Food in Crete

Today I went food shopping.  Now this is not something particularly unusual or spectacular but it did make me think of Crete.

When I am in Crete and I go to the market, pass a greengrocer’s, am in a supermarket, one of the things I cannot help myself comment on, even when I am alone! is the quality and freshness of the food.  Today in a supermarket I saw several foods that had mould on, had gone off etc.  The store had also run out of aubergine which is something I cannot imagine happening anywhere in Greece!

The other thing I notice in Crete is that there is so much more fresh food available and so much less processed foods.  I am hoping and expecting to eat more local, fresh produce when I live there than I do here in the UK.

This is a short entry but I find the contrast so vast that I wanted to comment.

Next trip!

So I am planning my next trip!  This time I am going later in the year so I can see what Crete is like outside of the main season.  As the hotel I usually stay in is closed I am having to look up hotels for the first time in years.  It’s surprisingly hard even though I know the town well.

There are also no direct flights so I am being “forced” to spend a few days in Athens! I could get connecting flights but I want to go to the Parthenon again!

I was looking forward to seeing Chania airport as I hear the refurbishment is nearly finished but it looks like the best flight are going to be into Heraklion.  Oh well, I’ll have to see it next time!

What I am looking forward to is seeing Rethymno as a “real” town with few tourists and mainly people who actually live there.  I am also hoping to be able to socialise with the friends who are usually working in the hotel when I am there in the summer.

I know some of my friends socialise in the cafes and restaurants along the sea front and I am looking forward to mingling with local people.  Mind you, I’d better go and learn a lot more Greek before I go!

See you soon.

Websites to help my Crete “home” sickness

When I am feeling blue about being away from Crete I have a few ways to make myself feel better.

  1. I look up flights, hotels, car hire and basically “plan” my next trip even if I don’t know if I can get holiday from work or afford it!
  2. I will look up the photos I have taken in the past.  Unfortunately there are not many of these as I tend to want to enjoy the moment rather than photograph it and also I am a terrible photographer!
  3. I will go to the groups I belong to on Facebook as there are usually good pictures and stores that remind me of Crete.
  4. I will write here as it helps me focus and sometimes it takes my mind off my blues.
  5. I also know of many websites with pictures,tips, local information about Crete.

One of my favourites and one of the reasons for writing here tonight is west-crete.com.  It has a “photo of the day” and a large archive of beautiful photos that I can return to as often a I want and I use them to return to Crete for a little while, if only in my mind.  I am extremely jealous of the owner of the site as he lives in Crete, is a good photographer and knows Crete in a way I probably never will.  I will find my own Crete and will know it well but it will be a different Crete to his.

Must go, I have pictures to look at!

I want to move to Crete!

So my life is going well in the UK, I’m not essentially unhappy but I want to move to Crete!  I find myself looking at websites about Crete, flights to Crete,places to stay in Crete etc, etc.  I am currently going through a phase of looking at places to rent in Crete.  I work in property in the UK and am spending my free time looking at property pages on the internet!

I am mainly concentrating on Rethymno and surrounding areas and there are some great places and not too expensive.   At the moment moving out permanently is not really an option so I am thinking of renting somewhere as a base so I can go more often without worrying about hotels and I can leave some clothes there and save on baggage for the flights.  I am thinking that I would like to live in a residential area rather than a tourist area as I want to be able to stay there at any time of year instead of only during the summer months.

I am aware there are no direct flights out of season so I am also looking at flights during the autumn and winter and tying to decide,if I can get the time off work, whether to have a few days in Athens on my way!

Life is tough some times, all these terrible decisions!

Till next time.

New business

So, I have decided the only way I can move to my favourite place on earth is to start my own business. I sell property in the UK and have made contact with several agents and developers in Crete so I shall be providing a service where people come to me to find the right property for them.

I am hoping to be able to be able to source hotels, car hire, solicitors, accountants as well so my customers get a full service and I will only refer them to reputable people.

I am aware of some of the pitfalls and I am sure I will discover many more along the way but this is my plan.

As I have more definite information I will update you and if you want a property or know someone who does I would be happy to do what I can to assist you.

I am going to be able to offer ready properties, plots of land, traditional houses to restore or already restored.  I also know developers so if you buy a plot of land you can develop it yourself or I can find someone to do it for you.

One of the biggest issues is finding reputable solicitors as many builders have recommended you use the same one as they do so there is a potential conflict. I plan to find some solicitors who will act for my clients so they get the best,impartial advice.

If you can think of anything else I should be offering please feel free to let me know and I will see what I can do.

Also, I am aware that this is a new venture for me and I may to be able to make it work but I have been doing my homework and making contacts for a number of years so I think I stand a good chance of moving to Crete on the strength of this.

Covering my attempts to move to Crete

Today I have been thinking about how I am going to move to Crete.  There are a few options: I can consider trying to get a summer job in the tourist industry and then, assuming I haven’t earned enough to survive over the winter, coming back to the UK and working for the winter here. I can try to get a permanent, all year round, job but there are not many of those out there and I am not sure what I could do. Then there is my 3rd option, I can set up my own business and try to make that pay enough to live on.  I am not greedy, as long as I have enough to live on, eat, have a roof over my head, I’d like my own transport and maybe a TV I will be OK.

