We are Nico and Marlies Wobben and in February 2008 we moved from the Netherlands to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is an RN at the General Hospital and I (Marlies) work from home, as an administrator at Canada Life and for my own web design business Feel The Fire. And we have 6 cats!

Wij zijn Nico en Marlies Wobben en in februari 2008 zijn we verhuisd van Nederland naar Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is verpleegkundige in het General Hospital en ik (Marlies) werk thuis als administrator bij Canada Life en voor mijn eigen web design bedrijf Feel The Fire. En we hebben 6 katten!
  • Regina
  • Amsterdam

Almirida, Last Pics, Flight Home

Hey peeps, we got home safe and sound! About the past few days:

Β» photo albums 2005/CRETE-SANTORINI

After our last internet cafe visit (24th), we got some pita gyros on the way back to the apartment. The rest of the night we sat on the balcony watching the ferry and other boats, lightning far away to the west and guiding the planes that come in – how will they manage when we’re gone?! πŸ˜‰

Sunday, September 25th – Almirida

I got to sleep early but had a restless night because of the migraine pains. Once I was up it was a bit better, we went to ApiCorno for our last American breakfast there. After that I didn’t feel well, went to bed for a while and the migraine slowly went away during the afternoon.

We went to Almirida for some last souvenir-shopping and want to have a drink and a bite to eat at Dunes, the bar that used to be Elena’s bar underneath the apartment we had last time. That bite (a hamburger and a olive and feta plate) turned out to be pretty huge! As a result we didn’t get very hungry anymore for the rest of the day.

After packing our suitcases as far as possible, I wanted to spend part of this last day reading on the balcony and around 9 we decided to go out after all. Not for dinner, but for drinks at ApiCorno. We always wanted that, but we’ve always been too full after dinner! Nico had some Mythos beers and, since the migraine was gone, I treated myself on a cocktail with Kahlua, vodka, Bailey’s and ice cream πŸ™‚ It was a nice ending of our vacation! We sat on the balcony for a while after that (what else).

Monday, September 26th – flight home

Time to go home. We had a great vacation, but we also wanted to go home again, back to our cat Robin and our normal things. We woke up earlier than planned, got up, said goodbye to Eleftheria and drove to the airport. After a good flight and shuttle bus ride, we got home shortly after 5pm. It was a happy reunion with Robin πŸ™‚

So all in all we had a great time in Kalives and at the Flisvos apartment (their car was great as well). And as much as we love Crete, one of the highlights was the trip to Santorini of course, a dream come true! With our Canada plans in the back of our heads, I don’t know if we’ll ever go back to Crete, but in the 4 x 3 weeks we’ve spent there (our honeymoon in ’96, vacation with Els and Maurice in ’98, both in Gournes, east of Heraklion, and on our own again in ’01 and ’05 in the west), we have made a lot of great memories there that we will take wherever we go πŸ™‚

Samaria Gorge (entrance), Chania, Almirida

Thanks for the anniversary and birthday wishes! Casper, 42 must’ve been a typo, what was I thinking.. I meant 21 πŸ˜‰

Β» photo albums 2005/CRETE-SANTORINI

Friday, September 23rd – Samaria

We had one “mountain” route still planned, and we went to the entrance of the Samaria gorge in the White Mountains. The drive was amazing, a lot of rough scenery, mountain goats and almost at the end the Omalos plateau on 1200m. The view from the entrance of the Samaria gorge (or rather, the taverna above it) is breathtaking, probably the most impressive mountain scenery I have seen on Crete. Looking down in that gorge made you see how high those White Mountains are. The temperature there was a lot cooler than at the coast, the wind was even chilly! Nico got cold… imagine! πŸ˜‰

The drive was pretty tiring and we both slept for a while when we got back to Kalives. For me unfortunately because a migraine came up, despite the fresh air. After some sleep it was a bit better and we went to Peperia for dinner, I wanted those stuffed peppers (with eight sorts of cheese) again πŸ™‚ We took kalamari (octopus rings) and courgette balls as starters and those peppers and pork chop for the main dish. Afterwards we got some halva, grapes and raki, and guess who had to drink all of that (with me having that migraine) πŸ˜‰

