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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Crete Part 2 and a blessing in disguise

Our hotel, the Elounda Village looked a bit like a concrete fortress from the front but had fantastic views of the surrounding area and hidden away behind all the brickwork was a lovely oasis of apartment style accommodation which were scattered over quite a large area. 



Once through the reception area (above) you were greeted with a much better view

This was more like our first sight because we arrived at night.

There were three restaurants and a pool bar, below was the main buffet style restaurant which was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  No complaints on the food, there was always plenty of choice.  All inclusive can get a bit boring, same food, same restaurant it can feel a bit like eating in a canteen, but this wasn't like that at all.


Our room with a hammock.
I did venture to lie on the hammock, with Mark assisting to make sure i didn't make a complete fool of myself - getting out of it was a different matter and i ended up on the floor!
Won't be doing that again in a hurry lol
  

There were trees all around the grounds with what looked like broad beans growing on them, we found out that they were carob trees.  wee picked one and it really did smell like chocolate :-)

Out side the main bar and entertainment area


Do you see Mark managed to get in on the photo again!






 A lovely view of the sea between apartments

 Another of the restaurants, this is where they held themed nights.
We went to the Greek night here and i have to say that it was one of the best I have ever been to


The infinity pool


 And the beach area



Elounda town was a 45 minute walk away from the hotel, not too bad, but the hill to climb before you got to the main road and the heat it was a killer of a walk.
We walked it once and got a taxi there when ever we went again.

I took this photo at the sunniest part of the day i think but i like how it came out with a vintage feel to it

The town is not too big, it's a fishing village so lots of boats, as you would expect, but also plenty of choice for eating out.







We went to Agios Nikolaos, about 10-15 minutes away by taxi.
The town was much larger with more shops but a bit too busy for my liking, still, it was nice for a day out and a change.




There was a market on when we went, i love looking at all the different things, and the fruit and veg always looks so much nicer, and bigger than at home.




There were some pretty sights between the streets.
The steps lead up to the next street level.



It's been a bit like summer at home in the UK the last couple weeks as the weather has been particularly kind to us.  I've had doors and windows flung open to let the breeze blow through but the blinds and curtains have been closed to keep the sun out and the rooms cooler. 
We have to make the most of it i suppose because being England you just know it's not going to last.

Changing the subject from holidays, Joanne, my middle daughter was made redundant last Monday.  The head of HR visited her shop and gave her the news, she was completely shocked, there was no warning at all she had to get her things together and leave there and then (due to the nature of the work) and was told not to talk to anyone within the company about it.
She has worked for them for about 8 years, straight out of university.
They have given her a really good redundancy package, above what she was entitled too, which is good.  On the plus side, she went for two interviews this past week and low and behold got offered BOTH jobs!!!
She accepted the second one and starts tomorrow. 
 I'm so pleased because her redundancy money has given their home savings account a real boost, so it really was a blessing in disguise.

Thank you for the lovely comments on my last post, i hope you have enjoyed these photos too.

-X-

Friday, 15 July 2016

Ha! so much for keeping up with bloging - Photos of Spinalonga anyone?

 I was full of good intentions to post holiday pictures, i even started a blog post, well several posts actually.   OK, i started 4 blog posts.  But then i'd get half way through and think,  nah, who will want to be bothered looking at my holiday snaps, lets face it they mean absolutely nothing to anyone except me, and perhaps someone else who has been to that place and maybe someone like me who just LOVES looking at other folks holiday snaps ;-)

So here they are,  Elounda, Crete 2016

First let me say it was hot, very hot.
The hotel was lovely, clean, plenty of space, lovely food, great location and the best Greek themed night we have ever been too.  But, i think i'm done with all inclusive holidays, not only that but i think i'm done with these sort of holidays, well for anything longer than i week anyway.  
No doubt we will still have to holiday in the sun though, seeing as my husband is "of Mediterranean descent"  or at least that's what he keeps telling me.  He's not, he was born and bred in the Black Country.

Two of the nicest days we had there were spent sight seeing.

This is the Island of Spinalonga, a 20 minute boat trip from Elounda and 7 minutes from Plaka.




 The island you can see behind Spinalonga is called Kolokitha and is now uninhabited but was formerly a peninsula and on that island was an ancient city, Olous.

This whole city was sunk underwater, no one knows why, but supposedly when the weather is good and the sea is quiet you can make out some of the walls and buildings of this sunken city.
Long ago Kolokitha was connected to ancient Elounda by a narrow strip of land, now it is an independent island.
This island protected the entrance to the gulf from winds and the sea and also from attacks because there was only one way in, past Spinalonga

These islands have so much history attached to them, they really are fascinating.
The Vanetian's occupied Crete in 1210 and you can still see evidence of the forts they built today.


 If you have read The Island by Victoria Hislop you will know about Spinalonga's other history as a leper colony, of course, that is the main reason people want to visit this island.

 Coming in on the boat

  Mark tried to tell me that we should walk the other way, but he hadn't read the book,  I remember how she described walking through the tunnel.  (Don't you just love it when you're right, lol)


There is no guided tour around the island, (no audio either) but we bought a guide book from a local shop, it was written as a guided walking tour so as you were walking the island you could refer to the book and know what you were looking at. 

What they don't tell you when you buy your boat ticket and then your admission ticket is that there is very little left of the buildings from it's time as a leper colony, most of them were demolished in the 1970's.  I suppose there was still a stigma attached, and after a cure was found and everyone left, (the last person left in 1957), no one imagined that years later it would become a tourist attraction.
If you wanted to visit the island in the 1980's you would have had to ask a fisherman to take you over in his boat and would have had the island to yourself, more of less.  
How things change in such a short time.

So here we are the other side of the tunnel.

There's Mark with his hands on his hips doing the 'hurry up and take your photos' pose.


And through the arch to a sort of little street where there would have been shops.
Now behind those shuttered doors there are finds and stories of the island's history.





These two blocks were build for the lepers and are the only building left standing from that time

 That bloke got in the photo again, lol




Part of the cemetery




Our second trip out was on the Happy Train :-)

(It really is called The Happy Train, there is one called The Little Blue Train too)



We both enjoyed this so much, well worth the money.
Our trip was for around 3 and a half hours up into the mountains stopping at Plaka, a Monastery that has been there since about 14 something or other and has the grave of two very young brave Greek soldiers who held off German fighters so that people could escape, our guide told the stories so well and were clearly very proud of there country.  
We also stopped for a walk through a village that has just 12 people living there, imagine that!
apparently they all meet in the village hall to watch TV :-)

Monsetery

We saw remains of windmills, and were allowed encouraged to go inside them.  
No Risk Assessment, no hard hats, i mean, really, those stones could come down anytime, it didn't stop us.
  Health & Safety would have a fit here, they would have had them barriered off years ago, you wouldn't be able to get within a hundred yards of them, lol


With the original workings still there inside the tumble down building


There are lots of these dotted around the island.
Amazing really that hundreds of years these are still standing.


In Plaka we saw a blue shop selling all things blue


A great view of Spinalonga


That nights menu choice


and close up


Ever wondered how you get sundried peppers?

Simple, hang them on the fence outside your house to dry in the sun :-)



and we saw the most spectacular views







If you made it this far, thank you, your're a star :-)

I'll leave it there for now, otherwise this will be in the running for the longest blog post award!
Perhaps next time i'll show you a little of the hotel,

Take care
-X-

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