The weather has much improved since my last post and Almyrida has fully opened up for the early tourists. I am going to set up my stall and display in a few days and I am thrilled to be able to start this summer season in May instead of July or only August, as was the case in 2020 and 2021. I am particularly looking forward to welcoming the English tourists back to Crete.
Since my last post I have split my time with working on my seashell mosaics, some beachcombing, more walking and quite a lot of going out and socializing! Over the past 6 weeks I’ve been on some great walks. With David’s group we visited a mountain plateau above Spili, where many varieties of wild Orchid thrive. I last visited this plateau about 12 years ago and the fields were full of beautiful red tulips. Sadly there were only a few that had opened up and we know this is due to the prolonged winter we’ve experienced on Crete this year. The late lunch in the pretty village of Spili afterwards was superb!
One particular Happy Wanderers walk stands out as being both fascinating and quite challenging! We started the climb at ancient Eleutherna and passed by many ancient ruins and cisterns, a tower, necropolis, 3 churches built into the rock and an ancient Hellenic era bridge. I wish I had room for all the photos! The terrain was very rocky underfoot and there was quite a bit of scrambling uphill involved, so it was quite a workout! Altogether we walked about 13 kilometers and ended with a late lunch at the village of Margarites, which is famous for its pottery industry. It was indeed another wonderful day out enjoyed in the company of many lovely people.
Memorable beachcombing trips include a return to the many Stavros beaches and finally – a visit to our beloved Elafonisi with Lisa, Debbie and Chrissie. Quite by chance we picked the exact same day we visited Elafonisi last year – May 1st. The sky was rather overcast but it was warm enough for us to wear our shorts, which is just as well because we had to wade through lots of water to get to the other side, which was so different from last year when there was no water covering such huge swathes of the beach. Consequently, we did not collect as many seashells as we would have liked, but we had a really fun and fabulous day out. Even the journey to and from was made more interesting by a stop at one of the mountain villages each way – for delicious fresh ice-creams!
Greek Orthodox Easter was enthusiastically greeted and celebrated by everyone, after a two year absence. I was eating and drinking with friends all weekend at Vangeli’s in Plaka. Recently refurbished, Vangeli’s was where we based ourselves for the Saturday night ritual of burning Judas in Plaka square, and where we enjoyed sumptuous lamb on the spit the next day on Orthodox Easter Sunday.
The following weekend I attended a charity gig for local animal welfare, held at Koumos in Kalyves. During our meal, four different sets of musicians played in the beautiful setting of Koumos taverna and grounds. The next evening, although I wasn’t planning to go, I was invited to join a couple of people I’ve met from the Happy Wanderers and some friends of theirs at another Carl Axon Gig, also in Kalyves. I really enjoyed the evening, danced and drank a lot of red wine! I’ve also been to see a band called The Vibes at Totem in Plaka and met with several different friends, early doors at Vangeli’s, including taking part in the music and trivia quiz which has resumed now that Vangeli’s has reopened.
Tomorrow (Monday) I have two birthday parties to attend! The first is a lunchtime meal at Marouvas in Vamos, for Judy who introduced me to the Happy Wanderers walks. The second is from 7pm, held at The Loft in Plaka and is a party to celebrate no less than three peoples’ birthdays! This party was originally planned at the end of March but everyone got Covid and so it had to be cancelled. The day after this party we are going to listen to the Vibes again, at Totem in Plaka.
My friend Ange arrives on Saturday for a 10 day holiday with me. It is at least 10 years since she last visited and I am looking forward to doing lots of interesting things with her while she is here. Then a few days after Ange leaves, I fly to the UK for a 16 day visit, staying in turn with each of my daughters and their families. I am really excited to be seeing my gorgeous grandchildren again.