Saturday, September 24th – Chania

Despite the migraine I wanted to go out, figuring fresh air is always good, plus we wanted to go to Roka again and today was our last possibility. So after breakfast we drove to Chania, I went to Roka while Nico took pics of some streets and the market hall. At Roka we discussed our order for the pillow with Anja, who plans to catch up with things in the winter, so we won’t have to wait another four years πŸ˜‰ We also discussed the website I want to make for them and Nico took a lot of pics at the shop. Unfortunately we just missed Mihalis, so we didn’t see him at all this time. We also walked around looking for some souvenirs and I bought some ceramics from my dad’s birthday money.

Back in Kalives we slept/read for a while and when I was feeling a bit better again we popped in at the internet cafe. This will probably be the last update while we’re on Crete, I’ll post a last one when we’re back home! It’s been a great vacation, but we’re also looking forward to go home to Robin again πŸ™‚

Wedding Anniversary On Santorini – Birthday With Margret & Carel

Β» photo albums 2005/CRETE-SANTORINI

Tuesday, September 20th – 1 day cruise to Santorini

On our ninth wedding anniversary we got up at 5.15am to go to Santorini. We drove to the port of Rethymnon, but to the wrong part at first and had some trouble finding the way to where our boat was, through the small one-way alleys of the old town, but luckily we got there in time. When we were on the boat we were immediately directed to the restaurant for a big and complete breakfast buffet. After that we went on the open deck to enjoy the breeze. At 9.30 there was a Dutch meeting about Santorini and the excursion you could book for 20 Euro to Phyrgos, Ia and Fira. We bought a little book about Santorini and the rest of the boat trip we stayed on the deck. At 11.30 we all had to go to the theater where the entrance/exit was. We missed the view of sailing into the circle of (volcanic) islands that make Santorini (no windows there), but we got to see that (in a much better light anyway) when we left again. It was too full in the theater and we had to wait over half an hour before we were actually ready to leave the boat, in Althinios

But then the view on the cliffs alone was already impressive and by bus we went up on steep roads and the view over all the islands and the caldera (the water in between) was overwhelming, just like on the postcards. Robby was a fun guy and a pleasant guide.

We drove to Phyrgos, where we, busloads of tourists, were let loose for 45 minutes in the small alleys of the medieval centre. One very old woman was urging people to take pics of her (she was in black, but wearing a Santorini baseball cap, geez) and then expected to get payed.

Then we drove to Ia on the north end of the island in half an hour, with constant great views and Robby telling us a lot about the island and the several colors of different volcanic layers.

Ia’s the town where most of the postcard pics are being taken. Houses carved out of the cliffs, one roof is the “upstairs” neighbour’s terrace, and many tiny, private churches (everybody wanted to be closer to god then the next guy). Most of it is painted in white or bright colors like yellow, pink or terra and can be reached by small, irregular paths or rather, staircases. In the scorching heat (Robby guessed 36 degrees) Nico and I went down on one staircase, found one that went up again a bit further and followed that up again. I already needed water, so I was in agony climbing all the way back up again! Back on the main path, Nico got me a huuuuge bottle of water – must’ve been the nicest wedding anniversary present he ever gave me! πŸ™‚ That main path was very romantic with lots of artistic and souvenir shops, but we didn’t have time to look around a lot. We needed the good hour to walk and find as many postcard views as possible to take pics of πŸ˜‰

After a short drive we got to Fira where we had also little over an hour. Lots of shops there, esp. jewelers, but we walked to the cable car and sat in a taverna for a bit (tuna sandwich for Nico and baklava for me, mmmmm!!) with a view over all of Santorini. Lots of postcard views in Fira as well! This whole trip is a mass tourism hasty job (which was to be expected of course) and there’s hardly time to take it all in and truly enjoy. We took a bit of that time in Fira though and I think we’ll enjoy it more thoroughly when looking at all the pics afterwards! Then we went to the cable car and the line had gotten so long that I was scared we wouldn’t get back to the boat in time! The other option of 600 big steps down wasn’t an alternative time wise, but luckily the line for the cable car moved pretty fast and we got down in time. Little boats took us back to the Golden Prince and we had some more awesome views while sailing out in the evening sun.

