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!

 

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

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

Missing Almyrida’s Tourists for the Second Year Running

How strange and sad it is to see everywhere so quiet and deserted for the second year in a row. Both Almyrida and Plaka would normally be buzzing at this time of the year, yet there are barely enough tourists to warrant all the restaurants and shops being open. Indeed everywhere is open but everywhere is almost deserted! 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

My Big Birthday Bash on Crete!

I am writing up this post on my wonderful balcony, on this cloudy day in November. We’ve just come out of a prolonged period of fine, sunny and warm weather and now we are getting rain and thunderstorms. But right now it is not raining and I can hear the sea and see the waves rolling onto the shoreline all around Almyrida Bay. Vasili’s sheep are in my garden below again and so I hear the tinkling of the ‘main’ sheep’s bell and the odd almost baby-sounding bleats coming from the little ones. They seem to lamb all year round on Crete. It must be our wonderful climate! Continue reading

Emma and Ash’s Wonderful Wedding on Crete!

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks that I shall cherish for always.  I have been happier than I ever could have imagined and it’s all because of Emma and Ash’s wonderful wedding! Prepare yourselves for an epic posting!

For me it started just over two weeks before the wedding when Emma, Ash and my gorgeous Grandson, Ralph arrived in Crete on Tuesday 17th May. From that moment on we were all in ‘wedding mode’… although I was in ‘Ralph mode’ for quite a lot of the time! Well what did you expect? After all, I am his doting Yaya – the Greek word for Gran or Nana. In all, I had over three weeks of blissful time, playing with and helping to look after Ralph. Continue reading

Now it’s all about Weddings!

I’m sitting on my windswept balcony, on the sofa while I write this. It’s the best spot on the balcony, giving more shelter in the corner from the wind. It’s really only the gusts that are sometimes a little scary but they can disappear as quickly as they arrived and now and again you get a little lull and all is calm for a time… before it returns in earnest and you never know what’s coming next! Continue reading

How I love to be a Tourist on Sundays!

Sales of my unique Seashell Mosaics and Collages have been truly mega in August. Reaching a record level again – I have been rushed off my feet work-wise! Among the poplular choices this year have been my little Greek Donkey and small Sailboat designs and, as always, the Baby Turtles Race for the sea. Continue reading