Travelblog 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Weather: 17 degrees and partly cloudy

At 11:00 am we bring Kyon to animal pension d’Aanloop. For the first time out and also for two weeks. I am very excited. I hope he has a good time. Once back home we start packing the suitcases. We think we have everything in it and even had some weight left over. Later when we are sitting downstairs on the couch, René suddenly says that it might also be handy to bring underwear and socks and such. Hahaha we completely forgot! So we put those back in. Then had to take some out again. In the end, everything is in there and we have the right amount of kilos. In the evening we eat on time. And then we try to get some sleep. But at 11 p.m. we are both wide awake. How quiet it is in the house without the dog. Funny how quickly you can become so attached to such an animal. So we watch some more TV and sit behind the computer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Weather: 17°C and partly cloudy NL, 33°C partly cloudy GR

At 2:05 we leave for Schiphol Airport. At 3:45 we arrive at P3. René drops me off with the suitcases and parks the car at 617, behind the parking garage. The first bus is quite full, so we catch one later. We are already checked in, so that makes a difference. We now have to label the suitcases ourselves and then drop them off at an automatic gate. Then scan again for the next gate. On to security. Everything can stay in the bag, but we have to take off our shoes and belts. We are both searched and my luggage is checked separately for drugs. Everything is OK. We walk on to C10. Most of the stores are still closed. I always find that a bit strange in an airport. There are always people coming and going. Why can they hardly store at certain times. At C10 we wait until boarding and I can write down the first part of the report.
At 6:45 we are on the plane. The flight goes smoothly as we land at 11:10 a.m. Greek time. 20 Minutes later we have the suitcases. We walk with the suitcases to The Best across the road. We see the car already there. The same one as last vacation. We pay for the remainder of the car and get in. A little after 12:00 we stop at the door to the apartment. We greet Rania and a few regular guests. Gerda is also there. Leo is not, who turns out to be in the hospital. They are going back to the Netherlands as soon as possible, because he needs a new heart valve and he prefers not to do that here. They were well taken care of and helped by everyone. That is truly Cretan Family.
We have an espresso first. Then let’s go to the room. This year it’s room 301, my favorite. The best view, sunshine from early morning until late at night. Two windows and a balcony that we can open, always a little breeze. We unpack everything and then go shopping right away. Toilet paper, water, stuff for breakfast. Some nuts and the like. We bring those right back to the room. We eat a sandwich at Rania’s and then we take our first ride. Through the old road from Sissi to Neapoli, then keep Driros, towards the coast and then just before Plaka back to Neapoli. What a sea of flowers! I photograph a beautiful Dragon Root (Dracunculus vulgaris) and flowering olive trees. The air is buzzing with bees. Back in Malia, we are greeted by Lazer. He has now relieved Rania. We chat and have a drink. Then it is time to get some sleep. We have been up since 11:00 pm. After sleeping, it is time to shower and change clothes. I update the report again in writing.
At 7:30 p.m. we walk to the restaurant. There we are greeted by both brothers. And Vasili is also back at the grill. Besides a new cook (also Vasili) and new help in the kitchen, there is also a new guy in the service (also Vasili). Everyone calls the latter therefore but Billy and the cook is called Maestro. It’s the first night, so I order Soutzoukakia. René takes Gyros. Along with wine and water. They arrive first with the wine glasses on feet again. Wonderful, but we prefer the Greek glasses. And of course that is no problem. As a side dish we take a Greek salad. After the wine and food, we ask at 2x Axbax. Aristo explains to Vasili/Billy how to make these. It is a kind of large espresso, but not a double. After coffee, we order some more wine. René gets another Flower and a shot glass of Metaxa. At 11 p.m. we walk back. We see 2 geckos. We do not yet have a flashlight, which makes it difficult to find them. We chat for a while at the bar. Also with Rick (whom we met here in 2010 and with whom we are still in contact in the Netherlands). Later Yorgos also comes and we chat more extensively. At 2:45 we go upstairs. We sit for a while on the balcony and then it is really time to go to sleep.

Thursday, May 19, 2022
Weather: 18°C and cloudy in Malia, 24°C and partly cloudy in Matala

