Crete’s Long Hot Summer Continues into September

I am pleased to report that the temperatures gradually came down to a more normal level and by mid August, were a lot more bearable, especially with the return of the cool breezes coming off the sea. By 9th August I was back selling from my stall by the beach. It was busy in Almyrida and Plaka yet still the majority of tourists were from France and Germany. By my recollection of the past 13 summers in Almyrida – I have never seen so many French and German tourists. There were hardly any British tourists this August and I am not surprised, given the way the UK government has made it so difficult for British people to travel this summer.

Popular this summer - Cat on Steps in Seashell Mosaic Painting

Popular this summer – Cat on Steps in Seashell Mosaic Painting

Now we are already into the middle of September and I have finally seen the return of many British visitors and many who weren’t able to visit Crete last year. It is lovely to see familiar faces again and to welcome them all back! I sold a total of 25 Seashell Mosaic Paintings during the 3 weeks in August and have sold a further 15 so far this month. Sales are down by less than a half to what they were pre-covid. But when you consider all the extra outlay on covid tests for travel – the tourists that do make it here inevitably have less money to spend. I feel like I’ve done as well as I could have hoped for, even managing to sell some more expensive artworks which I would not normally display and I have had to remove these pieces from the Etsy shop. My new cat designs have sold well this summer and the little mermaid too.

Not normally for my beach stall, sold this September. Fisherman, boat & Seagulls in Seashell Mosaic Painting

Not normally for my beach stall, sold this September. Fisherman, boat & Seagulls in Seashell Mosaic Painting.

It’s been a quiet summer for family and friends visiting this year, with only Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve’s holiday so far because sadly Zoe and Rich weren’t able to make it here this summer. My friends Jill and Rick were due at the end of August but felt they had to cancel because of the constant changes and restrictions the UK government is making on travel. However I am thrilled that Caroline and Tony are flying out for 5 days on the 23rd October. I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with them as it’s been a while since we had time to properly catch up.

The music festival in Gavalochori

The music festival in Gavalochori

 

Local  restrictions here on Crete have meant  that live music gigs have been few and far between. But now they are starting to pick up again. Last weekend I went to the music festival in Gavolochori, held at a large open-air setting with many different bands playing and despite the fact that we weren’t supposed to dance (duh?!!) – we were all up dancing in the street anyway!  Last night there was a gig in the local village of Drapanos and next week Carl is playing at Nikita’s in Almyrida.  Generally there are more events planned for the coming weeks.

Lisa and I enjoying the music at the Gavalochori Festival

Lisa and I enjoying the music at the Gavalochori Festival

Just when I thought we’d seen the last of the high temperatures, this weekend it has turned hotter again with temperatures of 34 and 35 degrees. The sea is like a mill pond and the atmosphere is hazy and airless. When you step outside it is like entering a sauna and I am really hoping that by Monday there will still be sea breezes so that I am more comfortable when I am selling at my stall in Almyrida.

Another awesome sunset as seen from my balcony

Another awesome sunset as seen from my balcony

Another Heatwave Way Too Hot to Work or Play in!

The post you are about to read was actually posted on 6th August, but GoDaddy decided to migrate my site and in the process I have been offline for several days and have lost that post.  As it was a special one (well all of them are special to me) and because luckily I keep drafts, I am re-posting it now.

It is the 6th August and we are in the midst of another dreadful heatwave here on Crete. The Greek authorities have declared it the hottest on record and wildfires have been raging all over Greece and the islands. This is putting enormous pressure on the Electricity supply and this morning we had the inevitable power cut! I am so grateful that this heatwave didn’t happen last week, when my family were over. Out of curiosity I put my fridge magnet thermometer outside on my balcony overlooking the sea, to record the temperature. It went off the scale at over 120F (over 50C) and burst the bulb!

Enjoying our meal at Elia in Almyrida

Enjoying our meal at Elia in Almyrida

I cannot face getting into my burning hot car (despite the reflective wind screen cover), not being able to touch the steering wheel and now to make matters worse and just when I really need it – the aircon has packed up!
So I have opted to stay at home where thankfully the aircon IS working. I dread to think what my next electricity bill is going to be. In the 12 years that I have lived on Crete, I have never experienced a summer as hot as this one has been. I cannot set up my stall and sell by Almyrida beach because, with the heatwave – the lovely cooling breezes disappear altogether. I would surely melt during the 9/10 hours I am there.

At the poolside of the Almyrida Beach Hotel

At the poolside of the Almyrida Beach Hotel

On a much lighter and happier note – it goes without saying that I enjoyed the most wonderful week with Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve. Once again I had Ralph and Neve over for tea and a stopover, whilst Emma and Ash got some valuable time alone together. I cannot find the words to express the joy I feel when I am playing and looking after Ralph and Neve. To have a whole week of playing with them in the sea and swimming pools.. and everything else we all do together – is truly a blessing in today’s pandemic circumstances.

Ralph and Neve on my balcony watching the sheep below.

Ralph and Neve on my balcony watching the sheep below.

