, and it all seemed that much more closer to us because of it.
We walked up to Lucky Luke's and got half a chicken and chips to take away, €6.00. Then back to the villa. The chicken was really nice and it saved us having to cook anything.
We watched the television, for anymore information on the riots and went to bed at ten o'clock.
A peaceful day.
Tuesday, 9th December, 2008.
Plan for today, none.
We had another good nights sleep.
It rained first thing, so there was a look of wetness around the place this morning. Pat says there was another rainbow. It's strange the way it rains here, the clouds are back at the mountains which are slightly inland, and the wind pushes the rain this way. So there is bright sunshine and a fairly clear sky directly above and rain.
Pat was gradually catching up with all our washing and ironing, and I went and gave the car a wash.
There is an English electrician here this morning, looking at the swimming pool lights. I had a chat with him and passed the time of day for a while.
Rosemary and Nico are as always, not far away.
There are some people in number 9 today, haven't met or know anything about them.
We went for a walk in an easterly direction late morning, heading towards Lagada beach. We ambled along just looking at things and generally being nosey. There are a lot of new builds going on around the place.
We diverted down to a beach and looked around, a van at the far end, with a couple of people and us. The Dutch guy we had talked to in the bar, drove past us as we walked back up to the main road.
We walked for a while further and didn't get on to Lagada beach itself, but we were in the general vicinity. This was far enough so we headed back.
We walked all the way back and passed the villa's and continued into town, raided a cash machine and popped into Status Bar for a quick one. It was about two by now. The news showed the rioting still happening.
We headed back and picked up some bread on the way. Pat cooked us Bacon and eggs, with the bread when we returned.
The rest of the day drifted by. We watched some television and had an early night.
An aside, for your possible amusement and information, I have now given Pat a further new description and long winded nickname, which is “My highly paid research assistant”. This is because Pat does all the looking up information and reading through our guidebooks. I simply ask her about where we ought to go, such as archaeological sites, museums etc. and then ask daft questions when we get there, to find out what is it all about. I hasten to add that she is very good at it, and because we have similar tastes, I do rely on her choices.
Wednesday, 9th December, 2008.
Plan for today, look at the ruins at Gournia and pop back to Ag Nick, to say hello to the Tourist lady.
We heard on the news last night of a possible national strike today, but we will continue with our plans and see what happens.
On 31st October, whilst we were at Murano, near Venice, looking at the glass stuff, Pat bought a small Christmas tree, with little decorations, the whole thing in glass, and about five inches high. The idea being that wherever we were we would have a Christmas tree. It was duly unpacked when we arrived at the villa and is now on the dining table.
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