Enjoying Wonderful Warm Sunny Weather This October

These past few weeks we have been enjoying some wonderful weather, especially for October and it is such a contrast to this time last year.  We had a really bad rainstorm in mid October which caused severe flooding on parts of Crete, but luckily not near me!  For the rest of the time it’s been lovely and warm with sunshine all day long!

Seashell Mosaic Painting

Sold in September – 30 x 40cms Seashell Mosaic Painting

I finished my summer selling season by mid October because there were not enough tourists around Almyrida by then.  I sold another 51 Seashell Mosaic Paintings during September and a further 19 in the 4 days I set up my stall in October.  Overall the results this summer have been totally unexpected and my stock now has never been so low!  I ran out of so many designs that have consistently sold well this season.  Even by reducing my selling days from 3 to 2 a week – I couldn’t make enough to meet demand!  I am quite thrilled that my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings are still so popular.

So since I stopped selling and producing so much I have been out and about lots, while the weather is so glorious and I have more time.  The two walking groups have resumed their walks and I’ve walked in Maza and Deliana Gorge with the Happy Wanderers and Argrioupoli with David’s group.

Deliana Gorge

On the Deliana Gorge walk with the Happy Wanderers

All the walks were wonderfully invigorating and so scenic.  After not much walking in the heat of the summer months, I have welcomed the additional exercise these walks afford.  As for the amazing views at every turn… well I just love this beautiful Island!  I wish there was more room for photos.  A walking day is really a whole day out.  We start early and end up with a late and very long lunch.  Every taverna is different and most do not actually have much in the way of a menu – especially out of season and in these ‘out of the way’ locations.   The hospitality is beyond measure and we are frequently gifted extra treats, whether in the form of food or alcohol.  We are so satisfied at the end of our meal that we do not need to eat at all for the rest of the day!  Mind you we are usually all heartily hungry after our walks!  I always have to take plenty of snacks to keep me going for the 4 or 5 hours that we are rambling.

Seiten Limania Beach Crete

Seitan Limania Beach

Last week I drove 3 of my friends to the other side of Akrotiri to see if we could access the ‘Glass Beach’ on foot.  This is quite an amazing little cove which is filled with sea-tumbled glass that my friends love to collect.  For 3 years we have been talking about hiring a boat to get there but with covid and other stuff going on, it’s been difficult to arrange.  I actually visited this beach with Matt in his speedboat back in 2014, yet Debbie looked on Google maps and reckoned we could drive so far and then walk down the cliff to the bottom.  When we arrived there it turned out to be another cove – a quite famous one called Seiten Limania Beach.  I couldn’t believe how many tourists were there and so many friendly goats came right up to us! Lisa, Debbie and Kathy didn’t seem bothered about climbing the long way down and then back up again – as neither did the majority of tourists there.  So we took some photos and then headed for nearby Stavros to spend the rest of the day there, collecting shells.

At Stavros

At a little beach in Stavros – with Debbie, Kathy and Lisa

Social events and dinners with friends have been a-plenty.  Penny and I had dinner in Plaka and she came with me to the ‘Libra’ Party that Neisha organized at Nikita’s in Almyrida.  That was a fun evening of all night dancing as there was a DJ, which made a pleasant change from a live band as the music was more varied.

Night out in Plaka

Night out with Penny

I enjoyed another lovely evening with my Norwegian friend Solveig, when we had cocktails at Happy Hour on the rooftop terrace of the Almyrida Residence Hotel, followed by an excellent – as always – meal at Thalami in Almyrida.

Lunch in Chania

Lunch in Chania with Solveig

We also spent a day in Chania when the weather was a bit iffy, having lunch there before wandering around the harbour front and shops.  I was again amazed at how busy Chania was for October and recently learned that the Greek Tourist Minister declared this the busiest October on record.

Halloween gig in Kalyves

At the Halloween gig in Kalyves with Lisa

On Friday night I went to a bar in Kalyves where ‘Island Beat’, ‘The Vibes’ and one or two other musicians rocked the ‘Halloween-themed’ night away.  It was packed and a great night out.  So too was Lawrence’s party on the Saturday, held at his charming villa in the gardens and around the poolside.  Although temperatures drop quite steeply now in the evenings – we all dressed up warmly and enjoyed the music constantly being played on Lawrence’s amazing dukebox!

Almyrida

Almyrida – A photo I took on Sunday morning during a power walk to clear my head after all the drinking I did at the weekend!

