Travelblog 2007-2

Thursday, September 27, 2007
Weather: NL 16 degrees, partly cloudy, GR 23 degrees cloudy

Today we leave for Crete again. This time for the first time not just the two of us, but the four of us. René’s father Daan and his wife Fenna are also coming along. They wanted to see for themselves why we love Crete so much and where we got married.
Henk (René’s mother’s husband) is driving us this time. We had agreed that he would be with us at 11:30 and he is indeed there at the appointed time. We discuss the last things, plus hand over the data for the people back home, and then quickly put the suitcases in the car. Then the drive goes to the Meerkoet. There too they are ready and not long after that we are on our way to Eelde. Daan and Fenna are taken away by former neighbors of theirs. We arrive at Eelde in plenty of time and René and I decide to have another meal in the restaurant. The next meal will take some time. Daan and Fenna have bread with them, so they eat it now. It will be almost 10:30 pm before we get to the apartment. Checking in and going through customs goes according to plan. Fenna is extensively foiled (she had forgotten to take off her watch and the like). According to Daan, everything must also go well, because the number seven pops up everywhere. Like the row where he sits on the plane and so on.

After a short stopover in Rotterdam (here the plane is cleaned and the last people board) we arrived at Heraklion airport at 21:05 local time (one hour later than in the Netherlands). The suitcases, as usual, were late again. This is always a mess, because often it is not indicated on which belt which suitcases are on. But hey, patience is a virtue and eventually we got the suitcases. At 10 p.m. we were outside. We bravely signed out with the hostess. And we then go in search of a cab. That saves so much time compared to the bus, besides, it’s late enough already. Of course, we found a toothless specimen of a cab driver who did want to take us in one cab. Normally they don’t do that, but oh well if the guy thinks it can be done…we’ll just try it. After everything was stuffed into the trunk and secured with a bunch of spiders, we were off. The man drove fine, not too fast, nice and calm. And that for €50 in total. Normally that’s €35 with two people in a cab. Just before Malia, our cab driver had some arguments with a patser who wanted to cut us off and the like. At the cab stand in Malia, the cab driver stopped, scolded the guy and drove on. That’s how it goes here. Welcome to Crete.
At 10:35 p.m. we were at the apartment. Eddy (the new guy behind the bar) was already there. In the little office he gave us the key, the rest we have to arrange with Rania tomorrow. He then helped us carry the suitcases upstairs. This year we are finally at the top. Room 305 (René and I) and 306 (Daan and Fenna). René and I have had all the other floors by now, just not this one. And now we have. A quick shower and then off to the restaurant. I am hungry again. There it was a feast of recognition. First Aristo, then Aad & Hennie and Jos & Gonnie. Then Yorgos and Eddy. The old dad was there too. Hugs and kisses all around. We weren’t very hungry anymore and the grill was already closed, so Yorgos conjured something from the kitchen. Mousaka, Soutzoukakia and a Greek salad. Delicious with some beer, red wine and fresh gravy. At 0:00 we headed back. We haven’t counted any lizards today, we’ll start with that tomorrow. We did walk back via the “long” route. It is quieter in terms of traffic and I like it better. The distance is not that different. At the apartment we had to sit at the regular table. Cozy! After all, it is the last evening of Aad and Hennie and Jos and Gonnie. They are going home tomorrow. In the meantime we found out that Daan and Fenna’s toilet wouldn’t flush. But it is already late. So Yorgos (who by now had also arrived at the apartment) will look at it tomorrow. I have to get to work right away tomorrow. D-reizen is coming to look at it and I have to bug them. It’s fine with me. If Yorgos wants it then we’ll do it. Just have to see tomorrow how to do that with the car and so on. At 2:00 we call it a day. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, September 28, 2007
Weather:26 degrees and sunny

We slept well last night. The bed always takes some getting used to. Especially if you have a nice box spring at home. These are a lot harder. Anyway, at 8:00 am I was awake and started unpacking the suitcases. At 8:30 I kicked René out. Can he smoke while I shower. Our shower curtain is just a little too short, but hey, you’ll get used to that. After showering and dressing it is immediately time for the report. Just keep it up. That works best.
Because we have no breakfast stuff yet, today we eat at the bar downstairs. Daan and Fenna found out that their shower is also acting strange. The water sprays everywhere except the right way. Maybe Yorgos can look at that right away when he goes to fix the toilet. That one is now amateurishly made, but it works.