Although it is now much busier with tourists in Almyrida, the Langley resort where my family were staying was barely 10 percent full, so we had their enormous pool and children’s pool to ourselves! However we spent only one day there because there were no facilities open for drinks, food or even ice-creams. Instead we spent a couple of days at the Almyrida Beach hotel poolside as it’s just perfect for kids and it’s nice to have lunch there. In my basement storeroom I have amassed a large box full of water toys like little blow up boats, little surf boards, buckets and spades, water pistols and everything you can imagine for kids to enjoy in the water.

We took a day trip out to Falasarna Beach and although we paid a staggering 30 Euros for 4 beds and 2 parasols, it was worth it. I say beds because that is what we were lying on and they were so comfortable! The turquoise sea was so clean and clear and it was completely sandy all the way in.

Because I want to make the most of the tourists that are here now, there were two days last week that I didn’t spend with my family but was selling by the beach instead. On one of these days Emma and Ash took Ralph and Neve to the big water park in Limnoupolis and reported back that it was absolutely fantastic. The kids had a whale of a time!

So we all had a really fab and wonderful week together. All the photos and videos we took reminding us of the wonderful memories we’ve made again. Emma and Ash both felt all the stress leading up to their holiday was so worth it for the fabulous time they had. I just feel overwhelmingly blessed.

Greek Urn & Plant Seashell Mosaic Painting. I sold 2 of these in July

Greek Urn & Plant Seashell Mosaic Painting. I sold 2 of these in July

 

 

 

I am so pleased that I was able to sell my artworks in July this summer, especially as this heatwave at the start of August is preventing me from setting up my stall so far this month. At least I have been lucky to sell 22 seashell mosaic paintings during the two days a week I set up in July and I am most grateful for that.
It is day 7 of this latest heatwave and I have had enough of being stuck at home with the aircon! I have managed to get a lot of work done but I feel so out of sorts not being able to sell this week. The forecast from tomorrow is much better with temperatures down to a comfortable 32/33 degrees and with hopefully accompanying breezes again.  So tomorrow I am spending the afternoon catching up with Lisa and Debbie on the beach in Kalyves.

It’s Late, but Summer is Finally Starting to Kick Off!

It’s true! Aside from the exciting UEFA Championship final between UK and Italy happening tomorrow, slowly, slowly Almyrida and Plaka are starting to fill with more tourists. I cannot wait to welcome the UK tourists back. They have definitely been conspicuous by their absence, with mostly only Germans, Russians and a few Americans visiting. But with the easing of restrictions in the UK on travel, this means many more British tourists can now visit Greece without having to quarantine on their return. Continue reading

Missing Almyrida’s Tourists for the Second Year Running

How strange and sad it is to see everywhere so quiet and deserted for the second year in a row. Both Almyrida and Plaka would normally be buzzing at this time of the year, yet there are barely enough tourists to warrant all the restaurants and shops being open. Indeed everywhere is open but everywhere is almost deserted! Continue reading

So What is There to Write About?

We’ve been in lockdown here on Crete for almost 5 months and everyone is feeling totally fed up! A couple of weeks ago they tightened up the restrictions even further and we are now only allowed to shop locally. No more trips to the large supermarkets in Chania. Also we are not allowed to travel by car to exercise, which means we shouldn’t be going to Kalyves for our lovely walks along the beaches there. Curfews are still in place from 9pm until 5am and you must always have a valid reason for leaving your home. Continue reading

Enjoying Weeks of Sunshine and Warm Weather!

I am loving the mild winter we’ve been having here on Crete. A noticeable indication of just how much sunshine we’ve been enjoying shows visibly on the mountains, where almost all the snow has melted. The fact that we’re still in lockdown is frustrating but is nowhere near as limiting as it is in the UK. I have been making the most of the hours of sunshine and warm weather by getting out and about on walks, because there is always somewhere close by to explore on foot. Continue reading

Warning! Never Book Anything Through Lastminute.com!

The only reason I am even telling this sorry tale is to let people know that Lastminute.com should come with a health warning! It is a long narrative if you can be bothered to read it. But they are a despicable company and should no longer be allowed to conduct their illegal business practices. Covid is no excuse for their total lack of customer service and outright lies to their customers!
Lastminute Customer Service is not fit for purpose and I hope I persuade anyone who reads this not to go near them! Continue reading

A Christmas of Joy Worth all the Stress of Covid

I arrived home to Crete on 2nd after leaving a very cold UK and I am blown away by the wonderful weather I’ve come back to!  I am amazed to be sitting here on my balcony with warm and tranquil sunshine washing over me like a comfort blanket. It’s been blue skies and sunshine ever since I returned and it’s forecast to be 24 and 25 degrees at the weekend. Wow!  Despite having a list of stuff I need to deal with – I just have to sit here and enjoy it!  My view is magical and my recent memories are magical… so I am perfectly placed to write all about them here and now. Continue reading

Wild Horses Won’t Stop me from Spending Christmas with my Family!

Having been in lockdown ever since my last post, there is very little to talk about and so this is just a short post before I leave for the UK for Christmas. It is only 3 days till I go yet I still have not had confirmation of an alternative flight I accepted after yet another was cancelled 2 weeks ago. I knew that because of this pandemic, trying to get to the UK for Christmas was never going to be easy. I expected cancelled flights but wild horses aren’t going to stop me from trying! Continue reading