It is 9:45 a.m. when we get up. First night’s sleep anyway. And it was late yesterday. The weather is really different today. That was predicted too. It would really be colder and worse for two days. It’s cloudy, there’s a lot of wind and it’s a lot cooler. After tomorrow the weather will get better. I go with René to the center after fixing up. The mosquitoes have also discovered that I am there. Apparently I was stung directly yesterday in the restaurant. Three very large bumps. So that will be a trip to the pharmacy for tablets and cream.
Back in the room I make coffee and tea and have breakfast on the balcony. The stuff is not yet blown away, but it is not too bad. After breakfast we look where the sun is shining. And it turns out to be in Matala. So we go there. What a nice drive.
We drive in the direction of Heraklion and then take the exit to Mires. At Agia Varvara the road is closed again (again damage from floods and tremors), so we have to go through the village again. In itself also nice, the last time you were led around the village. Tip for those who have rented a car, in this village you will find after entering on the left a small gas station. Here you can always refuel very cheaply. The prices here are always lower than in the far surroundings. After Agia Varvara we drive up to Mires and then turn left to Matala. This way we don’t pass through Festos. It goes a lot faster, although now we pass through other small villages. In Matala it is crowded and even the paid parking lot is almost full. We just barely find a spot. Although I wonder if this is even a spot anymore. Well, it is there. Everyone can pass it. So must be good.
We walk through the streets and stores. There is a lot of wind here too. There is the same atmosphere as always here. Nice and relaxed. After a while we decide to have something to drink and eat. We choose Zafira. A nice place with a good menu for lunch. René takes a tonic with a bacon omelet. I have a Freddo Espresso and a supertoast. That turns out to be a sandwich made of three slices of bread. With ham, cheese, bacon and ketchup in between. And chips on the side, of course. Delicious! After lunch we have seen enough of Matala. We drive almost the same way back, but a little more across the Messara Plain. What olive trees there are here. We see an old Citroen (Snoek), with a Dutch license plate. There is also a very old caravan. Both have seen better days. René looks up the license plate via an app and sees that it is still insured, but the MOT expired in April. The Pike is from 1974. My year of construction! When we drive from Agia Varvara back to Heraklion, we incur another minor damage to the car. The car in front of us, an old junker, loses a piece of the rear bumper. And this one hits the hood in front of us. The onward journey back along the main road to Malia goes without a hitch.
At 4:45 p.m. we are back at the apartment. We look at the car but only see some scratches, it seems not too bad. We immediately go out for a nap. Then shower and clean up. At 19:00 we walk with Rick and the children to the taverna. Eating out together. We get menus, but first we have to go with them to the kitchen. They have bean soup, Fasolada, as an appetizer. Delicious! Years ago, I ate this once with Yorgos in a small mountain village. It was made with chickpeas then. The version in the restaurant is as it should be, with white beans. As a main course I have Bifteki, the men Souvlaki. Iris takes chicken nuggets with fries and Joey wants pizza. He prefers watermelon. It’s not the season, but Aristo had promised it to him this afternoon. So that will be taken care of. Joey isn’t very hungry, but by teasing him a bit that he really can’t finish the watermelon, he ends up eating the lot. Did he get enough vitamins after all. At 9:15 p.m. we head back. We see no geckos at all this time. Too cold, I think. And we still don’t have a flashlight so that doesn’t help either. At the bar we have another drink. Rick goes to the room with the children. Michalis also drops by. He has lost a lot of weight, apparently he is on two different diets. And his back hurts, so he drags a pillow everywhere he goes. Yorgos also arrives at the apartment with Nikos. We chat for quite a while about anything and everything. At 2:50 am it is fun and we go upstairs. High time to go to sleep.

Friday, May 20, 2022
Weather: 22 °C cloudy to partly cloudy

Got up at 10:00 this morning. Rene gets bread and fresh gravy at the supermarket. I meanwhile make coffee, tea and eggs. After breakfast we leave for Heraklion. We want to take a look at the street Leoforos 62 Martiron. This is a street where almost no tourists come, but there are lots of stores. More for the locals. You can find stores with tools, home furnishings, a bakery, butcher, etc. But also some clothing stores. We first go to Jumbo. This is a kind of Action, but very much bigger. They buy everything there. And lots of everything. Clothes, household appliances, tools, school supplies, bags, suitcases, garden furniture, lots and lots! And also new diving goggles, snorkels and water shoes. We do need those. We threw away the old ones last year. They were worn out or broken. We buy all kinds of other things, including a flashlight. Then we walk on to Block 62. This is a kind of outlet. Clothing stores on one side and sports stores like Nike on the other. René buys cargo pants, shorts and 2 T-shirts of the brand Funky Buddha at the outlet. This appears to be a typical Greek brand. You see it more here, many young men walk around in T-shirts of this brand. I buy new white classic Nikes. Always good and timeless.
After shopping we drive to the city center. We park just outside the old city wall, in a free parking lot. You have to be lucky to find a spot here. We have that luck today. We walk up the stairs and end up in a kind of city park. Through some shopping streets we arrive at the Lion Fountain. By now it is lunchtime. At Da Vinci everything is full, so we decide to have lunch at Politea. René takes a pita with pork, I go for the pita with chicken. At Da Vinci we buy an ice cream at the counter. The ice cream is fine, but it would have been nicer with a waffle or crepe. Hahaha. We walk on after the ice cream and at Public I get the new CD of Minos 2022. Playing it in the car is not going to work, there is no CD player. That will come at home. Then we walk back to the car and drive to Malia. There we go to the pharmacy again, this time for René. He caught a cold on the day we went here. He has everything clogged up and doesn’t get enough air. Here you get all kinds of things. Nasal spray (the good ones, which you can only use for a short time), cough medicine and a few bags with some powder. Hopefully he will get more air now. He is still suffering from the after-effects of Covid anyway. In warm weather with a higher humidity he gets almost no air. And when you have a cold it doesn’t help. We bring everything to the room and then we go downstairs for a drink. At 6:10 p.m. we go flat for a while.
After our nap we shower and change clothes. We walk at our leisure to the restaurant. It is 8:00 pm when we get there. Rene takes Stifado, I go for the Mousaka. After the wine, some raki, 2x Axbax and more wine we go back to the apartment. We now see 7 geckos. The flashlight is not very great, but it helps. At the bar we drink some more and wait for the new guests. Sophia and Isabel. Two young girls who booked this last-minute. They are also only staying a few days. Something you hear more this vacation. Short trips of 4 to 5 days. They find it sweet that a few more guests stayed awake to welcome them. We won’t mention that we are often the last ones and help with closing. It is finally 3:00 am when we go to bed. Tomorrow we leave for Chania for a 2-night city break. Can we also see the city by evening and night.

