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 Post subject: Elounda Day 1 to Day 7
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:34 pm
Posts: 38
Day 1 Sunday 2nd July 2017

Our flight was at 8:30am a civilised time of the morning and we arrived just before 6am at Gatwick for checkin. After last year's confusion of Mrs Db's medication tablets being offered to security from her bag instead of my Ipad tablet, this year we were prepared to leave my Ipad in the tray for security this time.

However, at the bag drop Thomson's had now invented machines to do the work. Well the Delboy's just don't get on with machines and the one Thomson lady available had to leave her checkin post to assist us. We had ordered another 5kgs on one case and I think i gave her the wrong case with the wrong slip but all seemed to go well. The exasperated assistant left me the label to add on the last case but that went on all squiffy and some of the sticky was left over as the case trundled off into the conveyor belt system. Would it arrive in Heraklion airport one wondered.

Then after a bacon butty and coffee it was time to join the plane

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On this plane Thomson's have removed the knee level basket to increase the leg room.

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and had placed all contents of safety and booklets in a rack above the drop down tray

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We were not too late taking off and in the air by 8:50am

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The pilot later informed us we were flying down passed Santorini so I got my camera out as it looked quite clear down below

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However, I think this is Santorini with the caldera around it and I can make out the houses on the cliffs by zooming in

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Not long after the island of Crete began to come into view

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At this point I always stop taking photographs around airports as not allowed

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The plane door opened and the heat was a little hot as we went down the staircase off the plane and onto a waiting bus. We were soon cleared of customs and waited a little while before one of what appeared to be just two carousels started to work.

Once having got our cases (yes mine did arrive ok) we headed out to find a Thomson rep but did not see one. I had to ask another company's rep to get their location which was across the road. I asked them where the transfer coach was to Elounda and told coach 28 further along the pathway.

With luggage loaded in the coach we waited ...

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and waited, as there was more than one plane involved in this transfer

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I think was it was now around 45 minutes waiting as we were four passengers short said the rep

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But we eventually got away on the free Thomson's Grand Tour lol

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Eventually arriving in Agios Nikolaos to go up a very steep narrow hill to a hotel that I was surprised coaches did a drop off

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Then around town to stop at the Hermes Hotel near the front

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Then along the front again

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Passed Agio Nikalaos famous lake

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Then up and down a hill

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Stopping at the Mirabello Beach

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Then now another steep narrow road to Candia Park village another I thought was a bit much for a coach.

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Then along to the Elounda village another steep incline all these drop off take a huge time

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and finally yes the coach was empty to drop us off last,

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I can see why people elect to go by taxi but we just took it in our stride. Getting off the coach it was hot hot hot (42) and air conditioning for us was a must (7€s a night and worth every penny). I tried to get the air conditioning working and even set at the low level of 15 degrees the air conditioning just couldn't match the hot walls pouring in the heat. Poor Mrs db was getting hotter trying to unpack. I did point this out to the staff and I'm not sure if I got the controls set right but a couple arriving later had the same trouble and they owned a house in Spain that had air conditioning that worked properly.

For food supplies the nearest place for water was said to be in town and a 10 minute walk carrying 6 x 1.5 litre bottles back was unpleasant to say the least. I then had to go out again for the supplies but found some supermarkets only stocked several of the items but this was eventually sorted on a third trip. However, the next day I spotted a supermarket opening about 50 metres away that sold the water.

I also spotted a taverna on the way back with reasonable menu and prices

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so we gave it a try

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We were given free dips as starters

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We had my favourite cheese pies as a shared starter

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I had chicken a la cream which was lovely

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Mrs Db had chicken souvalaki

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The house white was 10€s a litre about the joint highest we have paid in Greece but new taxes are 24% on meals

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However, they gave us lovely free chocolate pancakes and we both felt we had made a good choice for our first night

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We both were so tired but we had a coffee on the balcony whilst I gave the air conditioning another go, shutting the bedroom door as this was the only air conditioned room. We fell asleep and only woke in the morning to find the room ok but boy, it was certainly Bali in the bathroom and a little concerned for my camera which was locked in the safe and will only work in temperatures of under 105 degrees.

End of Day 1

Day 2 Monday

It was too hot on the balcony for breakfast and we would need to get up at 7am to do it

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We had a view of the sea

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The honey left out in the cupboard poured out like water lol


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The hotel front was next to the small beach which was handy for us

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sunbeds are 2.5€s each and 2€s for parasols

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The sun bed attendant had a ticket machine but didn't always come around but a girl did on one of these days and charged us 5€s without giving us a ticket which I think may be a chancer in operation as she did not go to anybody else and i notice it happened on another day to somebody else.