Our turn to get some dinner was close to 8. The buffet was OK, but no drinks were included, not even water or a soft drink. That sucked, but the food we took was OK. After dinner we got something to drink and spent the rest of the trip on the open deck in the back in the warm evening air. When we got back to Rethymnon again, we looked at all the pretty lights of the town and waited as long as possible to go down into the theater for the exit. We were dirty (sweating all day in 36 degrees, salty sea air) and tired. It was way too short, too touristic and hasty, but we got to see some impressive and unique views and that’s what it was all about in the end, of course. And the pictures will give us pleasure for a long time to come! It would be better to visit Santorini for a few days, but it’s expensive to stay there and I don’t want to think of having to walk all those steps and stairs all the time πŸ˜‰ It was still a wonderful day to spend your wedding anniversary!

Wednesday, September 21st – meeting Margret and Carel in Bali

First thing we did after sleeping was taking our showers! We were too tired to do that when we got back late (11.30pm I think). It was a bit cooler today and because it was my (42nd) birthday I wanted to have pancakes, so we went to ApiCorno for breakfast.

Then we drove to Bali to meet with Margret and Carel (I know Margret from a Canada forum), who were staying in Chersonissos (and Bali is kind of in the middle). We noticed that the harbour was a half an hour walk from the bus stop on the new road, so around 2 we drove to the main road to see if they got off the bus we had just seen. We didn’t know what they looked like, so we had to see if someone recognized us, hehe! It worked and we did find them! Just the two of them, Carel’s mom stayed in Chersonissos. We took them back to the harbour, where we sat on a terrace overviewing the bay and we drank, chatted and laughed for hours! We had great fun together and decided to have dinner in Bali as well. For that we went to the beach tavernas closer to the new road. We left around 8pm after a very very fun day with great company – I could not have spent my birthday in a better way!

Thursday, September 22nd – Chania, Kalives

Slowly we start to think about what we want to do in the last days. I hope we have a chance to go to Omalos for a last drive through the mountains, but it will depend on the weather (it seems to be changing). We dropped Gramvousa from the plans, but I think we’ll be spending some more time in Chania.

Nico went there today, but I didn’t want to walk around a lot, Santorini was a bit too much for my back so it’s bothering me a bit.

When Nico got back from Chania, we couldn’t really decide what to do for dinner. In the last minute we went to the supermarket after a sudden craving for spaghetti carbonara and after we’re done here at the internet cafe, we’re going to make it ourselves in the apartment. Yummy!

Imbros Gorge, Chania, Plans For Santorini!!

Β» photo albums 2005/CRETE-SANTORINI


Friday, September 16th – Chania (part 2)

After spending some time in an internet cafe we walked around in the old centre, also away from the touristic part, old alleys where you can really go back in time and vision people walking around or riding around with carriages and horses or something. Nico was so sorry he didn’t bring his camera and he said next time he’d say he’s not taking his camera I just have to hit him on the head with one πŸ˜‰ We had a great spaghetti at a taverna called “the Park” (the same place where we went online earlier BTW) and some frappes at Avalon. At night we went for dinner to Mathos for the first time, it’s close to Akrogiali. The stray cats there were loudly begging for food and fighting to get it. We don’t want to know about all the hardships these cats go through to survive, looking at their wounds and scars is hard enough.

Saturday, September 17th – Imbros gorge

After breakfast Nico drove to the Imbros gorge on his own, while I stayed at “home” to wash a few things, read and play around on the laptop. My back is doing fairly OK when just walking to town or walking around somewhere, but I wouldn’t dare to walk a 8 km gorge. I would’ve liked to go with him for the ride, but then I’d have to wait for many hours pretty much in the middle of nowhere to wait until he finished his walk through the gorge, had a rest after that and got back to the start point of his walk by bus or taxi. Of course it would’ve made sense if I had a driver’s license, then I could’ve met him at the end. I preferred to enjoy myself at the apartment, which is much more luxurious than a standard Cretan taverna chair πŸ˜‰