Saturday, May 21, 2022
Weather: 22°C and partly cloudy

Got up at 9:30 this morning. We don’t have breakfast in the room. We get sandwiches and coffee at the bakery. We drive on to Chania in one go and arrive at about 1:00 pm. Just outside the old center, near the sea, we find a free parking lot. There we leave the car with the bags. We can’t check in until 3:00 p.m., so we walk through the old center first. We drink coffee somewhere, a Freddo Espresso and take a coupe of ice cream. Earlier, many Greeks drank Frappé. But these days that is more of a tourist thing. Greeks have switched to the Freddo Espresso. And I can understand why. This one is made with real coffee and not Nescafé. At 2 p.m. we walk back to the car we take out the luggage. It is still too early for the hotel, so we drink another fresh gravy somewhere. Closer to the hotel and so we can do some nice people watching. Time flies and it is just about 3:00 pm. We check in at Elia Zampeliou and the room is fine. We have number 6. Especially the view is great! We can see the lighthouse in the old harbor from our bed! It’s not really cheap, but how often do you do something like this. So if you do it then, you have to do it right.
We leave our things in the room and go into town again. What a lot there is to see in the old town. So many little streets and alleys. You almost get lost sometimes. Finally we walk back to the room. In the room we can watch Formula 1, the qualification. Max becomes 2nd. Tomorrow we want to watch the race somewhere at a cafe or something. We don’t know if that will work, because while walking just now we didn’t see anywhere where they broadcast sports. Or where there was a sign on the sidewalk or street that they were going to do this. So in the extreme, we’ll have to watch the race itself in our room. We’ll see. After qualifying, we close our eyes for a while.
After our tukkie, I’ll take a shower first. What a wonderful shower! A rain shower. And no curtain, but sliding walls. That is sometimes a disadvantage of the Cretan Family, the eternal struggle with the shower curtain. When I’m done, René is ready. We dress for the evening. In the meantime, I update the report again. It’s almost 7:30 p.m. by then. At 7:45 p.m. we head out. The sun is just setting and the light of the setting sun, is exactly in the lamp part of the old lighthouse. A beautiful sight! After walking around a bit, we stop at Salis for dinner. High level, also in terms of price. In terms of prices, this is more like a Dutch restaurant. But that’s okay for once. René takes Ribeye with coffee-pepper sauce. I take chicken thigh with mashed cauliflower and roasted cabbage. For dessert we have white chocolate mousse with fermented passion fruit sauce and pistachios. Both have a glass of wine with it. They have a very thick book for wine here. The average price for a bottle is around €35. But they also have bottles of €1,900.00. Fortunately, you can also order a glass of some varieties. After dinner we walk around, everything is beautifully lit. The harbor is magnificent. At Apothiki in the old harbor we stop to drink some more wine. Here we do just order a bottle. The prices are better here. At 0:30 we go back to the room. Time to read some more and then sleep.

Sunday, May 22, 2022
Weather: 29°C and sunny

Got up at 8:30 this morning. The weather was beautiful. Bright blue sky and no wind. We shower and get dressed. Then we walk to Elia Fatma, where the breakfast buffet is. The choice is huge. I am not much of a breakfast person, so a bowl of Greek yogurt with pickled cherries and a glass of fresh juice is enough for me. Rene takes buns and bread and a boiled egg with coffee and gravy. After breakfast we go back to the room for a while. It has been cleaned by now. We pack the things we want to take with us today on our car ride and hike. It is 10:00 a.m.
We are going out today, towards the Akrotiri peninsula. First we go to the monastery of Agia Triada. This is a very beautiful monastery. Large, and like at Arkadi with a rather large church inside the monastery walls in the middle of the grounds. The monastery is still in active use. We see some monks walking here and there. We leave them alone. We do take lots of pictures. The gardens are beautiful and there are pots of flowers everywhere. On the outside of the monastery, but in the monastery wall, is a store and the storage for the barrels of wine. In the store we buy grape syrup and balsamic vinegar with honey. Can they renovate again. We get back in the car and drive to Moni Governeto. Another monastery. The road there goes through a beautiful area. It is really very beautiful here. Moni Governeto monastery is closed today, there is a service going on, but from here a path leads to a cave and an abandoned monastery, Katholiko. We don’t reach the latter. The path is too hard for me. Too much pain from my Achilles tendonitis. Besides, it is quite warm and there is not a breath of wind. Just before a steep part downhill, we stop. René throws the drone in the air and takes some more images and photos. On those images we see that it is indeed still a tough stretch. We walk back and then drive to the village of Stravros. This is where the Sirtaki was invented and where the movie Zorba the Greek was shot. We have lunch at Mama’s place. Just like the film crew did then. The beach and tavernas are crowded. After lunch we drive back to Chania. We first try to park the car again near the old center by the sea, even closer than where we parked the car yesterday. But the chances of finding a spot here are very slim. A tramp helps us park the car right behind the maritime museum. He apparently keeps an eye on where there are still some holes and then directs people there. He doesn’t really ask for money for it, but would like to have some. We press some into his hands and thank him for the help. We take the stuff to the room. On the way we buy another gecko from Aluminati. We love geckos and this one just belongs on our wall at home. After we put the backpacks in the room, we look for a place to watch the Formula 1 race. There is a woman outside Muses on the sidewalk beckoning people. She asks if we want to have a drink. I indicate maybe, but that we are actually looking for a place to watch F1. They do have big TVs hanging up and she indicates that she will ask her boss if it’s allowed on there too. And it is allowed! Great, then we also want to have a drink and stuff. Great! We take a fresh juice and fruit salad. Then Freddo Espresso and a beer to celebrate the victory. After the race we walk around again. I keep seeing vests hanging here that you can wear and button in multiple ways. I just don’t find them very cheap. But René indicates that they are very handy. So I buy one. What color to choose. The choice is endless. In the end I go for black, which matches almost everything I have with me on vacation. If it does cool down in the evening, I can use this one right away. After the purchase we walk to the room. A quick visit to the toilet, I update the report and then we go to bed. It is almost 6:30 pm. At 19:00 we shower and change for the evening. At 7:45 p.m. we go into town. We walk around for a while and decide to have dinner at Veneto. René doesn’t want Greek food one evening, but something else. So it is pizza and Scaloppine. As a starter we have carpaccio. That carpaccio was practically swimming in a pesto dressing. Because of this you tasted nothing of the meat. That was a bit of a shame. My pizza Diavola was very spicy. I like spicy.  At home I take this one too, then it has Jalapeno peppers on it too. But on this pizza, besides pepperoni, there was also a lot of black pepper. Too much, because you couldn’t taste anything else on the pizza. René’s food could have used just a little spice. The fillet in white wine sauce was a bit flat in taste. He helps me with the pizza. I will never finish it. He eats the edges, I eat the rest of the pizza. My stomach has had enough and starts to protest a bit. So we decide not to have dessert here. All in all it was a bit disappointing. We pay and eat ice cream somewhere else. Then we look for a place to have a drink and find it at Zero. They have a sign on the street that says “No Pressing, No Stressing” and indeed they don’t do that here. What a relief. A few cases before this, a man was very irritating. Even to such an extent, he almost really wanted to touch René by his arm, that René had to suppress the urge to go and give Mr. Gentleman swimming lessons in the old harbor. So annoying when people try so intrusively to lure you into their business. Then you are already 2-0 behind. At Zero they definitely don’t do that. And apparently they like it, it is busy at their place, the rest is a bit quieter. We sit down and order wine. This time again by the bottle. 2 Bottles of wine later we go to the room. It is almost half past one. I update the report again. Then we read some more and then go to sleep.

