Crete anyone?

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by ChrisF, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. ChrisF

    ChrisF Read Only Funster

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    Anyone in Crete or Greece right now?

    I'm in the southwest corner of Crete enjoying the sun and the sea in my Hymer...
     
  2. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    You lucky person you.
    Try and get to Aghia Galini Southern Crete. We got married there 19 years ago and have been back several times since .
    Its hardly changed a bit. Which is unusual , mostly Dutch visit the place .
    Last time we went we noticed motorhomes parked up right by the sea in the harbour area . Theres a public loo and water tap down there. One road in , same road out.
     
  3. ChrisF

    ChrisF Read Only Funster

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    It was worth the trip

    I'm not far from Paleochora on a camping right by the sea.

    Here for two weeks before returning to UK


    My ultimate aim is to come here on a one-way ticket and one of the purposes of this trip is to see what full-timing is like in a van.


    It must have been a lovely experience to be married in Crete and very romantic too.
     
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  4. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

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    :Sad: I'm not there ..... but I wish I was... Tell us more please so we can all share it with you...
     
  5. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  6. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    Sounds great. Where did you get the ferry from?
     
  7. ChrisF

    ChrisF Read Only Funster

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    Crete in the autumn

    I first drove all the way to Greece in 2001 in a Rover 220. That was during the war in Yugoslavia the the Foreign Office were not advising travel through there due to the potential of being shot at.

    The alternative to avoid places such as Albania, was through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria into Greece.

    Bearing in mind that this is now a while ago, Romania and Bulgaria had not had the benefit of generous sums from the EC to develop their infrastructure so the roads were pretty dire. In fact we hit a huge pothole on the Sofia ring road and burst two tyres. Whilst waiting to be rescued, we were robbed, so spent much of the day at the police station whist the car was being repaired. Needless to say the perpetrator was not apprehended and I was only too glad to get into Greece.

    On that particular visit we went by ferry to Kythira but not to Crete. On a following visit, this time in a Smart, we went to Crete via Kythira and stayed a couple of weeks. The Germans on a camping on the return journey could not believe that anyone would be daft enough to travel from England to Crete in a two seater Smart.

    My next road trip to Crete was last year in my diesel Lupo. Accompanied by my nephew, who had just completed his degree and my two dogs, we drove from Dunkirk through Germany, Austria and Italy to Venice where we visited the city before catching the ferry to Patras. Leaving Patras we headed to Athens where we visited the Acropolis before catching the ferry to Crete (Souda Bay) from Piraeus (the port of Athens).

    It's quite a long journey by ferry to Patras: the dogs travelled in 'Dogs' Village'; kennels on deck, and we slept on the floor as I am too mean to pay for a cabin. We slept in the car in Piraeus whist waiting for Athens to 'open' and camped in Crete. From Piraeus, the ferry is another 8 or so hours depending on how late they arrive. Fortunately it arrives at 05:30 so you don't waste a day travelling. At one point during our stay in Crete the weather turned a little nasty with heavy seas, wind and rain and it became pretty miserable camping. My nephew returned to UK after 3 weeks in Crete and I took the car and the dogs, with a stop in Venice to see the vet and get the Pet Passport requirements attended to, back to UK via Switzerland, France etc.

    I was beginning to feel that I was getting too long in the tooth for this car and camping lark so looked for an alternative more befitting of a person not in their first flush of youth. So here I am on Motorhome Fun having purchased an elderly Hymer 550.

    Travelling with the dogs in a motorhome is much easier as it is a matter of parking up in a rest area. Also it is possible to travel Open Deck on Anek's Venice route meaning you do not have to leave the vehicle other than to use the facilities kindly provided on the car deck for your convenience. The whole thing is less stressful all round. Sadly there is no camping on board on the Crete ferry so the dogs either stay in the car or go on deck - the company don't seem to mind which and dogs are free with cages provided at the stern.