Yorgos’ work turned out to be not too bad. All three of Katerina, Rania and Yorgos were there themselves. So if we had other plans, we had to go about our business. So after coffee, sandwiches and fresh gravy, we walked to the center. First past the pharmacy, as it turned out Fenna had forgotten her blood pressure tablets. The pharmacy didn’t have them now, but after 5 p.m. they did. So on we went again. Now to Minoan King Cars. Maria was just there for a moment. She recognized us after a while and knew right away what kind of car we wanted. This time not a Vitara, but a Jimmy. This one is newer and certainly suitable for the trips we want to take. But this car won’t be there until after 6:00 pm. So we get another car first and then exchange it tonight. For €450 we get the car for 12 days. Five days of that we pay the rental of the car and the other seven days only the insurance. So that is not so bad. After we do our shopping at Ariadne’s right away, we go back to the apartment. Hang out by the pool and sunbathe. And swimming for a while. After all, we are on vacation. So don’t get too excited. After a while Irini arrives at the apartment (Manos appears to have brought her) and as soon as she sees me she flies around my neck. Not much later she sees Rene lying next to me and she is totally shocked by him. He has his hair cut off and she doesn’t like it. Rene is scary and he is not my husband, and where did I leave Rene! I think it will take a few days for her to get used to it.
After sunbathing and swimming, we decide to first eat a hamburger sandwich at the bar and then we change clothes. We are going to explore the area anyway. First we drive to Sissi, there we park the car at the terraces by the water and walk towards the old harbor where there are all these palm trees.

How deep and blue that water is here. After some shopping and taking several snapshots, we then drove to the port of Malia. The new port near the little church on the coast.
Daan even sees a kingfisher sitting on a boat. Apparently they also like salt water.
After Malia we continue towards Stalida. Via the beach road. All in all a nice ride and the gentlemen have made beautiful pictures. At the apartment, we closed our eyes for an hour. Not really slept, but dozed off for a while (not me, I don’t usually sleep like that in the late afternoon). Then it was time for everyone to sit up (shower) and change. First we have to go to the bank (money for the car) and then to the pharmacy. It turns out that they still do not have the right tablets. They do have capsules, but you can’t take half of those. The woman who was there now would order the 40mg tablets. They will be there tomorrow. Now first we have to exchange the car. Our car turns out not to be there yet, it is still at the laundromat, so we talked to Maria. She has known us for a few years now and wanted to catch up. Not long after that, the car was there. The hood wasn’t on it yet, so when we dropped the car off at the apartment, we tried to assemble it. Most of the snaps turned out to be broken and the velcro didn’t work properly either. But the top and back are pretty much closed. I guess that will do.
Now first, let’s have a happie meal. Yorgos had reserved a table for us and that was a good thing. Everything was full! And people kept coming in. We had already figured out what we wanted to eat, but that party was off. Yorgos scribbled something on paper and went to the kitchen. Meanwhile, Irini had climbed onto my lap. She is really getting too big and heavy for that now. She is still afraid of Rene. She doesn’t like her like that. He was a ghost and the real René was still in Holland. After a while the food came. Big pieces of pork. So cooked and tender, it looked like threaded meat. Delicious!!! Delicious with a Greek salad on the side. Some wine, beer and gravy to drink. But also raki. Especially for Yorgos. He wanted to play, but has a lot of pain in his left shoulder. This then acts as a painkiller. And it worked well, because he played for a while. He even wanted to play Lyra for a while (I didn’t know he could do that), but after a minute a string snapped. So then it was back to Bouzouki. By now we were sitting at the Agbag. In other words: good coffee. With something stronger. At about 11 p.m. we headed back. Via the long road. And even saw two lizards. Very small ones. But still. And I had already seen a much larger one at the bar in the afternoon. So the score is 3. Actually they are not lizards, but geckos. But we always call them lizards. They are here in Crete as well and don’t differ much in appearance.
After Yorgos finished at the restaurant he came to the apartment. There we also gave him his presents. The framed picture of his mother made him emotional. So he ran away to the motorcycle to put it away. He was also very happy with the cheese. He immediately broke a slice, but he also wanted to give Aristo something. No problem. After talking about all sorts of things, we concluded and went to bed. It was already 1:30 a.m. by then.

Saturday, September 29, 2007
Weather: 26 degrees and sunny

This morning we did have breakfast together. Rene had gotten bread from the bakery. And Fenna had squeezed gravy and boiled eggs. So at 9:30 a.m. we were eating on Daan and Fenna’s balcony.
Then after everyone had gone to the bathroom, we set off by car. First we drove via the new main road to Heraklion, there we took the exit to Knossos and via Knossos we drove to the Roman aqueduct at Spilia. Finally on the picture. In 2005 we came from the other side and could not stop. Now we can.
It was hot again and the shade at a taverna beckoned. So there we had a drink. There also appeared to be toilets, so we used those as well. Then we drive in the direction of Kastelli. For a moment we took a wrong turn, but fortunately I was able to recover quickly. Reading the map from the back seat is a lot harder. But Daan wants to be in the front. They have to take it for granted that I sometimes miss an exit or take a wrong turn. After Kastelli we drive towards Lassithi, but before that we stop at the Homo Sapien Museum.
Our stomachs had been rattling for a while, so immediately we eat some sandwiches. Plus chocolate milk and for me frappe.