Monday, May 23, 2022
Weather: 28°C and sunny

Got up at 8:30 this morning. I slept very restlessly. My stomach and intestines are very restless. And I was constantly cold and then hot again. So Rene gets up first. I can relax for a while. I pack some things in the backpack. We are going back to Malia today. I think I got sunstroke yesterday or something else. Now I also have a headache, stomach trouble and diarrhea. It will pass, but it’s a nuisance. Especially with such a long drive ahead of us. After showering we have breakfast, then we get René another linen shirt. One of good quality. Costs a bit, but then you have something. Then to the room for the last time. Pack everything and then off we go. First we drive to Jumbo. We forgot to get a cooler bag at the same store in Heraklion and we will need it later. We also get mosquito nets for our roof at home. In the Netherlands we had already searched several times for cloth of the right size which we could easily attach ourselves. And here they have plenty of choice. After visiting Jumbo and the toilet there, we drive towards Bougatsa Iordanis in the center of Chania. Here they make world-famous bougatsa. Top chefs like Gordon Ramsey come here to see and taste. Aristo loves it. It takes a while to find a place for the car. Eventually we find a parking garage nearby. Along the sidewalk was hopeless. We walk quickly towards the bougatsa case. Because gone=out. We are lucky and buy the last pieces with sweet cream. They still have bags of the savory variety, but we don’t want them. They are boiling hot. So the cooler bag isn’t much use, but we put it in there, because then it won’t slide around the car. We leave the lid open so it doesn’t become one sticky limp bite because the steam can’t get out. We go back to the car and then back to Malia. We stop along the way at the old fort of Aptera. The fort is closed and René is not allowed to fly the drone here either. Military zone. Then we go back in one go. Rene wanted to return via the old road. But I feel worse and worse. Back in Malia we quickly go to the room and I can take medicine for diarrhea and headache. Hopefully these will work quickly.
Then we quickly proceed to the taverna. Eirini works here in the afternoon from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. We got her and Dimitri a gift for the little boy who will soon be born in September. And, of course, we brought the bougatsa for Aristo. He is extremely happy with it and asks how fast we drove because it is still warm! Eirini is very bee with her gift for the baby. Thank goodness. We drink a Coke and an ouzo and then go back to the room. First update the report again and then flat for me. Rene reads some more for a while. It is 3:30 p.m. At 5:45 p.m. I take a shower. René freshens up a bit. We drink a coke at the bar and then walk to the taverna. I don’t really feel like eating at all, but I have to do something. Tonight I have tomato soup and a few sips of wine, but they don’t taste very good. I stick mostly to lots of water. Yorgos makes me fresh mint tea with lemon after dinner. Rene takes some more wine, I go to the toilet again and then we walk back.
Along with new guests. A mother and daughter, they are only here for a few days. The daughter had a very bad accident a while back and it’s a miracle she’s still alive. She walks with some difficulty, but nothing can stop her. Very clever. It is always special to meet new people and hear their stories. That is why I love Cretan Family. You come as a guest, but leave as part of the family. Walking with us back to the apartment does mean helping count geckos. They find it funny and at first don’t quite understand what we mean until we see the first one. They get fanatical and we see a total of 8.
Once back at the apartment I go right upstairs to sleep. I really have felt a lot better at times. Even though it is only 10:30 p.m., the light is going out for me. Rene still stays at the bar, though. And that’s fine. He’s on vacation, too. Out tomorrow at 8:30, because we are going to Takis. This time as a visitor. René finally got to the room at 3:30.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Weather: 30°C and sunny

Out at 8:30 this morning. After cleaning up a bit, we get in the car and drive to the bakery first. Two sandwiches and 2 coffees. I still don’t feel fit, but yes we’ll see how it goes. After the bakery we drive to the Lidl in Ierapetra. We walk through it and then we go to the coffee shop around the corner. I can go to the toilet at the same time. At exactly 11:00 am George comes to pick us up this time. He has been working at the shelter since January and has taken over this task a bit from Apostolia. There are only five visitors this time. An English couple and a German woman. She has little confidence in her old rental car and asks if she can ride with someone. So we offer to take her and bring her back later. The shelter feels familiar again and the tour is fun. Dogs, cats and puppies. I give Apostolia the white chocolate we brought for her from Holland. She flies around my neck and is very happy with it. She actually wants to do some dieting (she’s super slim so I don’t understand why), but when she’s at the computer in the evening working on administration and appointments and such she loves to eat chocolate. And especially white ones. René presses money into Takis’ hands again. We talk about our dog and how he is doing now. Takis indicates that we can come back whenever we want, without an appointment. Very sweet.
After the visit, we take the German woman back to the Lidl. She asks if we still know a nice village with a beach on this side of Crete. We refer her to Mirtos. We go to the center. For a fruit salad, but mainly for a toilet. The fruit salad is more like a soup of fresh gravy containing very fine pieces of fresh fruit. Very tasty, but special. Not quite what I expected from a fruit salad. After lunch we drive back via Kalamafka and Kroustas. Just before the latter, René says he is quite tired and we stop for a 15-minute power nap. In Malia we go to the room. I do some laundry and then we go flat. Tonight the last dinner for Rick, Iris and Joey. We eat together, so getting there a little on time this time. I stick with half a Chicken Souvlaki and some tomato and cucumber. After dinner, Nikos comes over to play some music with his dad. He has just finished his final exams, but he loves making music, so that should do for a while. After the performance we pay and go back to the apartment. Like yesterday, we see 8 geckos. I sit at the bar for a while, but at 0:30 I really go to bed. René comes at 2:00.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Weather: 33°C and sunny