Nico phoned from the Imbros gorge when he had a connection, saying it was pretty hard, lots of (loose) stones, and he was exhausted, but probably almost there. In total it took him 3 hours to walk the gorge, including a few short rests. He was able to share a “cab” (pick up truck) with others back to the entrance of the Imbros gorge and he got back to Kalives a bit after 5pm. Exhausted, with a sore body and some blisters, but damn proud and with a bunch of cool pictures πŸ™‚

Of course Nico didn’t want to walk anywhere this night, so we drove to the center to find out about tickets to Santorini and to buy a few pita gyros to eat at the apartment. But then Nico decided to have dinner there anyway and we sat down at a simple taverna (don’t even know the name) next to ApiCorno. We hadn’t been there yet, but the food was good, the meat of my big chicken souvlaki was very juicy and Nico had swordfish.

Sunday, September 18th – Chania

Of course Nico was sore pretty much everywhere, so I asked where do you want to go today? I already knew the answer: Chania πŸ™‚ See, I told you that would happen! Once you’ve been there… We even had breakfast there at the old harbour, which was very nice (we were extremely hungry by then and the breeze was nice), then we walked to the Turkish mosque and around the corner to the actual harbour, we went to the end of it and then back through the Kasteli neighbourhood. After some hours at the Avalon terrace we had something to eat at “home” and had a nap. After that we didn’t get hungry again, so we sat on the balcony all night.

Monday, September 19th – Kalives

Tomorrow we want to go on a day trip to Santorini! A romantic detail is that it’s our ninth wedding anniversary πŸ™‚ We just checked the weather forecast and it seems all OK for tomorrow, so we purchased the tickets. 70 Euro each, but I’m sure it’s going to be awesome to see those postcard pictures for ourselves. The boat takes three to three and a half hours, leaves at 7am and includes breakfast and dinner buffets on the boat. We’ll have the option to do excursions on the island and we’ll be back in Rethymnon around 10pm I believe.

Tonight Victor visited us again and he treated us on a dinner at Akrogiali πŸ™‚

So tomorrow it’s Santorini and the next day, my birthday, we plan to meet some people in Bali. See you again in a few days!

Lake Kournas, Chania, Aptera, Thunderstorm

Β» photo albums 2005/CRETE-SANTORINI

Hi! We’re in Chania now, time to update the web log! We’ve been to a.o. Lake Kournas and last night we saw some good Mediterranean rain, thunder and lightning!

Tuesday, September 13th – Lake Kournas

We didn’t feel like another bread breakfast and went to ApiCorno again for an American breakfast (I had pancakes with maple syrup this time).

After that we drove to Lake Kournas, a beautiful little lake not far from Georgioupolis. The scenery and atmosphere are very special and we always enjoy swimming in the (shallow part) of the crystal clear water (not salty for a change heh), relaxing on the sunbeds underneath the small trees, exploring the lake on a peddle boat and drinking or eating at the Korissia taverna at the shore. We spent all afternoon there and after peddling for an hour we worked up such an appetite that we had an early big meal and didn’t go out for anything anymore in the evening.

Wednesday, September 14th – Chania

I don’t know why, but I was still so tired in the morning, had a little nap after breakfast and got “disturbed” by Eleftheria who wanted to clean and change the bed and towels again. That was my cue to jump up and get going – we wanted to go to our beloved Chania today. Finally! Why not earlier if we love the town so much, you may think? We dreaded it, because we knew once we’d go there, we wouldn’t want to go anywhere else anymore πŸ˜‰

But no more postponing, today we finally went to the old harbour, parked our car next to the old moat, noticed there were several of the old houses on top of the Venetian wall gone like Tony Fennymore said would happen four years ago, we walked to the sea, passed the “hand” monument and went around the corner to enter the harbour itself. Beautiful as ever! We strolled along the shore and were approached by lots of taverna employees to sit and have a drink or food at their taverna. But we went to “our” old place again, the rock and metal bar Avalon that used to be Dionysos back in 2001. The bar didn’t change much though, so we sat there, had a couple of frappes, watched the people go by, enjoyed the view and the music and met a few interesting people. Steve from the States, who worked on a boat that was in the Souda bay right now, after some beers he already invited us to come to South Carolina where he would show us around in the mountains and go fishing. That was of course very generous, but I don’t know if that would ever happen since he’s on the sea 300 out of 365 days of the year. We were joined by another American who had retired from the air force some months ago. It turned out he had been stationed in Brunssum (which is next to our hometown Heerlen) for a while! Small world πŸ˜‰