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Always watching the boats heading off to Spinalonga from the harbour which costs 10€s return. There is also a cost on arrive to get in of 8€s or 4€ for senior citizens but take some sort of proof along if you look young like me lol

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lunch time it was a refreshing beer

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overlooking the beach

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Mrs Db had an omelette

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whilst i had a tuna salad

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Afternoon was spent on the beach

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In the distance was the Island of Spinalonga but taken through my zoom lens but a lot more on that later

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It was evening

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I had lamb chops and litre of house wine was again 10€s

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Mrs Db had Lamb Kleftiko

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Free fruit was given to us as a dessert


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and to finish as much raki as we wanted

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A breeze had blown up and it was coffee on the balcony for us whilst the air con cooled the room, this time i had repressed all the buttons to see if it would go colder and in the middle of the night we had become too cold lol

End of Day 2

Day 3 Tuesday

Quite windy this morning but going to walk to Plaka today to see where the early boats leave to Spinalonga as I don't want to miss out if i get up early later in the holiday. Also I will find any beaches along the way.

So walking from our small beach opposite the Manos

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and it's hold my hat on time whilst taking photographs

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There is a small corner piece of beach with tree shade that I think the locals use

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Two boats at the side of the road waiting for the AA

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No beach here but a bit of park land with tree shelter

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another pebble beach I think this is Kavos bay

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Sentido Elounda Blue Hotel

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Tasmania Rooms

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Selena Hotel

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Another small pebble beach

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so from there

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The sign says Ikaros beach

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It has water sports for hire and i thought their beds were 15€s each but I think it is referring to a ride on a sofa

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These look to be expensive and the beach here is well looked after and obviously caters for the wealthy clientele

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Above the beach is an impressive Royal Marin Bay Hotel

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At this end of the beach they have a bar but it's labelled Ipanema Beach, so confusing

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A good spot to photograph Spinalonga providing no cars come in the parking bay and blow up the dust

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A really big hotel coming up which I understand is the Blue Palace

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With a big pebble beach

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Now on the outskirts of Plaka, that dome on the left is a gun post built by the Italians who occupied Elounda during the second world war. The Italians and Germans never went onto Spinalonga during the war for fear of catching the disease.

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Entering Plaka anybody doing this walk just note, it is a little longer than it looks on here, as I have cut out less important things. Plaka use to be a small fishing village and has grow with the popularity of visiting Spinalonga. Although apart from fishing some managed to scratch a living by providing the supplies across and help to Spinalonga people as the Greek government gave a small grant to the occupants of the island.

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The bus timetable as at this moment

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The high st with free parking on the left but there is another car park coming into the village

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Booking for Spinalonga from here it is 8€'s return on the boat and remember it is 8€s to get in once over there, senior citizen 4€s

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Around the back of the high st is a promenade of Taverna's

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sample menu

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A small pebble bay around the back

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Another pier for boats to Spinalonga

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However, I asked on times but the guy said first boat is between 9-10am depending on people (not what I wanted to hear lol)

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Another pebble beach the other side of the pier

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The promenade at Plaka

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This looked a neat little house
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And Spinalonga

Once upon a time I understand that the whole Pensinsular was joined to Spinalonga but was dug out to make an island fortress. The Cretans had suffered badly in wars and have been oppression throughout the centuries and also have been vulnerable to pirate attacks. The Byzantine period ended in 1204 when their power hungry Emperor gave Crete away to the Crusaders in a deal to get Constantinople back for him. The Crusaders allocated Crete to Boniface of Montferrat but he could not control the people. Boniface then sold Crete for the equivalent of 5000 gold coins to the Venetians who used the Cretans as slaves.

Fearing the Otterman Empire the Venetians built seven fortress around Crete, one of which was Spinalonga rebuilt from an existing fortress. It was originally called Stin Elounda (meaning to Elounda) but was changed to Spina (thorn) Lunga (long) named after another Venetian Island.

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After a Venetian - Ottoman war where Cyprus was lost to the Turks it was feared an attack was imminent, so Spinalonga was built and strengthened between 1579 -1586. The Turks invaded in 1669 and Spinalonga the last Cretan fortress held out until surrender in 1715 after a siege by the Turkish Navy.

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In the agreement of surrender the Turks offered free passage to the 600 men on the island including their belongs. An agreement the Turks didn't honour, hanging many and keeping the fittest to serve on slave ships for the rest of their days. The rest were sold off in Heraklion markets as slaves.