Last night I suddenly got a bright idea, about what I might have in terms of symptoms. Food poisoning. The symptoms fit one to one. It could also last a few days. So that pizza in Chania after all. Rene only ate some of the edges. I did have a lot of the pepperoni and there was so much pepper on the pizza (Diavola) that you couldn’t taste anything was wrong either. But my stomach was done with the pizza after a few points. Drinking a lot, water and drinking broth and not eating much or anything for a few days was not a problem. So instinctively we were already doing the right things.
This morning we slept in only slightly, getting up at 10:00. Rene gets cleaned up and goes to the supermarket. I make coffee and tea and eggs. After breakfast Yorgos calls that he is downstairs. He would like to have his drone. They talked about that last October. And René has brought one for him. In addition to his own drone. René gives him an explanation and Yorgos flies for a while and then asks if René wants to give the explanation to Nikos as well. Seems sensible to us. Yorgos flew the drone exactly on the path between the bar and the pool, at eye level…. There were no injuries, but it was close. We put on the swimwear and throw the towels and stuff in a backpack. We don’t want to go too far away, to a quiet beach, but preferably one with shade. Via Neapoli, Driros, Agio Georgos we drive to the coast. Alas. Too rocky and no shade. Further via Plaka, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos. Alas, too busy and too organized. Eventually we end up next to Potamos beach in Malia, right in the sun, with no shade. Hahaha. Well, we lie there for a while too. I burn very quickly anyway. We lie down for 45 minutes and then go back. The ride was very nice, though.
At 5pm the bus comes to pick up Rick and the kids and we had promised to wave them off. We have a drink at the bar. And then we say goodbye. When the bus turns the corner we go upstairs. A little flat and then shower. At almost 7:30 pm we go to the taverna. Tonight we have soup again, this time the bean soup. With not too many beans, especially the liquid. I didn’t get to finish it, but did get as much of the liquid and carrot as possible. René took filet with garlic sauce. For drinks for me this time but apple juice, René does take just wine. Then coffee and I again fresh mint tea with lemon. Vasili gave us raki and he wanted to drink it with us. Raki is very strong, but can be very good for your stomach if it bothers you. So I sipped and then just in time to reach the toilet. No more soup… I am really done with it now. Tomorrow I have to go to the center for other medication. Kimon came tonight with his nice old BMW sidecar. I got a beautiful rose from the old candy man, very dark red with a blue velvety sheen and a bright red heart. From his own garden. Well sweet, he can’t resist either.
René asked Aristo for one of his bracelets. And within 10 seconds, René suddenly had this one on. Of course that was not the intention. But because René has indicated that he wants to take motor driving lessons and Aristo thinks he could use some extra protection, he has to accept the bracelet. Very sweet!
We pay and then walk back. This time we see 6 geckos. At the bar, I have another tea and some iced tea. Rene takes wine. François joins us. Linda is already in her nest. Later, Yorgos and Michalis are also there. I go to bed at 1:15. In the room I turn on the air conditioning. Rene is very hot at night. I lie more in the direction of the air conditioning, I throw a blanket over it. Hahaha. Special combination like that. René comes into the room at 4:00. He was sitting alone with François at the end (he even brought wine from his room). The gentlemen had been chatting pleasantly about all sorts of things. Nice.

Thursday, May 26, 2022
Weather: 35°C and sunny

Got up at 10:00 this morning. Rene goes to the supermarket again. I’m going to get the rest ready again. After breakfast we first drive to the pharmacy. I explain what is bothering me and they ask if I have already used Imodium. Yes, I have, but it doesn’t do anything at all. That surprises them and the pharmacist asks if I also have very bad cramps in my stomach and intestines. Yes, I do. Then he prescribes me Zarbis Diaraney, which should reduce the cramps and also cause things to become more solid again. In a few days the cramps should be pretty much over. I take two right away and we drive on in the direction of Mochos. But we don’t get that far. Rene is not getting enough air. Today he has to struggle for every breath of oxygen. It is also very hot today and the humidity is high. So back to the apartment. When the cleaning lady is done, René goes flat with the air conditioning on. That makes him feel better. But he is exhausted. I put on my bikini and lie down in the shade by the pool with a good book. I even go into the pool. Wonderful! The water is no longer cold at all. At 4:00 p.m. I think it is enough and go flat for a while as well. At 6:30 pm we shower and change for the evening. At a little after 7:30 p.m. we walk quietly to the taverna. René still hardly gets any air. Those after-effects of Covid are still really annoying him. We arrive at the restaurant with some difficulty. Yorgos sees that Rene is struggling and immediately turns on the fans. That helps! And I believe the rest of the guests don’t mind them on either, there is now a pleasant breeze in the restaurant. It’s still 28 degrees or so. Rene takes the bean soup this time, I take half a chicken breast. I get half of that. I also take fresh juice and tea and water. After dinner we go back to the apartment quickly. We see 6 geckos along the way. At the bar we sit together with François and Linda for a while. I have to go to the toilet again at 0:00. Still nothing solid on. So I decide to go right upstairs afterwards and stay. I take my medication again and go flat at 0:30. Rene follows 15 minutes later. We go back to sleep. A new day tomorrow. Hopefully we will feel a little better then.

