I know that I have done some beachcombing this winter but I don’t really count the local beaches because I can visit them anytime! Crete is jam packed with gorgeous beaches and all of them are different and all of them are so stunningly beautiful! All of these beaches I have missed exploring because of lockdown restrictions. However, at the end of the first week in April the Greek Government lifted the restrictions on travel for personal fitness – for weekends only!
Lisa, Debbie and I have all taken full advantage of this extra freedom and visited all the beaches in Bali, Falasarna and Frangokastello in three consecutive weekends. The weather has been great and last weekend we were all in shorts and strappy tops, getting a really good tan! A beachcombing day involves countless squats and lots and lots of walking, over a period of about 6 hours. So we were keeping fit and getting an even suntan all in one go. Not forgetting the pleasure of finding so many beautiful seashells. You find different shells and ocean treasure on different beaches and we never tire of showing each other our cherished discoveries. I must start taking photos of some of our beach finds. I get so absorbed in the exploring – that I don’t even think of taking photos… and I should. Needless to say, we always have a great time with lots of fun, lovely picnics and plenty of chat too! Tomorrow we are all going to Elafonisi for the day and really looking forward to it!
Aside from the beachcombing, we’ve all been busy with the changes we have to make as expats living in Greece, as a result of Brexit. Firstly we have to apply for the new Biometric ID Card. This entails at least three visits to the main Police Station in Chania. On the first visit you have to bring a long list of documents, then two weeks later you have to return for your fingerprints to be taken. When I went to the police station last week, I was expecting to place all my fingers and thumbs onto ink pads. Of course it’s all electronic and digital these days and so I had to place my digits onto left and right pads. There appeared to be a problem with my prints registering on these devices and the young police officer told me to go and wash my hands and after that it seemed to work. Anyway then he said, “I don’t like your photo”! I didn’t know what to say! There was a brief silence before he indicated my forehead and fringe. I remembered the photographer asking me to pull my hair back and show my forehead. I swept my fringe to the sides as best I could, but it kept bouncing back. However, I don’t have a thick fringe and you can clearly see my eyes and my eyebrows in the photo. So what’s the problem?! “Well,” said the police officer, “Just beware they may reject it.” If my photo gets rejected, I’ll have to take some grips and pin all the fringe back… and I won’t even look like me anymore!
Because of Brexit, the other thing we have to do is to change our UK driving licenses to Greek ones. I never wanted to give up my UK license and when I first heard of this possibility about two years ago, I thought I had found a way round it. When I was in the UK I bought an International Driving License from the Post Office and thought this would solve the problem. Turned out I was wrong! The application process is, as usual, bureaucratic and complicated. In addition, you were obliged to visit any doctor and optician you chose from a long list in Chania. I won’t go into all the details but can say that most of us are so baffled with all the procedures (only explained in Greek), that we have saved on the stress and paid 50 Euros to the lady at Creta Services to handle it all! It’s a small price to pay for all the wonderful benefits of living on Crete.
Last week when I had to visit the optician and doctor, we decided that as we were already in Chania, (and we had permission) we would take the opportunity to spend the rest of the day there. We visited the harbour front first and were shocked to see how deserted it was! It felt as though it were a great privilege to be experiencing Chania without any people there. Like a ghost town… it is as so many cities around the world are right now. We bought takeaway lunch and fresh ice cream, then decided to walk to Neo Chorio beach, which is just beyond the harbor. There we found lots of tiny seashells and some really nice beach glass. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and we had a lovely time with Chania all to ourselves!
On the work front, I sold the underwater scene with the Angelfish to a local lady and managed to have enough shells to make another one for my Etsy shop. I also decided to make a smaller version of the underwater scene featuring tropical Goldfish instead of Angelfish. I have also spent the last few weeks working on an important seashell order from the USA. This incorporates 2 separate suppliers that I’ve been using for over 10 years. I would normally have made this order around November last year, but have delayed it because of the Pandemic.
It is the Greek Orthodox Easter and it’s Good Friday today. I do feel for the Greeks as this is the second year running that they have not been able to celebrate the most important tradition of their year. It seems particularly harsh that Easter Sunday falls on 2nd May, but everything does not open up again until the 4th. The government has laid on an extra 10,000 police to make sure that the Greeks do not travel over the Easter period. I do not know of any other country that has been in constant lockdown for 6 whole months, but it shows just how seriously the Greek Government has handled this pandemic, to ensure that Greece is a safe place for tourists to visit again. It goes without saying that we are all super excited about being able to visit tavernas and coffee shops and to socialize and dine out again. We will all be celebrating next week for sure!