The view here is very nice though, we did not visit the museum this time. René and I had already done that once and we were disappointed. After sitting for a while we drive back in the direction of Malia via Krasi. At Krasi we of course looked at the plane tree. How big that thing is.
And I immediately took the opportunity to take a picture of the water bowls.
Once back at the apartment we went for a bit of health and swimming. Well, René and Fenna did. I only went under for a while. Too cold for me when there is no sun shining on the pool. The rest wanted to sleep for a while after that. Daan had already gone flat. He had taken pictures around the apartment this afternoon. Among other things for the site of the apartment. I meanwhile showered, changed clothes and rinsed out the swimming gear.
At 7 p.m. Fenna and René went to the pharmacy. There it turned out they still didn’t have any tablets, so then the capsules. She can have 80mg, so it’s not such a disaster. Meanwhile, at the apartment, I had found out that I had lost a memory card. There was nothing on it and they’re not that expensive anymore, but it’s a shame. Nothing to do about it. Maybe we’ll buy another one this vacation. When the group was complete again, we went for a bite to eat. We were allowed to look at the menu, but not everything worked out. The Gyros was out, so the gentlemen got leg of lamb, Fenna had her Chicken Souvlaki and my “Grandma’s Recipe” wasn’t there, so I chose Gemista. Delicious! Aristo turned out to have a birthday, so not his name day, but birthday. Turns out he doesn’t have a name day at all!!! He treated me to shot glasses of 10-year-old brandy. Not really my thing, the gentlemen loved it. We had ice cream after and then Agbag. Yorgos played again. Despite the pain in his shoulder. At 10 p.m. we checked out. €55,80. No money. That’s about €13.75 per person or so. We walked back via the long road. And the lizards were everywhere. Just tonight 13 of them! So in total we are now at 16. At the bar afterwards we had a drink and a chat. And then it was late again. The gentlemen wanted another can of beer on the balcony. And then it was already 2:30 a.m. I just took the rest of the presents with Yorgos tonight. Katerina is not often at the apartment. And to take the things to the restaurant now is going too far for me. He would give them to them for us.

Sunday, September 30, 2007
Weather: 30 degrees and sunny

This morning we had breakfast at 10:30 a.m. We don’t have much planned. We want to take turns doing a faraway trip this vacation. The other day we want to rest and laze around. Today we just want to do some shopping and walk through Malia (new and old). So at noon we drove to the Spar. There we left the car and went out. First we walked down the street with all the bars and discos. Down to the sea. Then you come out at the old port.
There you can sit in the shade of the tamarisk tree and look out over the sea. With a lovely breeze. Just before, I bought another book by Nikos Kazantzakis at the bookstore. In English, but that doesn’t bother me too much. Fenna had seen another cute monkey, maybe we will pick it up later this vacation. It is warm again today. After sitting by the harbor for a while, we walk back and drink some tonic and iced tea at a bar. We do not walk all the way back to the Spar, but turn left just before that, via the other road in the direction of Revolution. On the way we stop at the store where René has bought Paul & Shark clothing before. Both gentlemen now bought a polo shirt each. I had seen some nice ones, but too small. Women’s clothing here only goes up to size L. And that was too short. Unfortunately. Next we went to Old Malia. Daan and Fenna really liked that. All those little streets. And old doors, windows and buildings. And of course old people too. So nice pictures moments.
Since René and Daan already took so many pictures, I just didn’t. Three identical pictures is no use. After the walk we did some shopping at the Spar. By now it was already 3:30 pm. Just a little more time to lie by the pool. And then lay down and get ready for tonight.

At 7 p.m. we go to the restaurant and this time we also get exactly what we want in terms of food. 3x Gyros and a Soutzoukakia. A dish of Tatziki to go with it. Irini was no longer angry with me. Yesterday I had told her that she could sit at our table, but that we would prefer her to leave for a while while we were really eating. Afterwards she could come back. That did not go down well. But usually she is only angry with me for a moment. At least now she asked nicely if she could sit with me. And later she sang to me while daddy played Bouzouki and Lyra. She even gave me a balloon where she had written on it, “From Eipnvn to Martine with love.”
At 10 p.m. we went back. This time 12 lizards. Total we are now at 28. We are already making good progress. At the bar it became very cozy and late. The gentlemen did not want beer on tap. It had too much carbon dioxide in it. So they wanted bottles of Amstel. And when they ran out of Amstel, they started drinking raki. Until that was finished too. Then on to the Metaxa. Then Daan and Fenna went upstairs. We remained seated. Rebecca was also there (she is Yorgos’ physical therapist) and it turned out it was her birthday. Yorgos had gotten “champagne.” That turned out not to be drinkable! So quickly we all had some, the faster it would be finished. I’m sure this is going to bother me. Because of all the talking it was 2:30 a.m. again. So time to go to sleep. René had also had more than enough.