Friday, May 27, 2022
Weather: 33°C and sunny

Got up at 9:00 this morning. Rene goes to the supermarket again. I prepare the rest again. We have an appointment at 10:30 with Nikos and Yorgos. To explain the drone to Nikos. At 11:00 a.m. we call and ask if we shouldn’t happen to come to the house. After all, they are not there yet. We get a message back that we are in the right place. Yorgos had forgotten the time and is still having coffee. They come a.s.a.p. At 11:20 they arrive. Neat by Greek standards. We explain everything to Nikos; he is a quick learner. He flies through the screens with the setup. And he already knows how to use a controller just fine. He flies it for a while right away. I don’t think Yorgos is going to see that drone again. After the explanation we pack our stuff. We drive via Mochos to Lassithi. We stop at Angelos to refuel and catch up. Then we drive around. On the plateau it is a bit cooler than on the coast. And everywhere is a sea of flowers. Beautiful! We drive to Skapanis to have a fruit salad and fresh gravy at Manolis’ place. He also gives us the photo book again to flip through while waiting for our food. We quickly flip through the photos from last winter. What a snow! And now it is so warm. It’s hard to imagine that there could comfortably be a few feet of snow here in winter. After lunch we go back a bit and then onto the dirt road to Katharo. A bumpy road, but it goes well. My stomach does hurt, but it is bearable. Surely I want to see something this vacation. Katharo itself is covered with a purple blanket of flowers. Via Kritsa, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda and Neapoli we drive back. It is 4:45 p.m. when we get back to the apartment and I’m kind of tired now. Those winding roads and bumps take quite a lot of energy. I set the alarm at 6:30 just to be sure. Rene arrives three quarters of an hour after me to take a nap as well.
At 18:30 we shower and change clothes. And then at 7:30 p.m. we quietly head toward the restaurant again. We take one Souvlaki and a Greek salad together on Yorgos’ recommendation. And for dessert, pastries from Eirini. We also have more than enough. René takes coffee after dinner and I take tea. Then he goes for wine and I stick to apple juice. That one is really very tasty. A bit cloudy, it reminds me of the Flevo juice they sell in our supermarket at home. At 10 p.m. we check out and slowly walk back. We see 10 geckos this time. At the bar we sit for a while longer. Lazer had already warned us this afternoon. A whole flock of youngsters (12 of them) is about to arrive who, like us, will sit at the very top. We’ll be fine. There are two girls who take care of the group like Mother Goose and point them in the right direction. They indicate that if they definitely don’t want to cause any trouble and that if there is anything, we can knock on both their doors. We indicate that the same applies to them. After all, we don’t usually go to bed on time either. François and Linda join us and at 1:00 we go to bed. I update the report and René sits on the balcony with a beer. Then we go to sleep.

Saturday, May 28, 2022
Weather: 35°C and sunny

We got up at 9:00 a.m. today. Again our usual start. Then we drive to Heraklion. First stop gypsy market. We park again a little past the market. There is just a spot. The rest of the streets are already quite full. The market is crowded and warm. I score 5 T-shirts for €15.00. We buy nothing else this time. But there is always plenty to see. The fruits and vegetables are mostly artichokes, cherries, strawberries and potatoes. The first watermelons are also there, but these are the round ones. Not those torpedo-like models. And the latter are just the tastiest. So just a little more patience. René walks back to the car and I wait at the exit of the market. René picks me up and we drive to the parking lot at the harbor. For €3.00 he can park there again all day. We walk into the center. We want to look at the day market for new belts and such. But our regular leather store is closed and it does not look like it will ever open again. So unfortunately no new belts or a new black backpack for me. We walk back to Da Vinci and each order a crepe with mango ice cream and fresh strawberries. And for drinks we take lemon/ginger lemonade. Delicious! It is quite hot in the city. So we decide to go back to the car and take the old road back to Malia. We lie by the pool for a while and then we want to watch the qualification at the bar. But the TV at the bar doesn’t work properly, we can’t get a connection. Lazer is already in all states. Because tonight there is also soccer. The mechanic has already been called a few times, but doesn’t know if he’s going to make it to come by. René quickly fetches our Chromebook and the three of us watch the qualification on it. After the qualification we go flat. At 7 p.m. we get back on our feet. Showering and changing clothes. It is still very hot. We walk quietly up the side of the taverna. My stomach is calm for the first time today and I even have a bit of an appetite. So today I take chicken breast in mustard sauce. Rene takes pork fillet in mustard sauce. Me with a beer and him with wine. I feel almost the same as before in terms of stomach. At 11 p.m. we walk back. On the way we see 6 geckos. We sit at the bar for a while. Together with Linda and François. New guests arrive late in the evening. And at 3:15 we help shut things down.

