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 :-)


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


Purple Pixie Dust said...

Can't wait to see more, very interesting and I love all old buildings. hugs Lynda Ruth

Vickie said...

Oh my goodness! Gorgeous, gorgeous!

Jo said...

I'm so pleased that you have done a post about your holiday, I've been waiting to hear all about it. I didn't know anything about Spinalonga so it's been really interesting hearing about it, and seeing your photos of it too. It looks like a really beautiful place, all that deep blue sea and you certainly weren't short of sunshine. Looking forward to hearing more.

Crazee4books said...

Hello Maggie,

Greetings from someone who thoroughly enjoys your posts about your travels
and really, really loves seeing your photos. The chances of me getting to any
of these places is slim to none so seeing them through your camera lens and
hearing their stories recounted in your blog are a treat.

It's not fair really. The cost of travel and flying from here to anywhere is so
darn expensive and it's not fun like it use to be many, many years ago. But
that's the way things are these days. Sad, really.

And now of course I must hunt up a copy of The Island to read for myself.

Most of all I love the pictures of the sea. I love being in and around water
and the sea is spectacular in your photos. Such amazing shades of blue!!
Many, many shades. And in the distance ... mountains! And history!!
So much history.

Though I do confess that I prefer green, lush landscapes most of all ...
still ... seeing Crete like this is breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.


Tina said...

Thank you for sharing your holiday photo's,really interesting,have the Island but have not read it yet. Xx

Barb said...

I found this post absolutely fascinating. We visited a part of the world I will probably never see. I am looking forward to seeing more of the trip!!!!That plus I live in a country where most things are much less than 200years old and I love history. Thanks for sharing!

Carolien said...

Since we're at home playing handy Andy it was lovely to see this! Thank you! You make such wonderful pictures ...

xxx Carolien

Maggee said...

What a wonderful lot of pictures you took! It looks like you saw many interesting sites, from LONG time ago! hard to even fathom how long ago! I won't ever get there either, so I really enjoy seeing these places you visit, through your blog! Thanks very much for sharing! Hugs!

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

We visited Crete 20 years ago! I have no photos from that holiday as there was a problem with my camera. I remember our visit to Spinalonga. We were so pleased we had gone. Thanks for sharing.

Terri said...

I love reading about other people's trips and seeing their pictures! That's probably the only way I will see much of the world! Your pictures were great!!

Desiree Ehleiter said...

So glad you decided to post about your vacation. The pictures are wonderful! So very, very beautiful! Thank you for sharing! I do hope you will post pictures of the hotel. I look forward to seeing more.

Carol said...

Really enjoyed your vacation travelogue, Maggee! I would love to visit there one day... Had to laugh about your comment about Health & Safety having a fit in the tumbled down building :) My husband and I always say the same thing when we visit other countries. Sometimes there is such a thing as trying too hard to keep people safe!

Carol said...

Whoops! Just realized I mis-spelled your name--meant to type "Maggie!!"