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Blog 1 Wednesday 2 May 2018
Up early (2 am) to get to BristolAirport in time for our 6.30 am flight to Chania. There were two slight delays en route, the Brynglas Tunnels in Newport were closed eastbound (frequent practice at night), and a second when I missed a turning for a short cut to the Bristol Airport road. We arrived at the airport at 4.25am and were met by the rep of the meet & greet service who took away our car. The weather was awful with strong winds and driving rain and we got wet just scurrying the ten yards from the car to the sheltered walkway to the terminal. Check-in went smoothly and after buying sandwiches for the journey we joined the long queue for security. Once through there we had a half hour wait until the departure gate opened so Jane had a coffee while I bought a couple of bottles of water. Once the
Our hotel/apartment is the group of brown buildings immediately behind the beach at the right hand end of the beach.
Fake news alert: this photo was taken in April last year. But if the BBC can massage images for their natural history programmes then so can I. And this photo isn't even faked, Plakias looks exactly the same this year.
gate opened we went to the departure “lounge” and got seats which had a view of our aircraft being loaded by some heroic baggage handlers: who were enduring the low temperatures, high winds and driving rain – and a few of them wearing short trousers!
The flight departure was delayed for an hour for an unexplained reason so we arrived in Chania at 1.30 pm local time instead of 12.30 pm. Immigration could not have gone any faster as it merely involved two police officers briefly glancing at passengers’ passports as they walked past the officers. The car hire pick-up also went smoothly and we were soon on our way to Plakias.
Although I know the road quite well now, and remembered where the fixed speed cameras are located, we used the satnav to see if there was an alternative, quicker, route. There was but it was only 10/15 miles shorter and involved some winding mountain roads, whereas the road that I was familiar with was good quality highway all the way. So we stopped at the turnoff for the mountain section to ask for directions; and have a light lunch at a convenient taverna; interestingly named Pelagia's
Yard. A good call as the owner’s daughter who served us was emphatic that it was better to stay on the main road rather than take the shorter mountain route. Another bonus was we were able to order two of our favourite dishes: green beans in tomato sauce and fresh calamari, which were delicious. Then back on the main road: past Rethymno and on to Plakias via the stunning Kourtaliotiko Gorge.
We arrived at the Plakias Beach Resort hotel/apartments around 4 pm and were pleased to get a room almost as good as the one when we had stayed there last year although slightly smaller, but with a great view from the terrace. After settling in we went for dinner at a nearby restaurant and then, very tired, went to bed.
Surprisingly I didn’t sleep late despite the body clock being two hours behind local time, and was up and about at 7 am. We returned to the restaurant we had visited the previous night as they offered breakfast, but it turned out to be a delayed and rather expensive disappointment: so they’re off the list of preferred venues. Jane suggested taking
a walk to our favourite beach (with accompanying favourite taverna) and we set off not knowing for sure which was the correct path. We made it after a rather hot 45 minute hike and had a fabulous lunch at Mesogeios: their summer salad and giant white beans in tomato sauce, plus a pint of draught beer all for €18.50 (£16.30)– in fact not much more than the cost of our small and mediocre breakfast. The return walk was easier as we met a lady hiker who directed us to a better route than the one we had taken on the outward journey. Even so the high temperature, just above 30c, meant that we were quite hot by the time we got back to Plakias; so we continued past our apartment to a supermarket and adjoining bakery where we had a reviving glass of fresh juice and a glass of water. Back to the apartment for a shower and rest then out for dinner at restaurant in Mirthios; a village on the mountainside overlooking Plakias. Surprisingly it was quite full even though there are comparatively few tourists around at present (our hotel opened just 3 days before we arrived because of
Trekking to Damnoni
Late harvest? Looked like wheat left out to dry.
The Kotisfou Gorge linking the south coast to the interior of the island in the centre background
insufficient demand). Consequently we didn’t bag a table with a view but the food and service were excellent so we were well satisfied.
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