Monday, October 1, 2007
Weather: 24 degrees and partly cloudy.

We were supposed to go out today, but the gentlemen (myself a little bit) were feeling broke from last night. Too much booze, or maybe too many kinds… So then we make other plans. We decide to stay at the apartment today. We’ll take it nice and easy. We ended up spending all day by the pool. Daan took some pictures around it, but the rest rest rested comfortably.
Rene was even snoring at times. Around 4:00 pm we ate some fries and a frikadel. And then rested upstairs again.
At 19:00 we left for the restaurant. No menu this time, only René could choose. He wanted Bifteki. The others got a Cretan stew of pork, eggplant and zucchini with Greek potatoes. First we got a big bowl of salad. Yorgos didn’t play, he was in a lot of pain. Around 9:30 p.m. we went back. And because it was cooler, there were also fewer lizards. Only 8 this time. So total now 36 of them. Yorgos was already at the apartment, so immediately chatting and laughing and then it gets late again. 2:00 am again. Tomorrow we do go out, so fast asleep.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Weather: 26 degrees and partly cloudy

This morning we had a nice breakfast again, except for Daan. Who had slept very badly. His heart was on the bump. Well, we can’t do much about that, he does want to go out. Then we just stop a little more often on the way. So around 10:30 we left. Via the old road in the direction of Agios Nikolaos. On the way we stop to enjoy the view and the many olive trees.
At Agios Nikolaos we take the exit to Kritsa. We stop just before Kritsa at Panagia Kera. Here is a very old Byzantine church with very old frescoes in it. The frescoes are from the 14th and 15th centuries. At Malia it was very cloudy, but here it is not too bad. It is even warm.
After the church we went to Kritsa. It does get more and more touristy. Those little women all want you to come and see them. But the old village is very beautiful. On the way back to the car, Fenna and I both bought a table runner. The same as my tablecloth with napkins. For €15. She first wanted €25, but we had also seen them cheaper. After some nagging we got them for €15. That was better. Before we got back to the car we had a drink somewhere. They didn’t have a small menu, so we couldn’t eat anything. Then we’ll have to see if we can find some food later. The car’s tank still has more than enough fuel this time. So we set off for the Katharo Plateau. The road there is already very beautiful. Higher and higher and higher and beautiful views of the sea.
Then you get to the plateau itself. There the road then soon becomes less and less. Fenna had a blast, yawning at times. It was also a bounce in the car. Even though the road was already better than two years ago. We took some nice pictures.
And again saw many goats. Once on the Lassithi plateau we drove straight on to Malia. There we ate something in our room. It was already late, so not too much. Then we all took a nap.
At 7:10 p.m. everyone was presentable again and we went to the restaurant. It turned out there were no half chickens so some had to order something else. Fenna had Chicken Souvlaki, Daan had Gyros, René had lamb chops and I had Souvlaki. For dessert, Daan had yogurt with fruit, I had yogurt with honey and René and Fenna took ice cream. Because René had the camera with him, Yorgos felt obliged to go out and play. So he did after 5 raki’s. Enjoyed some more coffee (me a sexy ouzo) and enjoyed the music. Aristo asked us what we wanted to eat tomorrow, then he arranged it. After dinner we walked back. Again not so many lizards, only 6 this time. Later in the evening another one near Daan & Fenna’s room. It was a nice big one and it stayed put so nicely that we finally got a good picture of it.

Around 1:30 we went to bed. Oh yes, the total count is now 42 in terms of lizards.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Weather: 26 degrees and partly cloudy, later 5 splashes of rain

Today we had breakfast at 9:30 a.m. again. After breakfast we went out right away. The trip today goes to Elounda and Agios Nikolaos. We decide to drive via the old road again, so again nice photo moments.
We also came across a large piece of quartz. Fenna took some small pieces with her. Then we arrived in Elounda. We could park the car right in the center of the village. Then we first looked at the harbor, then the village. A lot of tourists stop here to soak up the atmosphere of the TV series Who Pays the Ferryman. Although a lot has changed, and you find little of it again, the village itself is still nice.