After a while we left to stroll through the small alleys behind the harbour, the place where the true beauty of Chania lies. Those small old picturesque alleys with all their colours, shops, tavernas and old Venetian/Turkish buildings are just the most gorgeous ones you could possible imagine. Like we have said before, Chania is the most beautiful city we’ve ever seen – at least this old part of it.

We looked up the nicest store in town, Roka Carpets, where Mihalis and his wife Anja weave traditional things from carpets to rucksacks in 100% authentic Cretan style with Cretan wool, dyed with natural means and using Cretan colors (lots of red) and patterns. We spent a lot of time there in 2001 and even planned to make a little website for them, but I never got around to do that. We walked around in the store and I said to Anja that we had been there four years earlier but it was still all beautiful. She looked at me and said, I remember, you’re the web designer, right? I was floored – she remembered us??? So yeah, she did!

She explained the shop had been closed for the most part for a few years because they had a second son and taking care of the family took up a lot of their time. This summer they re-opened again and now she’s working hard on all the orders they still have, 4 big books by now! No wonder we hadn’t heard anything in that time.. we’re still in one of the books πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I said I would still do a site for them (which won’t be a lot of work once it’s done, they don’t want to sell through the site). We sat there, drank frappe (again LOL) and chatted for a while, then went back to Kalives around 6. We went by the supermarket, ate a bit at the apartment, showered and went to Provlita for a late meal. Not long after that we went to sleep, tired of doing nothing all day basically πŸ˜‰

Thursday, September 15th – Aptera, thunder in Kalives

We slept pretty good and luckily I woke up refreshed again, unlike the day before. Today rain and thunder was expected, but the day still started very hot.

We thought we’d better not go far, so we tried some small roads behind Kalives, went to Aptera (old ruins on a high hill from where you have magnificent views – but the battery of the camera died), had something to drink at a taverna and drove through Neo Chorio and Armeni back to Kalives. Nico was restless and went for a stroll through town, I sat on the balcony with the laptop πŸ™‚

Slowly the clouds moved in and got darker and darker, close to 6 the thunder and rain started. We could see it on both sides first, then it came closer until it was pouring heavily in Kalives. It lasted almost two hours I think and the air was heavily smelling like wild thyme. We saw the thunder slowly move away from land onto the sea. A great light show!

We went for dinner at Peperia at the west beach, Nico’s mixed grill and my stuffed peppers (with 8 different sorts of cheese) were delicious! It was dark, but the outside area looked very nice too, right at the beach, so we’ll have to go back again soon, when it’s still light. Afterwards we sat on the balcony and watched the continuing light show until close to 1am.

Friday, September 16th – Chania

Each time that one of us would wake up in the night, the light show was still there. In the morning we had some new rain and thunder, but towards noon it got a bit better. Still clouded for the most part, but we decided to go to Chania again. And here we are!

Plans so far: chilling in Chania for today, tomorrow Nico wants to walk the Imbros gorge and we’re looking into excursions to Santorini! Talk to you guys soon!

Georgioupolis, Kalathas Beach, Paleochora

Β» photo albums 2005/CRETE-SANTORINI

Hey everyone,

we’ve been driving around, swimming and even took a trip through the beautiful mountains to the south coast! Read on…

Thursday, September 8th – Kalives (part 2)

An hour after we were at the internet cafe, we drove to Plaka to have dinner at Harokopos. It was good to see Fo-Fo again and their chicken in tomato sauce and moussaka were delicious. We ended the night at our balcony, even in the dark there is a view (lights on Akrotiri and of Kalives and Plaka on the other side, boats, landing airplanes) and the sound of the sea.

