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!

 

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

Goodbye to the Good Weather for Weeks of Cold and Rain!

For several weeks it has been really cold and we’ve had rain almost every day. So this winter on Crete has been a real yoyo between hot and cold temperatures. It’s been difficult to plan anything, especially beachcombing and long walks. The price of petrol has rocketed here (as all over the world) and we are paying 2.10 Euros a litre at the pumps – the highest in Europe! Continue reading

Making the Most of the Warm Winter Sunshine

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! Continue reading

Enjoying Long Walks in the Beautiful Cretan Countryside

We all had a wonderful first day of beachcombing in Falasarna the first week in November. The weather was gorgeous and whilst Lisa, Debbie and I were hunting for shells and sea treasures – Ross actually went swimming and snorkeling. As usual we had a picnic on the beach and stayed until after sunset.. and what a beautiful sunset it was! 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

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