The weather also suddenly changed. It immediately began to blow hard. The sky clouded over a bit and we even had a few drops of rain. No more than a few either. It didn’t amount to much and it didn’t cool down either. By now we were hungry and went looking for a Pita Gyros, but we couldn’t find any. So we decided to eat somewhere near the lake. That was at Du Lac. It looked like a luxury place, but the food was fine and the prices were not too bad. The gentlemen took an omelet. Fenna took Baklava with ice cream and I took Kataïfi with ice cream. Delicious. Then we went back to the car. And given the time of day, we did so on the main road, as there was shopping to be done again. We still found time to get some sleep and then we quickly left for the restaurant.
There we indeed got the food we had ordered from Aristo. Twice half chicken, once Gemista and for René pork tenderloin with three sauces. And that was a big piece!!! But very tasty. Later it turned out that other tables got the same kind of piece for two people. No wonder René had trouble finishing that piece. Daan wanted ice cream, the rest took coffee or tea. We then took some more drinks and headed back “home”. On the way 6 lizards, later again the two large ones seen. So total stand is now 50 pieces. Tomorrow the trip goes to Preveli, so not too late tonight. We will also have breakfast an hour earlier tomorrow.

Thursday, October 4, 2007
Weather: 28 degrees and partly cloudy to sunny

This morning we had breakfast at 8:30 am. Then we got ready for the trip to Preveli. The first part is on the new main road. It is not the most scenic stretch, but it is the fastest. At Rethymnon we take the exit to Spili and just before that we turn off to Plakia, before which there are signs again to Preveli. Daan and Fenna found the gorge very beautiful (Kourtaliotiko) and very impressive. Still, it never fails to capture in a picture how high this thing is. You just get giddy looking up.
After the gorge, we drove to the Venetian Bridge.
After a few photos, the journey continued again via the dirt road. Which is more dangerous than it already looks. They have leveled it with fine stones. But this actually makes it easier to slip on bends, which is not useful with a precipice on one side and a cliff on the other. But we made it. In the bay next to it, that is. You then have to walk along a rocky path to Preveli itself. That path consists of all kinds of steps in the rocks. But with a handrail where needed. So walking this is still possible.

At Preveli itself, you can then walk along the river to the waterfalls. It is very beautiful here, but it is quite a scramble. And the gentlemen had their cameras in front of their chests, which makes it even more difficult. But it’s worth it. You imagine yourself in a completely different country. Almost tropical with all those palms.
In the river itself I saw another small turtle. I had not seen them here yet, only fish. He was gone too quickly to take a picture. After a while we went back. In the bay near the car we had a drink. Daan was all lathered up.

He liked it all very much, but actually, in retrospect, this trip was too hard for him. He did very well, so I take my hat off to him. By now it was already 16:00, so it was high time to go back. We wanted to take the old main road and then it takes about 3 hours. And you have to be on the new main road before dark. So we just made it.
At 19:15 we arrived at the apartment. We decided to rest for a while anyway and then get cleaned up, then eat a little later. We did so at 8:30 pm. By car to the restaurant, considering the time. There Daan, René and I got the same kind of meat we had had on the second day. Yorgos didn’t have four pieces, so Fenna got Grandma’s recipe. And that was tasty too. Another dessert after that and then Agbag. And then it was already 11:00 pm. Because we were by car we couldn’t count lizards and at the apartment we didn’t see them either. We were quite tired, but it still got to 2:00 am. Doesn’t matter, because tomorrow we won’t do much. Maybe go to Chersonissos and lie by the pool. Now first sleep in.

Friday, October 5, 2007
Weather: 29 degrees and sunny

This morning we slept until 9:30 and had breakfast at 10:30. At 12:00 we headed to Chersonissos. It is not really our place. Far too touristy for me and far too many Dutch people. You have here Friet van Piet, Het Leidse Plein, Holland House and many more such joints. But if this is your first time in Crete, you just have to go here. Right in the center we can park the car in a parking lot. We walk along the boulevard to the church by the harbor and enjoy the view.

