Monday, May 21, 2012

last day in Crete - Heraklion (5/15/12)

our last night in Crete was spent in Heraklion since we had a 6:30a.m. flight and it was WAY easier to get to the airport from there.  we got there about noon, checked in to our hotel (El Greco) (decidedly a big step down from Village Heights) (but, oh well, it was just one night).  started off down a pedestrian only street toward the harbor, aiming for the History of Crete Museum, tho we didn't really know where it was. got there 2 hours before it closed and found that it was a place we'd have loved to spend the whole day exploring.  a very good representation of Cretan history, including 2 works by El Greco and a room dedicated to Nikos Katanzikas (Zorba The Greek).  on the very top floor was a replica of a typical Cretan home... way back when (i'm so not good about dates). and there were many display cases of the historical textiles, which i of  course found fascinating.  not a good photo of the hand spindles (almost the only example of the making of  the yarn).

 on the tourist map of the area, Jim found a Ben and Jerry's listed, and knowing my love for B&J, that was our first stop!  so i got delicious double chocolate ice cream and was very very happy!

the view from our room was far from scenic, but was the scene for some kind of all-night partying, motorcycles and general neighborhood mayhem.  did not get a lot of sleep in preparation for our 28-hour flight home ordeal.  luckily, after a few weeks of re-entry to life in my queendom, the ugliness of that flight home dims and i start looking forward to the next trip to Crete!  i think it helps that i so much love being in both places that the joy overcomes any pain in the ass of travel feelings!

the harbor is crowded with traffic... boats, cars and pedestrians, tavernas, touristy shops, tour groups trying to follow their leader, and it's all quite breath-taking in many ways!  i never get over the brilliant blues of the sky and the water, contrasted with the angular white of the boats.

and a short distance from the busy-ness of the harbor is an archeological dig in progress, which i so wanted to get down into and explore!!

on a side street close to the hotel we found a nice little taverna, had a last Cretan meal and ouzo.  i'll really miss the ouzo-on-ice-with-water-on-the-side!!

and so,dear diary, i will try to do catch up on our adventures of Fantasy Island as i can.

need more sleep.......

Saturday, May 19, 2012

a notice for my twisted sisters.... we need to get on with it!

Friday, May 18, 2012

roses in Crete

what i loved the best about the last place we stayed in Crete, near Hersonissos, was the abundance of gorgeous roses.  i tried to pick a favorite and just couldn't.  i just wish they'd put labels beside the plants so i'd be able to go out and buy them to put in my rose garden.

what i loved second best was having a REAL shower... wheeee.

when i get really back to reality at home, i'll post some more.

ETA - 5/22/12 -- i was so in love with all those roses that i've already been online with Jackson Perkins and ordered 4 roses which i hope will be delivered SOON!

this is a REALLY old olive tree which must have been there long before the corporation raped this land and put in the resort.  at least they didn't take it out.
 and some photos around the place.  the literature we found in the room says that the place (Village Heights) was built in a way to reflect the old villages of Crete, which just couldn't be further from the look and feel of old Cretan villages.  it seems sad to me that many people come to Crete and see only tourist resorts like this and the touristy villages down the hill by the sea... and never see and experience the real Crete and it's people and culture... and go home believing they've seen Crete.  i sure did love the roses tho!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

some photos with few words- near Heraklion, Crete

we are in a new place now...Hersonisos in kind of the northcentral part of Crete. we got a tour for 2 days of the wine/vineyard area, saw a Minoan archeological site thot to have been a palace, admired the awesomely beautiful hills and sweet little villages.

home on wed. more words then.
 5 /22/2012 - home and editing now...  rather than rent a car while in this area, we were able to hire a friend from Vamos who works as a guide and conducts tours all over Crete.  Valerie came over and took us to parts of this area that we'd have never been able to find and explore without her!!  the views and scenery were spectacular... we went up to the Lasithi plateau, which was a huge agriculture area with many windmills which provided power to the wells necessary for irrigation and to grind and process the grains grown there.  when electricity became available, the windmills were abandoned.  recently, more modern windmills are being placed around the area to provide power.  too bad the old ones can't be resurrected.
Valerie is an archeologist, so we had some great discussions about the history of Crete and various theories regarding the Minoans.  this is one of those sites that hasn't been much disturbed (except for the wall built at the back of this photo).  it is thot to be one of the palaces of that time.
archeological site-pobably Minoan palace
we stopped in one of the larger villages for  lunch and found a nice taverna on the plaka.  several dogs were wandering around looking for handouts.  this one took a bit of time out for a little rest in the sun.

