During the last six weeks the weather here on Crete has been switching constantly from cold and stormy to warm and sunny. A few weeks ago so much snow fell in parts of Greece and Athens that the Greek government declared two days of national holiday as services and businesses struggled to cope with these extreme conditions. Greece is just not used to this! We had snow in the higher villages and of course – all over the mountains, but not where I am. However it was very cold and there were plenty of hailstone showers, strong winds and thunderstorms. A few days later temperatures shot up and we had clear blue skies and lots of sunshine again.
January and February are usually quite boring months as far as evening entertainment goes. So many places are closed at this time of the year and even my local taverna, Vangeli’s is currently closed for total refurbishment. So I haven’t really been out in the evenings although recently restrictions on live music were dropped and last Friday evening I went with Lisa to a Carl Axon & the Rockin’ Rebels gig at Tsunami in Almyrida. So I expect there will be lots more events happening in the coming weeks.
Actually most of my socializing has been done on the numerous walks I’ve been on. The ever-changing and unpredictable weather has played havoc with scheduled walks which were often postponed but always went ahead eventually. I’ve met lots of lovely new people on these walks and have really enjoyed the exercise, the scenery and the lunches afterwards.
On David’s walks we’ve ambled all around Armenoi, (although rain did cut this particular walk short) and more recently, Kournas Lake, which is always interesting and a real beauty spot in any weather. It is the largest natural freshwater lake on Crete and David is on the conservation committee to try to prevent more proposed water activities and tourist facilities, which would destroy even more of the wildlife and particularly the bird migrations that pass over and stop at Kournas Lake. It is so sad that once again, profit is deemed more important than the preservation of the natural wildlife and beauty of our planet earth. I always learn so much on David’s walks, from his extensive knowledge on local wildlife, flora & fauna.
By contrast, the Happy Wanderers walks are more strenuous with frequent uphill climbs and downhill scrambles and these walks are generally faster-paced. In mid January we walked from Neo Chorio to Machairi and Paidochori, taking in some wonderful views and finishing with a lovely lunch. A couple of weeks later we walked from Selia, through Roupakia Forest and outlaying areas, passing the outskirts of Kefelas and Xirosterni and through Litsarda village. The weather was gorgeous and we ended the day with a late lunch at Marouvas Taverna in Vamos.
Beachcombing-wise, I’ve done really well to fit so much in this year already! In between the storms – I think we’ve had more warm sunshiny days than cold and rainy ones. In the first week of January it was warm and sunny almost every day and a couple of times I was tempted enough to down paintbrushes, pack a quick lunch and head off to Georgioupoli beach for the afternoon. Debbie and I had a fabulous day at Stavros a couple of weeks ago. Weather was just gorgeous and there were simply tons of beautiful seashells! We always have a laugh and we always find it so difficult to drag ourselves off the beaches when the sun goes down and it starts to get dark.
More recently we’ve been back to Bali and Georgioupoli after the storms have left so many seashells and other ocean treasures along the shores. It’s been so wonderful to explore these coastlines again, especially all the beaches that were off limits to us this time last year when we were in lockdown.
So it seems as though all I have done for weeks is walking, whether it be on beaches, through forests and villages, on dirt tracks and mountain paths and let’s not forget the power walks I do on a regular basis too!
Of course I am still creating my Seashell Mosaic & Collage artworks for the coming summer season, but winter is the most wonderful time to be out and about on this beautiful island, when you feel as though you have it all to yourself! After all these years I am still so grateful to be living and experiencing this wonderful life in the midst of such astounding natural beauty. In all areas of my life I continue to feel so inspired and uplifted by it all.