Enjoying Long Walks in the Beautiful Cretan Countryside

We all had a wonderful first day of beachcombing in Falasarna the first week in November. The weather was gorgeous and whilst Lisa, Debbie and I were hunting for shells and sea treasures – Ross actually went swimming and snorkeling. As usual we had a picnic on the beach and stayed until after sunset.. and what a beautiful sunset it was!

On a beach near Falasarna

Ross took this photo in Falasarna of all of us at the end of the beachcombing day – just before sunset.

The next day, on Saturday evening we all met up again to celebrate my birthday, which actually wasn’t until the Monday but Saturday suited everyone better anyway. We dined at Gyrothalassia on the beachfront in Kalyves and the food was good and very reasonably priced. Afterwards we walked to Apicorno for late drinks. As usual, I didn’t think to take photos until it was too late. Debbie and Ross had already left but the barman took one of Lisa and I just before we left the taverna. It was a fun night and even though it was a last minute arrangement, suggested on the way back from Falasarna, I am glad I bothered to organize something to mark the occasion.

Celebrating my birthday at Apicorno in Kalyves

Celebrating my birthday at Apicorno in Kalyves

I live my life at a much less hectic pace these days, now that my art business does not dominate but is instead slotted in between lots of other activities. I’ve been on three of David’s walks since my last post. We walk from about 10am until around 2pm, then afterwards find a good taverna to have lunch. I am usually starving by then, despite nibbling on a banana and nuts while we walk. I absolutely love these walks because I get to see so much more of the wild and beautiful Cretan countryside. In Ramni a few weeks ago we were lucky enough to see about 30 vultures circling slowly on a thermal close to us. We’ve also walked around Platanos and parts of Kaina.

A plateau near the tiny old chapel at Tzitzifes

A plateau near the tiny old chapel at Tzitzifes, part of the festival trail

This week we visited Tzitzifes where we climbed up and up a trail of pathways and steps to a tiny and very old chapel. The inside of this chapel was covered with fading religious scenes all over the walls and the small arched ceiling. Every year there is a festival for this chapel held on 8th and 9th September and the long pathway leading to the chapel and the trails beyond are all strung with lights. I love the fact that these Greek communities living in the mountain villages have kept their religious traditions for centuries.

Above a large beach further along the coast fro Frangokastello

Above a large beach further along the coast from Frangokastello

Since the last time I wrote Lisa, Debbie and I have also been beachcombing in FrangoKastello and Georgioupoli and we had lovely sunny and warm weather for both these trips too. In fact for all the outdoor activities I’ve been indulging in during November – the weather has remained quite clement, although we have had some very strong southerly wind storms which have kept temperatures warm. However there has not been much rain this past month.

Falasarna Beach Crete

Following the beautiful pink shoreline on Falasarna beach.

It’s also looking promising for this coming Sunday too, when I am going on my first walk with the ‘Happy Wanderers’. These tend to be more strenuous walks and on Sunday we will be walking in the Kournas village area, covering most of nearby Stone Oak Forest. We will walk for about 10 km and like David’s walks – end up at a local taverna for lunch. I am really looking forward to it as it will be the last walk I do before returning to the UK on 8th for three weeks over Christmas.

Sunset at Falasarna

We watched the beautiful sunset at Falasarna

I’ve been doing plenty of power walks too especially on sunny mornings and I always end up walking on parts of Almyrida beach –   just in case any gems have washed up! I’ve been catching up with old friends like Nancy and Bob, whom I met for dinner the other week, in Fortini’s in Plaka. The music and general knowledge quiz at my local Vangeli’s has become a regular – meeting Lisa and sometimes Marianne at 4pm so that we can chat and catch up before the quiz starts at around 5.30pm.

Part of the trail to the old chapel in Tzitzifes

Part of the trail to the old chapel in Tzitzifes

I can’t wait to spend time with my family and gorgeous grandkids at Christmas again and to soak up the atmosphere that is so special in the UK at this time of the year. I have been very fortunate in being able to book a direct flight from Athens to Manchester with Easyjet this year. Last year I had 3 flights to catch and the whole travel experience there and back was a nightmare (which I have written about in January). No thanks to the pandemic – travel is not the experience it used to be, but as long as I can still get to the UK and back home to Crete afterwards, I am happy.