This wonderful weather is set to continue until the weekend with warm temperatures of 25 degrees and so we all plan to visit Falasarna for the day on Friday. It may well be the end of the summer on this first day of November… but it doesn’t feel like that to me, as I sit on my beautiful balcony overlooking the sea and writing up this post…

 

 

Making More Memories with Family & Friends This Summer

As predicted, August has been mega busy sales-wise and I sold 51 Seashell Mosaic Paintings from my beach stall and 3 more from the Gavalochori Gift Shop.  This is over double the sales I had for this period last year.  Demand has been so high for certain designs that I have not had the time to make more.

Greek Urn wit Plant Seashell Mosaic Painting

Popular again this summer – Greek Urn with plant – Seashell Mosaic Painting. I sold 3 of this design in August.

The weather overall this summer has been perfect compared to last year.  Not so many heatwaves and it has felt much ‘fresher’ thanks to the strong breezes.  Of these there have been plenty to cope with on my selling days!  Selling by the coast here does not come without its challenges, the biggest of them being the winds which often change direction and can arrive and disappear quite suddenly.  On some days I have had to reposition my car several times, to act as a windshield.  But I do not complain as these strong breezes keep me fresh and cool in the high temperatures.

Rick

At Elpis – not a great pic as Rick & I have our eyes closed. Clockwise with Rob, Jayne and Gill

At the start of September my dear friends Gill and Rick arrived with Rick’s brother Rob and his wife Jayne.  During the short week they were here I was lucky enough to spend two wonderful evenings with them, enjoying dinner at Elpis in Plaka.  Sadly I wasn’t able to join them on the beach during the day as I was busy preparing and organizing my work for the coming 2 weeks that Zoe, Rich and Arthur would be staying with me.  But those two nights were the best, enjoying such good food and wonderful company!

Arthur loves the beach!

Arthur loves the beach!

The first three days of Zoe and Rich’s holiday were spent on Almyrida’s various beaches and were especially wonderful with little Arthur, who has just turned three and absolutely adores the beach, like his Mum, Zoe!  We did a lot of paddling, exploring and building sandcastles.
As usual I set up my stall and sold on the Monday and in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Zoe and Rich got a taxi to the airport for their flight to Cyprus.  Zoe was chief bridesmaid for her best friend, Amy’s wedding and I was looking after Arthur for 4 days while they were away.

Arthur with Simon the Lifeguard

Arthur with Simon the Almyrida Lifeguard

So it was just my Grandson Arthur and me… and we had such fun!  We had three full beach days, eating lunch at Dimitri’s in Almyrida because there was a convenient children’s play area right on the sand next to the taverna.  But also it was near the lifeguard’s watchtower.  Simon – apart from saving a few lives (as witnessed by my friends Gill & Rick), has time for everyone including Arthur.  Simon made a big fuss of him, letting Arthur wear his lifeguard cap and whistle and after that, Arthur was in awe of him, bless!

Poolside at the Almyrida Bay Hotel & Resort

Poolside at the Almyrida Bay Hotel & Resort

On the Friday when Zoe and Rich were due back, Arthur and I were just about to leave for Chania airport at 1pm when Zoe called to say they had missed their flight!  Without going into all the details – Athens airport and Aegean Airlines were both at fault and in the end they didn’t make it back until the wee hours of Saturday morning.  This meant they had to endure hours and hours of waiting at Athens airport and the extra expense of a taxi back to mine.  Nobody I know has had a stress-free travel experience this summer… as airlines and airports don’t give a damn about any of their customers anymore…
Such is the world we live in right now…

At Elpis in Plaka

At Elpis in Plaka

There was no way Arthur and I were going to hang around my place all day, so we had a lovely afternoon at the large pool of the Almyrida Bay Hotel, where Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve stayed last year.  Considering it was a pool and not the beach, Arthur loved it there and was never out of the water!  And this is where we all spent the Saturday that Zoe and Rich returned.  The only downside was the fact that we couldn’t eat there, so we had lunch at Franscoise then returned to the pool afterwards.  That night we had booked a table at Elpis in Plaka, where there was live music on.  The food there is so good and Carl Axon entertained us well, as usual.  Rich left a little earlier to take Arthur back and put him to bed.

Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves

At Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves

The following day I drove them to the Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves.  Zoe and Rich had booked all inclusive to stay there for the last 4 days.  As I helped them to check into their family room, I was also given a wristband and therefore able to join them for dinner on Tuesday and lunch on Wednesday.  Both these days Arthur and I went for long walks on the beach there, collecting rocks and shells and anything interesting for our ‘treasure’.  We dug a hole and buried it, only to dig it all up again the next day!  The Kiani Beach Resort has much to offer families with small children but the all inclusive drinks leave a lot to be desired!  There was no bottled water – only tap water and the soft drinks were far too sickly and very sugary!  The alcohol was totally suspect – watered down and un-branded.  It is advisable to pay more for the VIP all inclusive upgrade, where at least the alcohol is drinkable!  Otherwise – the facilities, rooms, service and food were all really good value.

On Almyrida's far stony beach

With Zoe and Arthur on Almyrida’s far stony beach – disappointing weather on the last day.

I collected Zoe, Rich and Arthur from the hotel on their last day on Thursday morning after it had rained heavily and was cloudy and miserable.  Sadly our plans to spend their last day on Almyrida Beach were scuppered.  So we settled for a bite to eat at Franscoise followed by a long walk around Almyrida and then Plaka, where we stopped for a drink at Totem.  Back to mine to shower and change for a final dinner at the Italian Pizza restaurant in Almyrida, before leaving for Chania airport at 9pm.  Their flight was due to leave at 11.30pm and was on time but caused major problems by landing at a different airport!  As I mentioned earlier, travel is a complete farce nowadays and they didn’t arrive home until 7.30am UK time which is some 7 hours later than they should have!

Just Arthur & me on Almyrida's main beach

Just Arthur & me on Almyrida’s main beach

Travel-stress aside – Zoe, Rich and Arthur had a wonderful holiday and of course I had a wonderful time with them all too.  Yet again I have been so fortunate that all my family – all the grandchildren have come to Crete for their holidays again this year and made their Yiayia very happy indeed!

The next day I set up my stall to sell again – even though the weather was a bit iffy.  However, by the time the rain came at 12 noon, I had packed up after having already sold 7 of my Seashell Mosaic Paintings.  So far sales for September have been equally amazing and I intend to continue as long as the weather is good and the tourists are still here.

All of us after dinner at the Kiani Beach Resort

All of us after dinner at the Kiani Beach Resort

I have enjoyed a number of social events before and in between my family’s visit.  A couple that stand out are the charity gigs in Vamos Square and the Plakabury Charity festival which saw practically the whole of the village fill Plaka Square this last Wednesday evening.  We all danced so much and the atmosphere was amazing.  The bands – Three Little Birds and Phoenix were brilliant!  I think what makes these events so magical is that they are all in the open air and we are eating, drinking and dancing under the stars……
I’ve said it so many times before… I am so happy to be living here!

 

Having Lots of Fun Playing with the Grandchildren!

Emma, Ralph and Neve returned to the UK almost 2 weeks ago and I have been so busy with my art business that this is the first opportunity I have had to write a post about their stay with me.  We had a rather worrying start to the holiday with Neve being poorly and Emma unsure whether she was well enough to travel. Continue reading

Tourists Return to Almyrida and My Art is Selling Like Hot Cakes Again!

It’s been a busy month especially for selling my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings. I have still only been setting up my stall 2 days a week – usually on Mondays and Thursdays, yet I am already struggling to keep up with demand for several popular designs this year. I’ve spent all the free hours I have at home, creating more Mosaics to replace the ones I’ve sold. Continue reading

Ange & I Enjoy Walking The Imbros Gorge

I have had three good selling days so far this month but the weather was not good enough for a couple of days last week and disappointingly I only managed to sell on the Monday. Tomorrow will be my last day in May before I fly back to the UK for 16 days. The weather otherwise has been sunny and hot and for the first time in two years there are plenty of tourists – including British – around and about Almyrida and Plaka.
Continue reading

Now I Have Time for Everything Including Lots of Socialising!

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. Continue reading

Disappointing, Dull & Miserable Weather For October

For the rest of September the weather here on Crete was much more comfortable to live and work in. I did well from my beach stall and sold 29 Seashell Mosaic Paintings, the majority of which were the larger and more expensive designs, which surprised me! Last September there were virtually no tourists here so I couldn’t sell at all that month. Therefore this is indeed a good result and I am happy! Continue reading

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 Continue reading

Another Heatwave Way Too Hot to Work or Play in!

The post you are about to read was actually posted on 6th August, but the hosting company migrated 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! Continue reading

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