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Published: July 19th 2013
Venice Street Scene
Restaurant in our neighborhood on our last evening. Several of the servers performed and sang.
Well that was a very short night! We rested until about 8:30 and then went in search of an internet connection. Found one close to the apartment and I completed our Venice blog, checked emails and searched online to make sure we knew exactly what to do for our flights to Greece. Spent about 1 hour there and then wandered down the street. Heard a lot of singing and clapping so checked it out. It came from a little restaurant so we stopped to eat and join in. Was a great family experience for our last evening. 3 of the servers/owners? were the entertainers. The one man had an incredible booming voice. Such a warm evening so no jackets or sweaters needed even at 10 o'clock! Packed everything up and set out clothes for tomorrow.
Set the alarm for 3:30am, woke at 2 and then dozed. Obviously my subconscious mind didn't trust the alarm even though I use the same one everyday I'm at home!! Stumbled up and into the shower to wake up, finalized the packing and morning rituals and headed to the Vaporetto. 4:25 was the listed pickup time. We were joined by 4 Malaysian girls on their
We were bused out to our airplane
way to Prague. We chatted and waited. Trev saw on coming and both he and I mindlessly walked on to it!! Much to our chagrin we found out we were on the wrong one!! Obviously the sleep deprived brain was not firing on all cylinders. We didn't check the Line # on the boat. No problem. We go off at the next stop and waited for the right one to come along. The girls chuckled at us as we got on the boat. Rhonda is definitely stressing as this boat stops at EVERY dock and is taking FOREVER!!! We have a plane to catch. We made it to the bus terminal at 5:15 and the bus was to leave at 5:40…I went in search of a water taxi or one with 4 wheels.. I think I might have consider a donkey if there was one…maybe a bike 😊 Nothing available so stood and fretted - such a useless waste of energy! Bus arrived we got on, it left on time and we arrived at the airport at 6:10 for a 7:15 flight YIKES….at home I wouldn't think twice about that amount of time in advance. Here however, you are bussed
I think these anti smoking captions are about the right size!!
out to your plane and they close the Check In counter 45 minutes prior to flight and the gate counter 30 minutes before flight. Nice system though as they show you at the bottom of the excavator which ticket counter to go to. All are identified by a number. We march up, whizzed right past the boarding pass kiosks following 3 business men. The gal at the counter sent all of us back to get boarding passes. Done, move to counter and got bags checked. All the while Trev was chuckling at his over anxious, control freak wife on a mission. Shoulders are now back at their normal position, stopped for a cappuccino and croissant and had about 15 minutes before boarding. These flights were so difficult to find there was NO WAY we were going to miss them.
Best part of the bus ride to the airport was chatting with a young couple from Toronto. They were headed to the Amalfi coast and Rome before their flight back to Canada. Amalfi Coast is definitely on my Travel Bucket list. The pictures I've seen have been gorgeous.
Munich airport is HUGE. 2 Terminals now but looks like a
3rd is being built. We have 3 hours here and then on to Thessaloniki Greece with another 31/2 hour layover and finally get to Crete at 7:45pm. Here's hoping all our flights are on time. No such luck. Our flight from Munich is delayed about 1 hour. Gate crew came on PA system and said due to passenger making an incorrect statement the airport was required to get an additional security certification on the plane!! Not sure I would have announced it this way. I think there might have been a better way to word it so it didn't raise passenger eyebrows. All the luggage had to be removed from the plane, rescanned and the plane checked out. We still made it to Thessaloniki on time and our flight from there to Crete was a bit delayed but not much.
Our luggage arrived promptly as it had a priority tag on it. I guess that happens when we checked it in Venice all the way through to Heraklion! Nice… Came out of the arrivals area to see a sign with my name on it. Waved to the man and with a big grin he says Welcome to Greece. He
View from the airport steps
grabbed my bag and we headed for the taxi area. I kind of like this not having to figure out where or what to do next business. Great drive up a winding highway to our apartment. Savario wasn't home but the taxi driver called him to make sure he told us the correct apartment. There are 3 apartments in this home along with the owner's. We settled in and enjoyed the evening breeze on the deck. Soon a couple and their 2 kids arrived from Oslo Norway. They thought we might be in their spot so we didn't unpack and assured them we would wait for Savario to come home from work. All's well…we are in the right spot. Savario is a hoot. Italian decent; a chef who has lived here on Crete for 10 years. We chatted for a bit and agreed to have him arrange his car rental person to pick us up around 9am. Time to call it a day.
We were up and ready but the rental man didn't arrive until about 9:30. We drove with him to town, did the paperwork and then went for some breakfast. SCORE….free WiFi. Lovely breakfast of toast, soft
Coffee spot outside the airport
boiled egg, ham, cheese and cappuccino all on the beach. Finished up and now time to buy some groceries at the Super Market near our apartment. Fun trying to guess what is in the packages when it is all Greek. This is the first time we have not been able to take a reasoned "guess" and the language. Greek alphabet is nothing like the English alphabet. We were safe with fruit, eggs, bread, tomatoes, GREEK yoghurt , cheese, turkey and butter. Home to the apartment to unload and relax for a bit. We went back to town as we had seen a laundromat and really needed to do a wash. OH YAH!!! Lady says put your clothes in the washing machines and I will do the rest. She said come back in 2 hours. We paid for it but what a treat. Everything folded beautifully and smelling divine. Dinner was bread with turkey, cheese and tomatoes. So tasty.
