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Torrents and Tours

December 31, 2011

Well it’s Hogmanay and the rain is pouring down in torrents and the thunder and lightning add to the excitement!   It is hard to believe I was swimming in the beautiful turquoise sea a couple of days ago.  For the first two weeks here we had nice sunshine and got used to eating outside.  In the third week there was a pattern of a couple of days of sunshine and then a couple of days of cloud and it was a bit cooler.  But this week while there is still the pattern of sunshine and cloud, the cloud is accompanied by torrential rain.  On the positive side the ground is much greener and flowers are springing up in the garden.  But we did get pretty wet today at the market and it is extremely dreary outside. 

However, on a sunnier day last week, John, Rosie and I went to Sitia, a town on the north coast.  We drove through pleasant countryside of hills and small villages perched on hills. Most noticeable were the large patches of yellow flowers which have appeared over the last few days due to the rain.  They are beautiful.  Sitia is a pretty place with a harbour, a lovely beach and a Venetian fort. 

It was lunchtime and we had a huge range of taverna’s to choose from overlooking the harbour even though many are empty or shut at this time of year.  The owner of the one we chose had been a sailor and spent time in Scotland.  He said he had been to Glasgow, Ardrossan and Grangemouth.  The world feels quite a small place at times!  The food was wonderful.  John and I had a plate of appetisers and Rose ate kalamares.  What a treat!  I thought of my parents who in the 1980’s had a two week holiday, one in Sitia and the other in Chania.  I knew they liked Sitia and I could see why.  As usual when I think of my parents, I realise how little I knew about their holiday and where they went.  But there are photo albums at home which my mother systematically kept and I have no doubt there will be one or two pictures of Sitia.

We decided on a circular route and carried on along the north coast road which is the main road of the island.  The roads are the biggest sign that we have seen here of cuts.  For a few miles the road was good, not dual carriageway but  it had recently been built.  Then the road abruptly ended and we were diverted onto the old road which is unbelievably twisty and has a bad surface.  The most awful aspect to this is not driving along the old road. It is that you can see that a new road has been partially built and that money and effort has been put into building bridges and surfacing the road.  So the new road is visible for a while and for another few miles it is clear where the road is supposed to be.  So many people must have lost their jobs and so much money spent. The environment has already been damaged but people do not benefit from having a good road. What a waste!   

We then went to Mochlos, which is situated opposite a small island which was in Minoan days joined to Crete.  You can see the Minoan ruins from a distance and one day we will go back and eat in the village which was very pretty. 

We are having a quiet Hogmanay with Rosie, enjoying endless Black Adder episodes and possibly a movie and drinking Retsina.  Even if we wanted to go out, I think the weather would keep us at our house.  Not a great improvement from being in Scotland?  But I am confident the weather will cheer up in the New Year. 

Have a Happy New Year everybody.




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  1. Wishing you all a very happy New Year! Love & Hugs to you all. I have these words of wisdom from my fridge magnets ………. ” What if the Hokey Cokey really is what it is all about ? “…… ” I no longer skinny dip, I chunky dunk” & finally ” If a woman’s work is never done— why start!” xxxxx

  2. Jill Shuker permalink

    Happy new year to you all. we have enjoyed (and are enjoying) your blog very much. We have had a happy christmas, lots of windy sunshine in Sunderland, and a great new year in Kingston, London where we walked on New Year’s day, had coffee in Richmond Park in the open air, and 5 minutes later as we were looking at St Paul’s through the treelined avenue the heavens opened and it rained for the hour we walked home. Although we were soaked we can’t moan because we desperately need the water down here.

    We are still ‘homeless’ so are staying with friends and off to Devon tomorrow.

    New kitchen starts next monday…hooray!

    Richard and Jill

    • Hi Jill
      Happy New Year to you. Sorry not to have been in touch. Children and friends have now left so now catching up with correspondence! Hope your kitchen is progressing quickly and we hope we can come and visit it at the end of February! No doubt Richard will trying to slow down progress but now we know that Derek might come and see us if we come to see you, how can we not come. Just about to start looking at the return journey and will be in touch.
      Having a wonderful time here. You will get some flavour of it from the blog. Our new Dutch friends have agreed to come for Burns night so I just have to find a haggis now! Will email you soon. Hope you had a nice time in Devon.

  3. Mairi Marlborough permalink

    Watching Joanna Lumley’s greek odyssey on telly at the moment – quite a lot of this episode was devoted to CRETE THOUGH SHE’S NOW HEADING FOR kOS. IT WAS FASCINATING TO SEE the sheep being milked and to have the tale of the two brits who kidnapped the German commander during the 2WW – she also wemt to a village on the north which I think might be near where you were today to try out reiki as this place apparently produces the best in Greece or maybe just Crete.
    Loving your blog – even though you seem to have some rain and chill, I still feel a blast of warmth when I read your musings!

  4. jaybo61 permalink

    Your experience of Sitia was a bit different from ours… (with kids, hunting for the beach)… we didn’t actually get into the town itself which I have to admit did not look very enticing from where we were, but it sounds as if we should have made the effort. We visited in July 2010 – the road project had already been abandoned then.
    We loved Mochlos – what about that road down to the village?! We ate lunch there one day – at the restaurant overlooking the ‘sound’ – can’t honestly recommend lunch too much but the view was great :).
    Blog on!

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