Back we walk along the shopping street. On a terrace we stop for a drink and meanwhile we can enjoy people watching. While walking we bought several things. A calendar of George Meis, a new memory card, cigarette stubs, protection against the evil eye and a nice glass dish. And from Daan I received a Greek door made of pottery. Just like that! Daan and Fenna also bought all kinds of things. Cards to make 3D cards with, a calendar and also protection from the evil eye. And also Fenna got a little Greek door. We also wanted to lie by the pool, so we went back to the car and then to Malia. I wanted to use the PC, but it turned out to be broken. So Rene could not sunbathe for long, unfortunately. He had to fix the computer first. That worked, but it is not very stable. Afterwards I went into the water with René, but warm is different. So I quickly dried off in the sun. And then the regular evening ritual.
At 19:00 we go to the restaurant again. Yorgos asked if we wanted Mezes. Well, René & I always like that. Delicious! These are all small portions and everyone gets that a small plate and some cutlery. The idea is to taste a bit of everything. Greeks themselves very often eat like that. And we love it too! First came garlic bread, then Gemista, Soutzoukakia, Stifado, Gyros and also Chicken with feta and vegetables from the oven. And before that also feta from the grill. We had something left over. Yorgos said that if we wanted more, we could have 5 more in a minute. Well, we didn’t have to. So we could have ice cream after. Finally, Yorgos began to play both Lyra and Bouzouki. On the way back to the apartment we saw only four lizards (total stand = 54 pieces). But we did see a cat and a dog. The latter kept following us. Even as far as the apartment. Daan then explained to him that he could not stay here, so after a little insistence he walked on anyway. I played pool with René in the evening but it didn’t work out. So at 1:30 we went to bed, because tomorrow we will leave with Yorgos.

Saturday, October 6, 2007
Weather: 30 degrees and sunny

This morning we did get out at the normal time. We have to be with Yorgos at 10:30. But when we walk to the car after breakfast, he is already there. In the village we pick up Irini. Fenna, Irini and I are in the RAV4. Rene and Daan in the Jimmy.

We go to Rethymnon, to a cousin of Yorgos to see how raki is made and to taste some. On the way we make a coffee stop and a smoke break. Just before Rethymnon itself we take a turn and go under the road to the left towards the mountains and after a few turns we arrived at his cousin. Immediately upon getting out of the car Daan already sees a little lizard. We are warmly welcomed by Yorgos’ cousin, uncle and aunt. There are also a few great-nephews and nieces walking around.

How nice to see how they make that raki. Daan took very nice pictures of it. And while we were watching, all sorts of things came onto the table. French fries, Greek salad, bread, pork chops, sausage, stew, wine and of course raki. Daan even got to taste just-distilled raki. It was 20% at that time, but it still has to “mature” further. At 2 p.m. we left. Yorgos and Irini stayed, as they had a cousin’s wedding here. We went from here to Arkadi, to see the monastery. We are pretty close to it now anyway and otherwise we will have to drive all that way to Rethymnon again later this week. The weather is perfect, so clear blue skies. The monastery itself remains magnificent, they try to maintain everything well, without compromising the value of the place. There is a whole history around it. Those who want to know all about it will have to go there themselves sometime. It is definitely worth the effort.

Just outside the monastery is a taverna with a little store attached. There Daan finally finds a knotted black bracelet. And I see another book about all kinds of plants and trees that grow on Crete.
Via the old road we drive back to Malia, but this time we have time to stop at the goat pit. This one is not called that, the official name is Voulismeno Aloni. Centuries ago, this was a cave whose roof later collapsed during an earthquake. This produced a perfect circular circle in the ground. Goats often use this pit to sleep and shelter.

After the pit, we drive on to Malia. In Malia we go shopping first. Then everyone wants to rest a bit and we can have something to eat at 8:30 pm.
That will be Soutzoukakia for Fenna, René and me and lamb in lemon sauce for Daan. After that a nice dessert. Since Yorgos wasn’t there, an accordionist came. But that was firewood. The man played way too slow and all German songs. The guests didn’t like it, almost no one tipped him either. After a few songs he decided to go elsewhere. We went back after coffee. On the way we saw four lizards and at the apartment two more. The total number is now 61. Tonight the gentlemen played pool, one with Eddy and the other with Aristo. The latter had also come. At 2:00 we were in bed.

Sunday, October 7, 2007
Weather: 26 degrees and sunny

Today we slept in comfortably. At 10:30 a.m. we were at breakfast. Today we are just going to the little church on the mountain (towards Mochos). We can see it beautifully every morning when we are having breakfast. Just before the little church, near the path up the mountain, there was a fence this time, but it could be loose. We park the car and then walk up anyway. We do not really want to go to the church itself.
From this point you can take very nice pictures of the view of Malia. I have a photo where you can see the apartment, especially if you zoom in.
When we walked back to the car we saw all these little wild cyclamen. So I took a picture of those too.
On the way back to Malia, we stopped once more to take pictures of the coastline. I took a panoramic photo.

We spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool. And René worked again on the PC, which is now ready again. After resting and redecorating we went to the restaurant.
So at 19:00 we were there. And again a delicious meal. Fenna took a Wiener Schnitzel, Daan & René had Kapamas (pork in tomato sauce) and I had Chicken Souvlaki with bacon. We had some honey and yogurt with or without fruit after, except René, who had a banana split with strawberry and apple. Once again, there were no bananas. But we are used to that and actually it tastes great with other fruit too. After Yorgos had played and Daan had enough pictures, we walked back. On the way we saw four lizards this time and that was all. The total is now 65. After a while Yorgos was also there. He was cold and saw that René was wearing a long-sleeved shirt. Whether I also had something like that for him. René had another sweater with him and it looked so good that we let him keep it. He hardly knew what to say. He was very happy with it. Pool was still being played and since there was no raki, the gentlemen drank Metaxa. I took a sexy ouzo. When I went upstairs to the toilet, I noticed I was all blotchy. At first I thought that was because of the ouzo, but later figured out that it could also be sun allergy, as it was also extremely itchy. But I forgot my tablets. Yorgos promised to get ointment for me tomorrow. By now I was pretty furry. Hopefully that will help myself. At 2:00 we called it a day.

Monday, October 8, 2007
Weather: 26 degrees and sunny with veil clouds

Today is my mother’s birthday. So of course I have to call her, but I’ll do that this afternoon. We get up at 9:30 and have breakfast at 10:30. Today we go to the Lassithi plateau and from there on to Neapoli. On the plateau we see a sign to a holy place and we decide to follow the little road. This is also unknown territory for René and me. After a while we arrive at the pilgrimage site of Saint Georgos Honos. A nice little church surrounded by Kermes oaks. In the little church were all crutches, walking sticks, corsets and images of eyes, ears, legs, arms and so on. Very unusual. Apparently people can pray for healing here and if it helped they leave it here.
After this we drove back to the plateau and after three quarters around we took the turnoff to Neapoli. Along the way there is rock that is all purple. I had also seen this before and this time I took a piece with me. After driving for a while we came to the village of Zenia. In the village is an old spoon maker. We had also seen this two years ago, but we couldn’t stop then. Now we can. The man’s name is Manolis and he is well into his 100s. Pure luck that the man is still there and that he still makes spoons. I bought a kind of salad spoon from him and so did Fenna. Really hand made. €6.00 each. We gave him €15.00 each for a set. I am so glad that man is still alive and so well!!! He only spoke Greek and his hands looked like parchment. But his eyes took a good look at us. Daan took wonderful pictures of him.

Satisfied, we drove on again. This is a very nice winding route. Once back in Malia, we got oranges and such and the little monkey that Fenna really liked. I then sat down on the balcony at the apartment to update the report again. And to call my mother and congratulate her on her birthday. The rest went flat.
At 7 p.m. we went to the restaurant. It is still completely empty! The end of the season is getting very close. Daan and Fenna wanted fish and that always takes a while. René had Porkchop and I had Stifado. The fish was expertly filleted by Aristo at the table. And it was quite a fish. The two of them could barely finish it, there was so much meat on it. The Stifado was also a lot, but I bravely kept eating. René’s meat was also very tasty. We ran out of room for dessert and were happy with a glass of raki. Then to Eddy’s frustration to the Agbag. He has a lot of work to do. Well, a few more days and he’ll be off it for a while. Yorgos played again and this time for a very long time. After the music we walked back. I didn’t go that far, because Yorgos stopped the bike and asked who wanted to go on the back. And I was the fastest. Well, so was Yorgos. Rock hard he tore towards the apartment. Great!!! Wasn’t afraid for a moment. I trust him completely. After a while the rest came. Few lizards, total today only seven. The total is now 72 pieces. Chatted at the bar for a while more, and so it was late again. Almost 3:00 am.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Weather: 30 degrees and sunny, later partly cloudy

Today then we go to Heraklion. First breakfast at 10:30 and then on our way. We took the old main road, it is much nicer and we are not in a hurry anyway. At the locomotive (near the port) there is a parking lot. And there we parked the car. €3.00 for a day.
It was quite hot in the sun and so also in the center. But then you just walk on the shady side. Via 25 Augustus Street (which is now pedestrianized) we went to the square behind Loggia. René had already gotten thirsty again and we went here for a drink first. Then we showed the Loggia. Daan took a picture of us in the same gate where we stood with our wedding. Something very different though, T-shirts and shorts this time.
Then we went to the fountain with the lions and then to the daily market. That is always special, you see all kinds of things here. Whole pigs, cow heads, a lot of vegetables, a lot of fish and then the other stuff. Tourist junk and nice trinkets.

Daan and I bought a new belt. Also the new cd by Notis Sfakianakis and a dvd/cd by U2. And miraculously also the book by George Meis about Santorini. I did not expect to find it here. The book is shockingly expensive, but beautiful.