Friday, September 9th – Georgioupolis

Today we drove to Georgioupolis over the old road, through Armeni (where we stopped and took some pics in the center of the town) and Vrysses. First we spent a bit of time at the big beach east of Georgioupolis where we walked through the water a bit and ended up getting half our clothes wet anyway because the waves were so strong LOL (strong wind, rough sea, red flag). We then drove to the town, walked around looking at the harbour, the river and the shops, enjoyed a frappe on the comfortable terrace of Blue Moon, and had a tasty gyros pita before we left. We took another route back, through Vamos and made pics of some great views!

Tonight we saw our friend Victor (from Chania) again after four and a half years. He came to Kalives and we had a long dinner at Akrogiali, good times!

Saturday, September 10th – Kalathas beach

Instead of buying bread and having breakfast on the balcony, we went to a sea-side bar (ApiCorno) to have an American breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, toast, coffee, juice and water: not to compete with a Canadian breakfast at Stan’s Diner, but as close as possible and delicious nonetheless πŸ™‚

We wanted to explore a part of Akrotiri we hadn’t seen yet (west side) and hoped to find a place to swim as well. First we drove to Agios Onufrios, which is situated at a small bay that would be totally idyllic if it weren’t for a big ship, a dock and a too filthy little beach. The little taverna with sunbeds couldn’t make that right and we didn’t stay. Next was Kalathas and that was a whole different story. We found a beautiful beach with tavernas, sunbeds, people playing beach volley and a small island about 100m from the shore you could swim to. We folded out our big beach towels at the end of the beach and enjoyed the crystal clear water, sun, scenery and our books for a bit. Nico even dared to swim to the island.

After a few hours we drove back, took a wrong turn near Chania and ended up driving around in the outskirts of the town, but eventually found our way out again. We didn’t have lunch or an afternoon snack yet and Nico craved the chicken wings of some fast food place in Kalives (Simon’s) so we had a full meal there before returning to the apartment. After a good shower (why can’t they put a bit less salt in the sea? πŸ˜‰ ) we decided to relax on the balcony for the night and after some more reading Nico went to get some pita gyros and bread instead of us going out for dinner. I’m finally into my Lord Of The Rings story again (3rd and last part) and I should really make more time to read when I’m back home, I missed it.

Sunday, September 11th – Paleochora

It’s a bit hazy, but we decided it was about time for a trip to the south coast anyway. We went to Paleochora, the road to get there was good and we passed many small villages and awesome mountain views. Many parts were very green and towards the south there were a lot of trees of all sorts. Often the road would lead through many big olive trees on the slopes, beautiful! Paleochora was smaller than I thought, but nicely situated on a small peninsula sticking out into the Lybian sea. You could look back on the majestic coast, for the most part the mountains just drop into the sea there. East of town was a promenade and a rocky shore, at the west side was a huge beach, making this town the most touristic one at the south coast. The town itself had some nice alleys with kafenions, shops and (just a few as far as we’ve seen) tavernas.

On our way back we strayed from the main road to follow a sign to a taverna 100m down the road: underneath big trees, next to a creek (talking about an un-Cretan scenery!) we enjoyed some good frappes and a Greek salad. Truly a heavenly spot! That was still in Plemeniana so we still had most of the way back ahead of us. When we got back to Kalives we rested a bit and went to dinner at Provlita again: Mythos beer, sausages and beef stew for Nico and white wine, saganaki (fried cheese) and pork souvlaki for me. I still had trouble finishing my half liter of wine, when they came with the free desserts: grapes, cake and raki! Wow, finally our first raki, it was about time haha! I only had one shot after all that wine, Nico managed to drink the rest, which were five more shots I believe!

Monday, September 12th – Kalives

Needless to say we slept like a log πŸ˜‰ Although we never seem to find the best balance between keeping our doors open at night and using the airco. The natural breeze is much nicer, but at 1 I woke up because it was too hot (no wind) and I heard a mosquito for the first time. We closed everything and turned the airco on, but you’ll constantly feel cold air circulating – not healthy to sleep in that cold stream, but we didn’t have much choice. At 6 we woke up and you could feel that the muscles had cooled off a bit too much. Nico always wakes up with back pains in other beds, but it was worse now. As often he sat on the balcony for a while to relax the muscles in his back again, and then came back to bed for some more sleep. This day we watched the Souda bay wake up together (which is no punishment at all!)