this momma kitty and her babies were at one of the wineries we visited.  it was probably the best thing about this winery... which is more of a wine factory than a "local winery"

the next is out of sequence... it was taken our last night in Vamos....
this is Mr. Yannis, a sweet man of about 90 years, who is the unofficial greeter at Bloumosifi Taverna.  he arrives there early afternoon, stays a couple of hours just sitting by the door, goes home for a nap, then is back in his chair until 8pm or so.  there's all sorts of rumors about his "home life"... mainly that his wife is very mean and hits him with her shoe.  but he gets lots of love and TLC at the taverna.

and back to the wine country tour... we followed some signs and found a wonderful, small, biologic vineyard and winery and were greeted by the owner, Mr. Stilianou, who gave us a tasting of his wines and olive oil.  we bought 3 bottles of wine, including a Rose which i normally don't like, but this one was exceptional.  we also bought a liter of his lovely olive oil, but it did not make it home with us because my dear sweet man packed it in his carry-on and it was confiscated at the first security check for being way over the liquids limit.  from now on i'm in charge of packing any/all liquids.   if you are ever in the Minos Perfecture in the town of Minos you should look for this winery.

this one's for Judy!  remember all that Retsina we drank together??  it still tastes the same!!

Monday, May 07, 2012

time out

i just cant deal with trying to blog using iPad so will wait til im back home. lots of adventures and photos. check back in about 2 weeks for thecontinuing saga of fantasy island

Thursday, May 03, 2012

a day in Hania

and i'm exhausted! first of all i had to get out of bed at 7a.m. (rather than 9) to catch a bus at 8:30. we've learned to be there at least 15 min. early because it might come early.... or late... or not at all. we were in luck today..then missed the stop to get off by the big market, so ended up at the station, about 8 long blocks from the market. not that big a deal, i guess. so walked down toward the harbor as i was seeking out a special shop which had been recommended.. found it!! and found a really beautiful amber pendant set in hand-worked silver, which my very dear man purchased for me! then on to the harbor, mosied around, had gelatto for breakfast, finally to the market which covers a couple of blocks, all inside and selling everything from cheapo touristy crap, to fresh fish and other sea things like octopus, cuttlefish (the fishy stink is overwhelming), also some fresh veggies and fruit, olive oil, bakery goods... you get the idea. had gyros and mythos beer for lunch, more shopping/wandering/looking and back to the bus depot, which has had an upgrade, but still an uncomfortable place for me. picture probably 30+ BIG buses... like tour buses, pulling in and out and masses of people milling around trying to find the right bus. scary, really. we found the bus, asked if he was going to Vamos and handed over our tickets, got on and no more seats and aisles totally jammed with standers (us, too). after about 10 stinky sweltering minutes, the driver announced that all people going to Vamos should get on a different bus. we did... and there were seats! we wound out of Hania, almost to Souda, bus stopped, driver made an announcement and half the people hustled off... and onto another bus. we hadn't really heard what he said, so just assumed we were headed to Vamos. yep, you guessed it... a ways further down and thru Souda, making lots of stops along the way, which seemed unusual, the ticket-taker lady came by and i showed her our ticket stubs and asked "Vamos"? she got "a look" on her face and went back to the front and talked to the driver. she didn't say another thing to us for 15 min., then the bus pulled over and she said ok we should get off here. there was a bus waiting for us at an exit ramp and he was going to Vamos. so, we scooted off one and onto the other, and we got home about 45 min. later than usual. actually, not sure what usual is any more. still don't know where in the hell that bus was headed, but we didn't go there! always an adventure when you don't really understand most of the language. ouzo on ice at Bloumosifi helped a lot!

on Monday there was Greek music at Liakoto.. really really good. Giannis Nikalou (i prob. butchered his name), a well-known composer, song-writer, singer from Athens. lots of Greeks there loving every minute. we loved it, too and bought his 2 CDs. his photo is among today's assortment below.

also, 2 pics in front of the market. i was esp. fascinated with a young man, decidedly not Greek by his looks, who was playing his guitar and singing Beatles songs, in english, and looking for donations. just struck me funny...

and there's Jim with Koula, who teaches the Cretan cooking classes and whose cook book we use at home at least twice a week. Jim had seen her earlier in the day and she'd said we should come by her class and say hi and have a glass of wine. we'd gotten involved in something and didn't get there til class was over, so got no tastes of what they cooked. sad..

and pics of Berend and Daphne, Toine and Iris and Valeri and Lou, which i'm not sure if i've posted earlier. not on line now so can't check. they are cute enough to see twice. they were at the taverna when we went by, 3 baby strollers, 3 little kids running around and parents having an adult beverage and a little break.

i guess that's all, dear diary. i'm getting a bit home-sick. the masses of people in Hania, the heat and noise made me wish for the quiet and peace of my queendom.