All these questions were pieces of a jigsaw that I needed to put together as the holiday went on lol.

Anyway, on a lighter note some more tavernas in Plaka

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Now here is a second jetty where the boats go Spinalonga

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And speaking to the guy he told me the staff boat does leave at around 8:30am so this is the target place.

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The Pine Trees restaurant

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I could not resist taking this flower high up.

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And now the walk back for me

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Lunchtime was in the Manos where Mrs Db had a healthy Greek salad

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And I the unhealthy burger lol

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afternoon was on the beach under the shade. now could I walk up that track beyond Spinalonga lol

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I think it's behind you Mrs Db. The crickets ( ps I understand these are cicadas) are always about in Elounda I even had one hit me in the face and it shrieked

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During my walks I spotted Olio's did small pizzas normally they are so large Mrs Db avoids them but was prepared to have a small one

Mrs Db went for a small ham and pineapple pizza

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I choose the chicken with ginger

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oven fired pizzas

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The view from the restaurant

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Mrs Db's pizza, we thought that we had been given someone else's pizza as the plate was 15" wide lol

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My chicken meal

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Oh those slices were so big, I'm going to have to leave my rice and help Mrs Db out lol

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Free melon at the end

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Coffee was on our balcony

End of Day 3

Day 4 Wednesday

Quite a strong wind and I'm heading for the windmills at the far end of the resort. Hang on to your hat time lol

Just passing the town's main beach

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Walkway on the side of the beach

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A bit more of the beach

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A children's park area which is packed of an evening with schools closed for summer

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Behind the park is the Dotto train this one runs into the mountains at noon for four hours but more on that later

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Beach continued

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heading for town's square

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Clock Tower

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so heading around the harbour

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passing the more expensive restaurants

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Nice views down the bay to Spinalonga

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The windmills are at the end of the bay in the distance

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another puzzle what is this, is it part of a windmill? all will be revealed later

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another beach here but not impressed

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Salt Pans like those seen on Lanzarote on the right but more on those later

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Sea is rough with the wind I wonder why they chose to put windmills here

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View of Elounda

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This windmill has it's working exposed at the top. The windmills near the canal here were built in 1920 and 1925. Originally many families had their own millstone to grind the grain but this process could not provide enough flour required for families. Usually the miller got percentage of the yield as payment in kind and the place was a meeting point for all the community. As the families usually only had storage capacity for a month of grain, so families were at the mills fairly regularly

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The canal was built 1897 by the French army during the last Cretan revolution and were there to keep order. It was suggested to put a canal through from Elounda Bay to Mirambello bay and saving the small boats 4 nautical miles to Agios Nikoloas. Although the local people were against it as many people had land on the peninsular and feared being cut off. A wooden bridge was built and acted as a draw bridge allowing sail boats to go through but this bridge was frequently damaged by rough sea. In 1962 a concrete bridge replaced it (as is today) but put in 40m nearer Elounda Bay than the old wooden bridge

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Two more windmills on the peninsular side of the canal

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Looking towards town

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At the concrete bridge over the canal,

on the right there is a fish taverna on the side of the canal

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standing on the canal bridge here trying to get my camera to blur the background but failed on that

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So back with Mrs Db for lunch we decided we would continue to eat in the Manos at lunchtime.  People have suggested trying The Hope taverna at the top of a hill for an evening meal

Which is a little way down the road from the Manos, so I just wanted to check it out for Mrs Db

So it is a first left from the apartments and down this road

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Then a first left up this hill

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Nice view

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Oh I don't think this will be suitable

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It is also suggested to book as they only have about 10 tables

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so we will give it a miss

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Here is The Hope, I did have a look inside and there are nice views over Elounda for those that can do the hill

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Another thing I wanted to check out was the Olive Grove in which one reviewer said was up a hill which stopped me considering it

Well here it is on the flat over on the far left

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I understand the reviewer posted on the wrong hotel

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Looks nice inside

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For our evening meal we decided to try one of the more expensive restaurants which looked out over the sea. They had a mixed grill at 13.5€s but even the traditional Greek meals seem to be high prices and on asking the price of house wine it was 14€s at litre and have never ever paid over 10€'s before in Greece. So we moved on but clearly this was the going price for this type of restaurant along the far end.