Managed to crawl out of bed about 9:30 this morning and get our day started. Trev did his usual eggs and toast and I have a delicious plum. We then headed for the port to figure out our dilemma with the
Heraklion Airport Crete
Waiting for our shuttle bus to the terminal
ferry to Sifnos. The ticket agent confirmed there is no way to get to Sifnos on Saturday Jul 27th just as I had found in my research. Soooooo, much to our dismay our Santorini visit will be cut short a day. We'll keep the room for Friday night anyway so that we can stay by the pool until time to head to the docks. Now though we have to find a place to stay Friday night in Sifnos!! Bought our tickets for Sifnos and from there to Athens. All the ferry tickets are in hand.
Decided to head to Rethymnon and see a bit more of Crete. It is about 78km west of us. WOW, what a difference to Heraklion. Clean, more cared for and much nicer feel. Very much a resort, tourist town but done up pretty nicely. We got out and walked along the sea for a bit and then spotted the fish pedicure shop. Had to try it. Trev and I both had a 15 minute treatment of little fish nibbling away at our toes!! Was a strange feeling and had a bit of an electric current shock to it. Tingling in your toes took on
a whole new meaning. Have to say they did a good job nibbling. The Greeks seem to have a fascination with fur. Many fur coat shops and the airline magazines were full of fur ads. When does it get cold enough to wear one??? Walked back to the car and headed home.
Goats seemed to roam the highway at will and the poor lady in front of us suddenly veered when a baby goat tried to cross and catch up with his mama! Oranges, melons, lemons, tomatoes etc were all available from many roadside stands. They dressed up their stands to look like thatched huts.
Greek drivers are incredibly aggressive. It is a 2 lane road we travelled and yet you will have cars coming up on your left, pushing you towards the shoulder while staying in the one lane. Don't you know there is a double line and you have to manage 2 cars side by side in the one lane to follow the rules!!! Slower cars automatically straddle the shoulder line so that more powerful cars or ones in a hurry can pass them on the left. Motorcycles and scooters are worse. Many without helmet, in
shorts and tank tops, with flip flops on their feet. I have visions of no flesh left when they crash!!
Rested and then about 7ish went in to town to the resort Savario is head chef at to check it out. We found him and he insisted that dinner was on him. It is an all inclusive resort so dinner was from 7pm to 9:30pm. He said we had to stay for the Cretan performers after dinner. We did….their songs are sooooooo long! We saw a bit of the dancing to but then left to our favorite internet spot and had cappuccino's while surfing.
Lazy start to the day with cappuccino's at the Happy Cretan and a wonderful good news email from Neville our host on Sifnos. The house is available for Friday night so I guess we won't be sleeping on the beach after all. We are going to try and get to the Convention grounds today but have limited information so I asked our waiter and he gave me some further directions to the town. Off we went once again reading signage in the Greek alphabet and the map with the English alphabet. The town we
were going to was Finikia and the sign said Foinikia with a slash through the "o". I figured that was close enough so we followed those signs through hill and dale. We seemed to have gone through the town so I told Trev to stop when we saw 3 men sitting at a roadside stand selling potatoes. I brought my written information and showed it to the first man…he pointed to the oldest gent of the bunch….they had a discussion and then the old gent said drive straight and go in at the super market. I thanked them and we drove on a short way to the super market. Walked in and a man was at the cash register and I did my schtick all over again. He hollered out and a lady came from the back, read my information and proceeded to tell the man to phone the number I had. He called and said a tourista was looking for this address and then he went quiet. Turns out the person on the other end was getting someone who spoke some English. Your man handed me the phone and the voice on the other end said drive straight until
you see the sign with the family name then turn right and go up the hill. Thanked all of them and we headed out. And drove, and drove and drove to the point we thought we must have missed it but continued on anyway..The sign!! thank goodness it had a chicken on it as it caught our attention. The owners of the farm where convention is are chicken farmers. They actually hatch and sell the chicks. We drove up and walked in the barn and the chairs were set for meeting and the tables ready for the meals. No one was readily visible so we wandered towards the back. Found a lady folding clothes and she introduced herself as Doreen. Turns out she is of Irish descent, raised in England and her sister is married to Trev's relative Norman Delaney!! Wow, what a small world. And to make the world even smaller, out from behind the curtain pops Lloyd Kneesch!!! Had a wonderful visit with all here along with a delightful lunch. There will be about 80 people here and convention is next Fri, Sat & Sun. The Tue after all of the workers go to Athens for a convention
there. Lloyd was telling us that Niles Bennet is his companion in Jordan so all you BC/AB friends and family will know him. He is preparing at the Athens convention. We will make an attempt to go as well but public transportation is spotty and it is about 50km from Athens.
Now on to Matala, a coastal village on the south side of Crete. We had to head back to Heraklion to catch the highway south. Completely different world once you get over the mountain. All farming as far as the eye can see. Lots of small towns, some in complete shambles others very well maintained. We kept thinking how do these plants make it. There is no rain until October, maybe, the ground is so dry and hard looking and yet the plants are green. There are some irrigation lines that are visible but many don't look like they have any water at all. We saw what looked like grape plants in perfect rows, green, but the earth was almost dust dry!! Olives and grapes seem to the be number one crop but there are oranges, lemons, melons as well. Matala is know for the caves that were
Our Apartment on Crete
Kitchen and living room area
occupied by hippies many years ago. It seems that all beaches have the umbrella/lounge chair thing going on with not many people just using their towels. We walked "the boardwalk" such as it was for a bit and then headed home. Lovely drive on a sunny day.
Crete has been interesting as it is the first stop along the way that each day wasn't taken up with walking the streets and enjoying the people of the city. We have struggled with the slow down. Not quite sure what to do with ourselves. In hindsight I think that it was a good transition for our last 2 weeks of beach/pool time and quiet. We are ready to move to that slower pace now.
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