After a lazy day we’re in the internet cafe now and plan to go eat in the east end of town, where the most taverna’s are, but it’s a bit further from our apartment. We’ll have to hang out a bit longer at one of the bars to let our food digest a bit before we walk back πŸ˜‰

First Days Back On Crete! (Kalives, Kolimbari, Rodopou)

Β» photo albums 2005/CRETE-SANTORINI

We’re back on Cretan soil and enjoying the beautiful view from our balcony! We had a good flight and here is the report of the first few days:

Monday, September 5th – Kalives

For us the vacation started on Sunday the 4th, because Nico had to work late shift on Sunday and we would be picked up at 3.30am – we didn’t go to bed at all, so it was more Sunday night late than Monday morning to us. The shuttle bus took us to Brussels in little over an hour, we could check in very early and had plenty of time to walk around and have a drink. Too much time actually, because when it was boarding time, it turned out that the plane had too much kerosine and some of it had to be pumped out, which took about an hour. I had a hard time keeping my eyes open, while we were waiting! With that hour delay we finally left Brussel around 8 o’clock and had a pleasant flight to Chania-airport, where we arrived at 12.20pm. Someone from Flisvos cars was waiting for us and drove us to Kalives in our “own” rental – that was nice, we could chat and focus on taking in the scenery again instead of trying to figure out what the route to Kalives was again. He brought us to the apartment and guess what, we don’t have one of the bottom studios but one of the apartments on the 2nd floor! We rushed to the balcony to check the view and even though it looked exactly like the pictures, it truly took our breath away for a moment! The sea is (for Kalives) very rough today (usually it’s very quiet) so that’s great to see as well. The sound of the waves is already great, but now there’s a thunderous sound as well when they break on the rocks. The view is wider than what we had in Almirida the last time, and we’re directly at the sea side, only a small road and some rocks away (10m maybe).

We laid down for a bit but couldn’t sleep, even though the only sleep I had was maybe 5 minutes on the airport and 10 on the plane. An hour later the owner Manolis came by to say hello and later on we walked to the center of Kalives where we had our first frappe and a Greek salad, hmmmmm:) There are several sea-side restaurants even before the plaza in the center and that’s not far, just a few minutes walk. We bought a few groceries and went back to the apartment to chill (read: sleep for Nico and writing this on the balcony-with-the-amazing-view for me). Around 7 we went to the office at the other side of town to pay for the car and apartment. We thought we could pay with the creditcard but for the apartments they prefered cash, because they had to give it to someone else. Luckily Nico got most of it from the bank machine, the rest we payed with our card.

Since we were already in the centre, we decided to go eat already. We picked Akrogiali where the rocky shore ends and the beach starts. They had some tables that were not behind the plastic wind screens, so we sat there and ordered the white housewine for me, a Mythos beer for Nico, pikilia (mixed starters plate) to share and both a chicken souvlaki – just like the first night in Almirida πŸ™‚ And it was delicious!! Hands down the best Greek meal we ever had! When the sun set and we watched some planes land on Akrotiri across the bay and a few ships (one ferry) leave, all the memories of having dinners in Almirida came back and it slowly sank in we are back πŸ™‚ After a while we went back to the apartment, sat on the balcony for a little bit, but went to bed early for a good night sleep.

Tuesday, September 6th – Drapanos

We were up fairly early and the sun had just gone up above the Drapanos peninsula on the right. What a view! We had breakfast on the balcony and went for a drive to Almirida, Plaka and Kambia, to see how that had changed. It was so cool to see it back! There were a lot of new houses and apartments and Almirida had become a lot more touristic. One big hotel that we saw and several more tavernas and shops. Almira apartments look totally different too, but the terrace was more a bar now and looked cool! We walked around and said hi to Sofia at the Flisvos office there, she was the one I had been emailing with. In the afternoon we went back to Kalives for groceries and siesta time. We stretched that siesta time out to around 8. We went to the closest taverna for dinner, Provlita. Ok, this maybe was the best meal ever. Fried zucchini, bekri meze (spicy pork in tomato sauce with carrots and pepper, on fries) and pork souvlaki. There were several stray cats there, we always love that. They didn’t get a lot from us though, the meal was too good. Afterwards we got a brandy (I think it was) and a slice of cake from the house πŸ™‚ After a stroll along the shore we sat on the balcony a bit before going to bed.