    I read, with great interest, Don's account of his stay in Crete in the early part of 2010. At that time of the year the island must be very quiet and I would certainly be happy to consider a similar venture in the fullness of time. Thanks Don for making such a careful note of all the 'facilities'.

    My ultimate plan is to leave UK and move to Crete. But as my pension is tied up in property: now is not a brilliant time either to sell UK property in order to maximise your return; nor to buy property in Crete due to the present economic/political/social climate, the motorhome seems the way to go. Minimal outlay, maximum flexibility without having to realise my UK assets. I could also cut-and-run if it all turns pear-shaped in Greece.
     
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  8. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    Wow:thumb:
     
  9. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    It looks like you'd find a way out even if they close the ports and shut the airport. You sound like a man who would duct tape the doors and paddle it home.

    Great read that, thanks.
     
  10. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    :notworthy: Wow and Wow again !
     
  11. camper

    camper Read Only Funster

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    Athens to Kalamata

    I lived and worked in Athens 79- 80 and I have many fond memories.Two of the best were a trip by road and the same trip by train to Kalamata.The roads were very dodgy and my Greek boss drove us in his Lada (which at the time meant nothing to me!)The edges of the road were very crumbly and hairpin bends the order of the day.I think the journey took about 8 hours but I just remeber smoking my way through a couple of packs of Karelia -they stank and burnt your throat -but that was part of the pleasure-the other part was the amazing scenery and I remember being highly amused to see a shepherd on horseback in the rain holding up an umbrella- somehow it didn't fit my image of the free-rolling weathered countryfolk I'd imagined.Oh and of course I was really shocked when my greek friend Laughed when we passed a level crossing where the Guard? was fast asleep in a chair by the track.
    The best trip though was the one on the train around Easter time when the spring flowers were blossoming in the mountains.I had no idea that Greece could be so green but that part apparently is famous for it.I'm sure the roads must have improved by now but I can't imagine driving a big hymer on those kind of tracks.
    And talking of road trips I came back home on the Magic Bus from Athens.Now that was entertainment.There was a special way of driving known only to coach drivers in Greece at that time.Basically you drove as fast as you could at all times and this was alright because virtually the whole of your windscreen was adorned with holy relics,beads,icons and mini-statues.There were two drivers on our bus and when we were coming through er,Belgium it might have been, the second driver insisted that the first driver who had driven all the way that far let him take over and I thought they were going to kill each other to say nothing of all the passengers!
    Happy days!
     
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  12. ChrisF

    ChrisF Read Only Funster

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    Great memories of Greek travel

    Camper, thanks for your most interesting post!

    My first trip to Greece was when I was about 19. We were on a family trip to a place called Tolon.

    My father rented part of a villa on the hillside just out of the town. Another family inhabited the other part of the accommodation. We arrived at Athens airport and travelled by bus to Tolon. Whilst waiting in the airport my father needed the toilet but didn't know the Greek for men and women. He cunningly decided to wait to see someone emerge from the facility before entering himself. Finally a woman came out of one toilet so my father surmised that the other toilet must therefore be the gents' - so off he went. To his surprise he found himself in the ladies for the woman who emerged from the other toilet was, in fact, the cleaner!

    The bus ride was pretty much as you describe with goats and chicken as well as the usual array of lights, stickers, religious emblems stuck, hanging or dangling from every in
    conceivable location.

    During our stay we hired a car. Not from a well-known hire company because that would be expensive! My father did some local research and together we set off the pick up the vehicle. It was an Opel Kadet which had seen better days but we took it to Athens anyhow. I dutifully locked up the car when we went on our visit to the Acropolis but, on our return, discovered that none of the keys actually opened any of the doors. So now we were stuck in Athens, not able to access our car or speak Greek! We could however get into the boot and found that by pushing on the seat back, it was possible to move it forward a little. My sister's sleek friend, who was with us, managed to squeeze into the car from the boot and, with a stick, flick up the door lock. So we set off for Tolon. Not knowing the way, I stopped the car to ask a policeman. It was rush hour in Athens so you can imagine what it was like. We were going the wrong way so the policeman simply stopped all the traffic to allow me to do a U turn in the centre of Athens!