So in order to not have to come back to the UK for work I am in the very early days of considering setting up my own business.  As I sell property in England I am going to see if I can sell property in Crete.  If you read this and are considering buying property in Crete, let me know and I will see how I can help you!

I will update you with progress as it happens and any suggestions gratefully received.

Thanks

Sorry for the absence

When I started this I wasn’t sure if I would actually do it at all and I definitely wasn’t sure I would do it every day but I did not intend to leave it this long.

I fund it difficult to blog when I was in Crete due to the heat, exhaustion, lack of Wi-Fi where I stayed and I managed to develop a cold!

I still enjoyed every second of my holiday as I was in Crete and I can think of nowhere I would rather be but it was definitely not the best holiday I have ever had.

I will go into more details another day but I wanted to come back and start this blog again.

Crete is amazing, I relax as soon as I arrive.   The drive from the airport, either one, gives me time to relax, realise it is not a dream, I am really back, and start to enjoy myself.

The main “New” national highway run along the North coast of Crete.  If you arrive at Heraklion airport,as I did this time, you get straight onto the national road and it is only an hour drive to Rethymno, which is where I stay.  The road goes around Heraklion first and then inland before heading back to the sea again.  If you arrive in daylight, it is a pleasant drive with some amazing views.  If you have heard horror stories about driving in Greece, don’t worry as the main road is pretty easy to drive on, just stay well over to the right and allow drivers in a hurry to pass you.

Until tomorrow.

Plans

Chatting to my friends tonight a few “plan” have been made.  I say “plan” rather than plans as when I am on holiday things change as we want to relax rather than adhere to a rigid schedule.

I have some friends who want to go to Lake Kournas.  This is a beautiful natural lake in Chania area of Crete close to Georgioupoli and it is possible to take a little road train trip from the village to the lake.  I have been on several occasions and although it is lovely, there are several taverns and shops around the lake and it is a good spot to swim or hire a pedalo, I do not feel the need to spend too much time there.  So we may drop the friends off who want to go there and then continue to Aptera.

This is a village closer to Chania town about 30 minutes from the lake and is a genuine Cretan village.  There are some ruins there but they have been closed every time I have tried to visit them…let’s hope they are open this year! The other attraction is a taverna in the village.  There appear to be two tavernas, one appears to be more tailored to tourists as it had flowers and is more modern in appearance.  The other is a more traditional place frequented by locals.  It is rough and ready, chairs do not match etc and would be easy to over look.  I have been there a couple of times and the food is out of this world!

So that’s one day “planned”, oh and in case you are wondering, we may pick up the friends from the lake on the way back!

Crete

Crete is about all I am thinking about at the moment.  I stay in a small village just outside Rethymno called Gerani.  I stay in the hotel at the bottom of the hill and the village is built up the hill as it rises away from the sea.  As I always seem to go through the village during the afternoon hours the impression I have is of a very quiet, sleepy kind of place. I am positive this isn’t exactly true as many of the villagers come to the hotel bar in the evenings and I have been to the village in the evenings when it comes to life.

I will go into Rethymno several times whilst I am there but I have so much to say about the town that I will write about it another day.

I also head to Georgioupoli several times.  This is a small fishing village that has turned it’s hand to tourism.  The beach was smaller last year than previous years as the sea was higher so there were less sun beds along the stretch I usually explore although there were still a few along the further end.   There are several shops, tavernas, hotels and other such things tourist need.  The little road train runs trips from here to the lake at Kournas and other trips through the countryside and to other more traditional villages.  There is a garden with a pool and restaurant as well.  This belongs to one of the hotels and I have spent a few days here as the food is good, service exceptional and the pool is clean.   I like Taverna Babis on one of the side streets for traditional food and I have friends who swear by the desserts in Sweethouse on the main square.  Georgioupoli has spent a fair amount of money over the last couple of years to improve the square and other areas around.  I have walked once along the causeway to the small church in the middle of the sea but I have some balance issues so I now leave that to others as it takes me far too long!

There are other places on my mind and I am sure they will spill out onto here at some point soon.

Countdown to Holiday

Before you all say anything, I have someone looking after my house so it is not stupid to advertise the fact that I am away!  I am on countdown, I cannot wait.  I stay near Rethymno and I will be exploring in a hire car and am hoping to find some places I haven’t seen before.

The first full day I am there, I arrive late the night before, I shall head into the town as I am hoping to set up a bank account and I shall say hello to some people I have met before, especially the people in ‘Cul de Sac’ which is one of my favourite cafe’s.  I may also book a table for after my friends arrive at ‘To Pigadi’, one of my favourite restaurants and not only mine as it is one of the few you have to book for!

I may treat myself to a manicure as well, a girl has to have her treats!  I’m planning to go for a drive to the south of the Island on my 2nd day as I want to visit Gortys and I don’t think any of my friends want to and it would be too easy to put it off when they are there!  They arrive late that day so I will eat and the hotel and prop the bar up till they get there about midnight!

For all Creteophiles