Wednesday, September 7th – Kolimbari, Rodopou peninsula

After breakfast we showered and Nico flooded half the place πŸ˜‰ The bathroom is very small and apparently the level isn’t right, the water easily flows into the bedroom. I needed several towels to stop it, but it turned out there is so much pressure on the water that you don’t have to open the tap all the way (like at home) to get enough. So I tried that with my shower and it was fine, less flooding and one towel will do πŸ™‚ The rest of the apartment is beautiful BTW. The entrance is on the gallery at the street side, you enter in the kitchen with a small kitchenette, a big table and sofa (extra beds). The second room is the bedroom, also tastefully decorated with blue furniture. There is that small bathroom and the double doors open to the balcony with the most gorgeous view you could possibly imagine.

Around noon our ex-neighbours Toon and Mia from back home paid us a visit! They have been going to Crete each year for probably around twenty years. The first two times we were on Crete, we went to the same place they always go, Kritzas Beach in Gournes. Each time they make a two or three day trip to the west part and so they came by with their friends Leny and Kees and we went to Provlita for frappe.

After they had left again we decided to go for a drive to the Rodopou peninsula. We took the new road all the way to Kolimbari, walked around the harbour and sat down at a beautiful terrace with comfortable chairs, had a salad, spaghetti and frappes and just relaxed for a while overlooking the sea and the beach. Then we drove onto the Rodopou peninsula, through the villages Rodopos and Afrata and we drove back to Kolimbari along the coast (with gorgeous views). Over the old road, through the villages, we drove back to Chania. Esp. Platanias and Agia Marina are so touristic, it was a colorful mix of tavernas and shops and totally crowded. Pffff wouldn’t want to spend my vacation there. When we got back to Kalives, I was so tired, but after a few hours we went out for dinner anyway. We went to a taverna at the beach west of town (closeby for us), but I didn’t like it there too much. It was more classy, there was a Greek band soundchecking for a gig later on that night and it just wasn’t our thing really. But the food was good, and Nico said his pork with garlic and peppers was the best meal so far. Honestly.

Thursday, September 8th – Kalives

We went to sleep fairly early, but the night was a bit restless. Despite the airco (that I didn’t dare to turn on too hard) it was hot and we decided to try to just open the doors as well as the window on the street side, since we hadn’t seen any mosquitoes yet (I have no clue where they are, but I’m happy!) and that was very pleasant πŸ™‚ We woke up early, sat outside a bit, were too tired still and laid down again… zzzzzzz! Ah, that’s vacation πŸ™‚

So this will be a lazy day again, and time to go to the internet cafe in town. Before spending some time there, we walked to the other side of the village, up the hill above the beach where a lot of apartment buildings are. We got some awesome views on the whole village and coast. The crowded and pretty touristic town beach with several tavernas and bars, the rocky shore where our apartment is, and even a little bit of the west beach. Postcard pics! We walked down to the beach and first to the right to the little harbour, then followed the beach back to town. Had frappes and a salad at Manolis, but the frappes were not strong and cold enough. We also sat on a bench on the beach for a while, and now we are at the internet cafe (like most shops it was closed in the afternoon until 5.30pm).

Our apartment: find the dark spot at about two-third of the rocky shore… that’s the huge Bougainvillea bush at the side of the complex!

Crete, Here We Come Again!

It’s finally almost vacation time!! Tomorrow (early) morning we fly to Chania, Crete!

The last time we went to Crete was in 2001. We went to the west part for the first time and we loved it. This year, our 4th time Crete, we want to go back to the same area but not the same town. We knew Almirida had changed, we heard some big hotels have conquered the small fishertown, and we wanted a new town to explore (taverna’s etc). We chose Kalives, it’s a lot bigger and a real Greek town, not just a tourist invention. We fell for Flisvos apartmentsΒ which are in the least touristic part of the village right at the sea shore, but not the beach. Sounds perfect for us!