Sunday, May 29, 2022
Weather: 39°C and sunny, more cloudy later

Today will be really warm. South wind and cloudy. I don’t know if it will really be Sirocco, but at 10:00 it is already 33°C. We have breakfast again as usual. Today we will just drive around with the air conditioning on. We drive via Mochos to Gonies and then to Avdou. There we follow the signs to the little church at Agia Fotini. We check out the church, but not the cave this time. The path to it is quite steep. And neither of us are fit enough. Besides, we don’t have a good flashlight with us. We have been inside the cave once before, but only found out through Zameer Pactyan’s YouTube channel that the cave continues much further inward and that there is even a little church at the end. But without a flashlight, it’s really not doable. While we are at the little church that sits outside against the rock wall, I suddenly get huge stomach cramps. I have to go to the bathroom! René remembers that there is a toilet building here. He looks and yes it’s right. And in the right one there is even toilet paper. Thank goodness! I gratefully use the toilet, only to discover that there is no running water. Oops!!! I do pull the red lever, but apparently a main switch still needs to be flipped somewhere. I wouldn’t use the right toilet for now. Hahaha. We drive around into the reservoir, Sfendili is now really quite submerged again. We end up at Chersonissos, which we drive through, back towards Malia. In Malia we drive into Old Malia and towards Krassi. We haven’t taken a picture of the old Pontiac yet and of course we have to. From Krassi we drive to the Lassithi plateau and from there to Neapoli. This time we go back over the new road to Malia. On top of the plateau it was 31 degrees. Down in Malia it is 39°C, briefly even 40. We buy two baguettes at the bakery which we first eat in our room. Then we sit downstairs ready for the Monaco race. It is very special. The start is an hour later because of rain. Then red flags once. Eventually the race stops after 3 hours and not because of the number of laps driven. We go flat for a while after that. By now it is 19:00. Then shower and change clothes.
Tonight we will have dinner at Odas in Old Malalia. We are warmly welcomed back. A quick chat with Georgos and then order food. I take Kokkinisto, beef in tomato sauce. Rene takes steak. For dessert I take yogurt with fruit and honey, Georgos’ mother misunderstood me and thought we wanted it for two. But I eat it whole. My stomach really is a little better again. René takes his favorite, Kataïfi with ice cream. And we drink wine together again. When we want to pay, we get another plate full of watermelon and a bottle of raki. Then we walk back. There is hardly anyone left and it is not that late anyway. So we talk with Lazer for a while and a little later Yorgos joins us. At 2:00 we close up and go to sleep.

Monday, May 30, 2022
Weather: 27°C and sunny

This morning we got up at 8:30. We don’t have breakfast in the room, so at 9:00 we can leave. First to the pharmacy for new supplies of tablets. They do work, but it is slow in terms of recovery. Then we drive to the supermarket for dog treats. Then to the bakery for 2 rolls and 2 Freddo Espressos. And then we hit the road, we are going to Takis again today. We park the car at the shelter and first sit on the wall at “the Gang” for a while. Easter practically crawls on Rene’s lap. All the dogs want to scratch. Beauty is really beautiful and really wants to be petted. Beauty is a huge dog, but such a sweetheart. A big good doggie. Charlie suddenly becomes alert and looks tightly at the top of the hills behind where Takis is feeding the crows. And not long after, there appears the scooter with Takis himself. All the dogs strike. The boss is back! Takis greets us and we tell him what our plan is today. He is very happy about it. Namely, we want to spend 2 hours with the most shy puppies. The mother of those puppies is very shy herself and unfortunately she transfers that to her young ones. For the first half hour, they don’t come close. In fact, they walk to the enclosure next door and stand around barking. The mother sits in a cage peeking at us, but at first she doesn’t come either. The mother finally comes to us after more than an hour, but most of the puppies do not. A few do, they grab a treat and then quickly leave. The group of puppies next to us is also shy, but eventually, after fifteen minutes, they let us pet them. At the end we go to the really small puppies who are in a kind of shed. Of the four, three are only too happy to be handled. I had already forgotten how sharp those little teeth are. We walk back downstairs. There we say goodbye to Takis. We will be back next year.
We drive by a supermarket for an ice cream and some drinks. The ice creams are in the shape of a watermelon tip. And they are delicious! We drive via Mirtos, Viannos and Embaros to Lassithi. A beautiful route. On the way we pass the signs for the abandoned village of Kalami. Only a few people still live there and they prefer not to have visitors. But part of the village is fine to visit. We don’t do that this time. We also pass the turnoff to the feeding place for vultures. We drive through the mountain pass behind Embaros to Lassithi. Once on the plateau, we stop to refuel at Route 29. We see Eva sitting at the coffee corner, but don’t see Angelos. We wave and drive a little further. In the pass from Lassithi toward Malia at the windmills, we eat our lunch. Both an omelet with bacon, cheese and mushrooms. Then back to Malia. In the room we drink another wine and a beer. It is 5 p.m.
After tucking in, it’s back to showering and changing clothes. Around 19:45 we walk to the taverna. We pick up table 31, it has a piece of paper reserved on it. Would that be for us? Aristo walks by and says oops. He had thought of that table for others, but he also thinks it’s really kind of our table this vacation anyway. So Aristo quickly arranges another table for that reservation, no problem. I am having Soutzoukakia tonight. René goes for Stifado. And we have another glass of wine together. It’s tasty again. After dinner we both have Axbax again. After coffee Yorgos and Nikos play music for a while. Then we pay. It is almost 11:00 pm. We walk back and see 7 geckos. At the apartment there is great consternation. Rein and Edith have arrived today. They have also been coming here for more than 20 years. And Rein has hit a point on the gallery with his bicycle and ended up in the rose bushes. His tibia is completely open. Nothing broken, but it has to be stitched. Rien and Jacqueline applied first aid and the ambulance from the medical center in Malia is on its way. It arrives quickly and they indeed take him. It really does need stitches. Edith goes along in the ambulance and Yorgos, who is also there by now, rides behind it with the motorcycle. After an hour, everyone is back at the apartment. Large bandages around it and the necessary stitches. Tomorrow he has to come back for a tetanus shot. And then they take another look at the wound. We give them something to drink for the shock. Michalis has also arrived by now. And Nikos was also already there. We talk some more with Rien. Then for a while with Yorgos and Lazer and then we finish up. It is 3:15 am. High time to go to sleep.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Weather: 31°C and sunny