    We named this car 'Heap of the Week' as the 'That's Life' series was very popular at the time. Closer inspection revealed that the rear shock absorber has detached from its mounting but had been considerately reattached by means of a Mole wrench which required periodic adjustment. The hand brake did not function, which was interesting as our villa was on a steep incline: we got round that by using a large stone to stop the car rolling away. On arriving at the villa, someone would leap out of the car, grab the rock and stuff it behind the wheel whilst the car was held on the foot brake. Easy when you know how!

    Another journey took us through the mountains to Sparta. It was night and the roads were under repair/being built. Our car's headlights were poorly adjusted and the beam was very depressed. Selecting main beam put the lights into the sky! Health and Safety being what it was in those days, and less so in Greece, large machines were abandoned in the roads without lights, barriers or signs. There were no markings or crash barriers so a trip into the valley below was not out of the question. There were five of us in this car and the road surface was loose. I had a cunning plan to let someone else pass and then follow them so that I could see in their lights and they would hit any unseen obstruction first. However, we had Greek number plates so it was assumed by the following cars that we knew where we were going so everyone dutifully followed us! My mother said 10 decades of the Rosary that night!

    Those were the days...Life was so much simpler then.
     
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  13. camper

    camper Read Only Funster

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    euphoria is a greek word

    Well done,ChrisF. Your stories capture thatatmosphere that seems to be peculiar to Greece.Even when things are going wrong there's a sense that you're lucky to be there and it'll all turn out alright.Maybe it's the music or the dancing or the sea,the sun, the mountains,the people,the wine but it all adds up to a wonderful light-headedness!
    You've inspired me so here's a bit more I'd like to add a little to my Kalamata episodes.
    When we stayed in Kalamata, we spent the night at my boss's villa or rather his half-built villa.There were no bedrooms so we had to sleep in the kitchen where there was a single bed and an old sofa.When we got back after a night's feasting he showed me the sleeping arrangements.I wasn't worried -the fine food and alcohol had induced my euphoria.I got myself comfy and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the cushion.Unfortunately minutes later I was awoken by one of the loudest noises known to man- my boss was in a trance letting out he most horrendous snore that lasted longer than the interval between.I tried the cushion over ear trick- pointless.I tried the "I'll stay awake all night- it's fine,I can take it method, I tried the synchronised if I snore at the same time I won't hear it method, the uncontrollable cough method, the drawn out groan.Somehow the night passed and we rose about eightish.My boss greeted me with a lovely Greek coffee "sketo" and a smiling "Did you sleep well?"Without thinking I tactlessly said"No.I couldn't sleep at all because I'm afraid you snored very loudly all night and I just couldn't get to sleep."He was very apologetic and I felt quite embarrassed that I'd mentioned it.He was a really nice guy and really looked after me while I was in Greece and I really did not wish to offend or upset him.
    The next day he arranged for me to sleep at his friend's apartment where I had an undisturbed night.The following day we returned to athens in the trusty lada and as always a conversation was struck up.I casually asked him if he'd had a good sleep the night I was at his friend's apartment and he said "No. I can never sleep if I'm alone alone at night."That sinking feeling I'd had the morning before started to announce itself.
    "I thought you'd sleep well with your villa to yourself."
    No no.If even when I sleep on the verandah at night (when it's really hot in Athens) people tell me I call out in the night.They say I shout "The Germans are coming!The Germans are coming!"
    Me- "Why do you say that?"
    "Well when I was a little boy we lived on an island (Sorry I can't remember which one!) .My mum and dad had a grocer's shop and onenight the germans came banging on the door.They took my mother and father away and left me there on my own.I had to live on my own and I was very frightened.I can't forget it but any time I have to sleep alone I have these nightmares.
    I was devastated.I said "I wish you'd told me.I would've stayed."
    "It doesn't matter.It's ok," he said.
    But of course I knew it wasn't!
     
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