And at 2:30 p.m. we finally ate a Pita Gyros. Rene had been wanting to eat that all vacation. Well, it was delicious again. Then back to the car and through the busy traffic again to the old main road. At 4:30 pm we were back in Malia. A bit of messing around, then flat and getting ready for dinner.
At our regular time we headed to the restaurant again. Fenna took Kipsouvlaki with bacon, both gentlemen took lamb chops and I had a children’s Kipsouvlaki. I wasn’t very hungry after this afternoon’s gyros, hence. After a couple of raki’s, an ice cream still fit the bill. So all four of us had a banana split. We teased Eddy even more after that. He hates making Agbag, so now all four of us took something else. Fenna took a cappuccino, Daan Greek coffee, René did Agbag and I had Frappé. He almost had even more work to do with that. After coffee we walked back. Quite a few lizards this time. Total today was 11 of them. Total of the vacation is now 83 pieces. And later at the apartment we saw a little mouse. It first drank water from the pool and when Yorgos wanted to run to it, it ran through the planters, under the tables and chairs to the bookcase. Eddy ran after him but couldn’t catch him. He was quite cute, soft brown with a white belly. And pretty big for a mouse, but it wasn’t a rat or anything. A few more drinks and the gentlemen pooled. And then off to bed. By 2:00 a.m. I was stretched out. The gentlemen were still drinking beer on the balcony.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Weather: 26 degrees and veil clouds

Today is our last full day. At 11:00 we are expected at Katerina’s for coffee. Finally we get to see Nikos again. And what a beautiful little guy!!! Big eyes and blond curls in his hair. He can barely walk two meters by himself and already says several words, only Mama he refuses to say. It is mainly Goal, Baba, Yiayia and Eddy. He is in the picture again, both with René, and with me, and with us together.
It was nice to be there again for a while, even if it is much too short. After more than an hour we went back. Katerina has a thousand and one more things to do. We are going to lie by the pool for a while and then have some food and start packing our suitcases. At 6:15 pm everyone is ready for us to return the car to the rental company. We had a lot of fun with it. The Suzuki Jimmy was fine, but next time we would like one whose hood is okay. Daan and Fenna are still amazed at how the return is done here. There is no check to see if you have refilled the tank or if you have sustained any damage. You don’t pay a deposit and you don’t have to sign anything after that. Everything here is still done on the basis of good faith.
From the rental agency we walked via the pin and the long route directly to the restaurant. Yorgos walked straight to his bike. He had thought of bringing a polo shirt for Rene. Daan got a T-shirt and a CD and we also brought raki from the restaurant. In terms of food today, it became special again. Fenna, Daan and René were given the choice of beef steak (so was I, but that’s not my thing) and they took it. These turned out to be T-bone steaks and best jumbos. I had Soutzoukakia. Everyone was so full that we only took coffee. Yorgos played again and then it was time to say goodbye. We also thanked the cook and Manos. We will see Eddy later and Yorgos too, but not Aristo. He got two packs of tobacco from the gentlemen. He hadn’t even realized it was our last evening. Just as well, it saves a lot of Metaxa.
The last evening turns out to be a good one in terms of lizard counts. We see 11!!! Later René sees two more. The final total this vacation stands at 96. After some pool and some drinking and talking, we then say goodbye to Eddy, Eddy, Rebecca and of course to Yorgos! It was great again, but it’s over. At 1:00 we go upstairs. Tomorrow the alarm clock will go off at 6:00. Then the last things will go in the suitcase, we will have breakfast and then go home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007
Weather: 20 degrees and sunny GR / 14 degrees and partly cloudy NL

At 6:00 a.m. the alarm clock goes off, I wash first and then Rene. Then we put the last things in the suitcases. They are a bit too heavy, but usually that doesn’t matter here. Then René brings our suitcases downstairs. And then to room 306 for breakfast. I can’t get it down, my stomach is in knots. Maybe already homesick for Crete when we haven’t even left yet! At 7:30 we are ready. Daan and Fenna then have to pack the last things. When that is done and everyone has been to the toilet, René also brings their suitcases downstairs. When we come downstairs, we see that the guests who were supposed to leave at 6:50 are still there. They had overslept. After some phone calls, they manage to get a cab to the airport. Is that all right?
We have a laugh just before departure. Daan has discovered that a plant we have seen many times throughout our vacation has a very strange characteristic. If you squeeze it or sometimes just tap it, it jumps away and squirts weird stuff. (Looked up later at home and this plant turns out to be very poisonous, but fortunately it went well during the vacation).
Our bus arrives 8:30. We are the first ones. It is only a small bus. And in the end we also turn out to be only 10 people in the bus. At the airport it is the usual chaos. The suitcases give no problems and neither does the control. The plane leaves on time and we even arrive at Eelde a little earlier. There we say goodbye to Daan and Fenna. They were picked up by someone else (their old neighbors). Henk picks us up again. Crete 2007-2 is over. Next year again!

For the rest of the vacation photos see HERE