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Oot an aboot!

January 26, 2012

Crete has a dramatic landscape with the close proximity of the sea and the huge mountains.  The weather, too, affects the colours and the movement in the sky and in the sea.  We have experienced torrential rain, high winds and sleet as well as sunshine and showers.  The countryside and the landscape are always looking different and at present there is a lot of snow on the hills.  However if the sun is shining, the sea is a wonderful acquamarine colour and contrasts starkly with the white on the hills.

So it has been a treat to take off in the car and look at the landscape and the historical sites. Last week we went to a small village called Xerokambos on the east coast of Crete.  We had been there 20 years ago as a trip from Makrigialos but my only memories were of a beautiful beach where I got nipped by a crab which was very painful.  John remembered that the roads weren’t very good so we were a bit unsure as to whether our car would cope with them.   But the road there was new and while it was very twisty and hilly, it was spectacular in itself.  It was like scalextric.  

I think the road must have been built to support a military base because there were certainly few signs of human habitation.  We passed a deserted village and it was beautiful, yet sad.  The light on the village was lovely but there was no-one living there. 

The beach at Xerokambos was as beautiful as I remembered it but I didn’t try the sea this time.  Just a bit cold and that crab might still be there waiting for me!

On Sunday our friends Hans and Haneke took us into the mountains for Sunday lunch.  As we passed through Ierepatra it was a wonderful sight to see the snow on the Dikti mountains and the turquoise Libyan sea sparkling in the sun on our left.  Such a contrast in the same picture postcard. 

We drove first to Mirthos, a village about 10 miles away on the coast.  I liked it a lot.  I love our house here and the beach and our view but the village where we live is spread out and there is no real centre to it.  This small village was more compact and prettier.  It had felt the wind the night before because some of the beach had deposited itself on the walkway.  We then drove onto Ano Simi, a beautiful, tiny, inhabited village with two small churches and walked to a waterfall which showed that there has been quite a lot of rain in 2012.  

Kato Simi was bigger and there we had Sunday lunch in the middle of the afternoon.  There were huge numbers of people including ourselves enjoying the food.  The goat and the beans were ‘nostimos’ (tasty).

On Tuesday we drove to Heraklion to organise our return ferry tickets.  Then we went to Malia, one of the very busy summer tourist resorts on the north coast where there is also a Minoan Palace.  It cost us 4 Euros to enter the palace and we were surprised when the man who took the money got out some keys and we followed him to the entrance gate.  Apparently we were the first people that day (it was 1pm) to go in and we were lucky it was open.  There was again a fine mountain and sea background.  It was very atmospheric, peaceful and moving. There was a model of what the Palace had looked like, some information and photos of the excavation but the ruins were left much as they were, unlike Knossos. 

We left the sea and travelled up into the mountains to the Lassithi Plateau.  In fact we drove up around 900 metres on a good but windy road. 

The temperature plummeted and on came the drizzle.  John had wanted to see Lassithi for a long time and he was not disappointed.  The flat plain, surrounded by small villages and then mountains, was remarkable.  We drove right round the plain, through the villages and then back down another twisty but fairly new road. You can see that Crete in the winter is not all about warmth and sunshine.

We also had a look at Plaka and Spinalonga and we hope to make the boat journey to Spinalonga soon as it can only be made at weekends in the winter.

Sheila

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One Comment
  1. That is more snow that we have had!. Weather here has been exceedingly sunny. Sun shine almost every day for the past 2/3 weeks but also chilly. Very Very strange!!. We will probably get it in Feb. We are off to a cottage in the Black Isle for a short break mid March & so it better not snow then as the owners of the cottage have said that the track leading to the cottage is impassible if it snows lots. So fingers crossed. It has a panoramic view over the Moray Firth & you can see dolphins from your lounge/ patio doors. Not that it will be a patch on Crete. Probablly grey skies & green sea. We should swap photos!.
    Nothing overly exciting is happening here apart from looking into a career change at present but not all that certain it will pan out. Will let you know when things are clearer
    Take care, Lots of Love . Linda xx.

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