We get up at 10:00 a.m. No breakfast in the room this time. We stop by the bakery for sandwiches and Freddo Espressos. We drive back towards the taverna and stop to take pictures of the huge cactus. For as long as we have been coming here it has been there and it is truly colossal. And it is now beginning to bloom. There are also already a lot of fruits on it. After photographing the cactus, we drive to the Selinari Monastery. We traditionally always burn candles for the journey home and for anyone who could use some help. Then we drive to Agriomandra. You drive from Malia to Agios Nikolaos and then on to Pacheia Ammos. Here you can turn right in the direction of Ierapetra, but we drive a little more straight towards Kavousi. But just before that we dive into a small road with the car and drive through the olive grove and then up the hill. There we can park the car. There are two more and that is kind of special. Hardly anyone knows this place. But two is still manageable. At least they are not buses full of tourists. I hope it stays that way. Today there is an asphalt road to the bay next to Preveli and everyone can drive there by car. Because of this, the charm of such a place is lost. I hope this does not happen at places like Agriomandra. We start the gorge. Rene has the backpack with the drone on his back and I have the backpack with the swimming gear, plus my small backpack/handbag. I walk in the lead, but after a few hundred meters I see that René is lagging behind in terms of walking. He is again not getting air. He stubbornly wants to continue, but we’re not going to do that. It gets a lot steeper down this way, with deep ravines and a cliff on the other side. And if we have to go all the way back again, I don’t like that. I can still see the gate to the car. We stumble back and I also take over his backpack with the drone. With a lot of effort and a lot of stops we get back to the car. Rene is devastated! We wait in the car with the air conditioning on for a while until he can do something again. I offer to drive, but he doesn’t want to. He always prefers to drive himself. Even now. We drive very carefully back to the paved road. There we keep to the right as far as Pacheia Ammons. There we park the car in the shade of the trees parallel to the sea. René sleeps here for almost an hour before he regains some consciousness. Meanwhile, I play some games on my cell phone, walk along the beach a bit, and enjoy the view. After his nap we drive a little further, I buy two ice creams at the first supermarket and then we go a little further. Just before Ammoudara we stop at a beach, Karavostasi. There is quite a lot of wind. So we don’t go swimming, but just lie there enjoying the murmur of the sea. Again, René sleeps for almost an hour. We did put on our new water shoes in case we did go into the sea. But those water shoes are a bad buy. They are so roomy that they look like they have built-in flippers. That’s how loose they are. When we pack our stuff in the backpack, we decide to leave the water shoes on a wall. Maybe someone else will be very happy with them, but we can’t do anything with them.
We drive back to the apartment. There we both sleep again until 18:00. Then shower and change clothes. And start packing the suitcases. Tomorrow the vacation is over and we travel back to the Netherlands in the morning.
We go to the taverna at 19:00. René stumbles that way and doesn’t feel like eating either. That chewing just takes too much energy. And he just doesn’t have it. He orders Gyros and a Greek salad. I take chicken breast in mustard sauce. With wine and water. After dinner, during which Yorgos helped René nicely, we have an ice cream. It’s nice and cold and slides right in. It makes Rene feel better. We have some more wine and water and at 10:30 p.m. we pay the bill. We get cake. It is the cook’s girlfriend’s birthday. Then it is time to say goodbye. We say goodbye to everyone in the taverna in terms of staff. Until next year. We walk back via the short road. We have no flashlight with us and René still has little energy. No gecko counting then. We have a drink with Lazer and then pay at the bar. It is 0:30 when we say goodbye to Lazer and go to bed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Weather: 27°C and sunny GR, 15°C and rain in NL

Got up at 8:15 this morning. The last things are going into the suitcases. We have pounds left, but no more room. Some things do take up quite a bit of space. Those new snorkels, goggles, a new pair of sneakers for me. A bottle of olive oil. The stuff we bought at Agia Triada. I almost have to sit on the suitcases to get them closed. We take the stuff to the car and I ask Rania right away if she still has room next year around this time. Alas, both rooms will have been rented by then. But from May 30, 2023 would be possible. We book it right away. It is easier to leave when you know when you will return. Then we’ll arrange at home with the colleagues that it can actually be done. Shouldn’t be a problem. We say goodbye to Rania and drive past the bakery again. Traditionally two rolls and two Freddo Espressos. We eat these while driving to the airport.
At the last gas station we have to fill up. I throw away the waste from breakfast here as well. Then we drive on to the place of The Best at the rental cars. Returning the car goes smoothly. They hardly look at the car. Fortunately. The spot where that piece of bumper ended up, we had already cleaned once with a cloth and then you hardly saw anything of it.
Dropping off the luggage also goes smoothly. No excess weight. We still have an hour before boarding. We stroll through the Taxfree a bit more, but we don’t really see anything interesting. We buy two more bottles of water and an iced tea for later on the plane. Then we look for a place to sit until we can board the plane. I update the report again. Boarding and the flight go quickly. We fly right past Santorini. I try to take a picture of it, but if you don’t know what you are looking at, you don’t recognize it. At 2:50 p.m. Dutch time we land. It is a lot cooler and cloudier here. The suitcases take a little longer to arrive than usual. But an extra half an hour is not so bad. We had anticipated that everything would take longer. But we notice little of all the problems at Schiphol lately. We take the shuttle bus to P3 and walk together to the car. Once in the car, it is quite busy at the road. It obviously just now rush hour. It is half the temperature here compared to Crete and regularly we have a shower on the way. We weren’t used to that for a while. At 18:25 we drive up the driveway at our house. The vacation is over. It was a very different vacation than we expected. We didn’t get to do all the things we wanted to do for a long time. Sometimes there is just no other way. We adapted to what we could and did. And all in all, we still managed to see some things and take rides. We slept more and rested more than other vacations. Good for a change, too. At least I’ve never been as discolored as I was this vacation.

Total number of geckos this vacation: 60 pieces