Anyway, we tried the next restaurant called Megaro's

The view was not next to the sea but someone I noticed had a boat hull next to their table lol

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both these meals were 13.5€'s and the wine was that high 14€'s

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Very impressive free dessert at the end

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then coffee on our own balcony for free lol

End of Day 4


Day 5 Thursday

It was Thursday and one of the TA members in Elounda does a guided walk and I was looking forward to doing it today. The meeting point is at the statue of the two doves that are in the town's square

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Some of you will remember my walk to the tombs in Tolo where the Gods extracted 10€s out of me and leaving me with no money to pay for a beer.

Well these new shorts will be ok, said Mrs Db as they have a secure pocket for money

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"That's good", I said as I put 20€s and a few euros in my pocket to buy some drinks on the walk.

Trying them on they were fine except the knot at the front wouldn't tie up and on a closer inspection the knot was just for decoration. "These are not any good for walking, they could fall down", "Well put these other ones on then",said Mrs Db

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So I joined everyone sitting on the wall at the statue before 10am. It was a breezy day and after ten o'clock we started the walk, David taking us up a side street. David our guide said, he had taken us up here because in 1928 Imperial Airlines flying boats started to use Elounda as a staging point for refuelling, on it's long journey to India or Egypt. There were few airports in those days hence the use of flying boats. When they landed in Elounda the passengers were taken here for the night before setting on the next leg of their journey. It is said that Sir Winston Churchill and Ghandi both stayed here but he could not find any facts on Churchill being there.

However, on the 22nd August 1936 Elounda witnessed an air disaster as a flying boat called Scipio on a flight from Alexandria crashed landed trying to land in Mirambello Bay two passengers were killed. In those days, there were no main roads in Elounda and rumours spread that the pilot and co pilot were killed and the plane was carrying gold. However, very little information was given out but it was two of the passengers that were killed.

The Imperia restaurant had since closed and opened again and various photographs including Churchill were on the wall but today it seemed closed again.

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We then walked down towards the town again

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Where David pointed out that the Greek people will build a house around a tree rather than chop it down.

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Once back in town, David pointed to the town's butcher's shop for meat

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And the town even a betting shop for taking bets

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Afterwards we took another road going out of town

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And David pointed out this shop saying, this is Elounda's equivalent of our B&Q, it is a very large shop that stocks virtually everything one needed. I noticed they even had fishing rods

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Now leaving town

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Another Italian machine gun post as they had a headquarters in upper Elounda during the occupation

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The walk continues

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The schools closed for the summer holidays, children get 13 weeks off in the summer as its too hot to study but work throughout the winter

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the hill is starting to go up but feels gentle whilst talking to others

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This is a pomegranate tree

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the road still rises
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David points out the structure of the cliff wall at the bottom of the picture has been under the sea by the lines showing on the wall. He said, he would love a geologist to be on the walk to explain how it all appears up here so high.

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Our slow climb continues

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Here we take a right turn to look over the views of Elounda

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The views,

these are a few i took but difficult to know if these are the best

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still climbing

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This is the Oregano plant that grows wild up here

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Also there is whetstone unique to Elounda, a fine grained emery stone found between layers of rock that was mined and used to sharpen knives and tools since ancient times and exported over the world and keeping its people from starvation. More recently, people now prefer to buy new knives rather than sharpen them so the demand has dropped

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View over Elounda bay

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The village of Pano Elounda

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Up in the mountains one always seems to see smoke rising, this is from the Laundry that cleans all the hotel towels etc, said David

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Here is a carob tree, during the summer it produces 'runner bean' like pods which are filled with carob seeds which are known as a chocolate substitute. The seeds were picked and sent to the harbour for grinding and then sent abroad, again the labour kept many of the Cretan population from starvation. Children often ate them as sweets as a treat. More on that later

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Figs are another product that are grown and some nice sounding recipes were talked about by the group

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Soon we had reached the village of Pano Elounda

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And we stopped at Maria's place for a drink.

David explained that a company had made a film on Spinalonga but the BBC never took up the rights to show it but Greece loved it. However, during the day the film company were not allowed to film on Spinalonga. So they replicated the scenes needed in this village, building archways and shabby sheeking the doors to look authentic. David had photographs to show us of that time and after film was completed a party was held in the square attended by Victoria Hislop and one of the last 20 patients to leave Spinalonga for Athens in 1957. (If you google Pano Elounda some of the set pictures are available to see)

Afterward the chat it was time to pay for the drinks and I felt in my shorts pocket, I had no money as I had change shorts but a kind TA member paid for my drink, a big thank you to her.

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Although the archways have now been taken down for safely a lot of the village remains the same, so out with the camera lol

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and perhaps find some of the scenes

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Anyway, it was time to leave but more on that later in the holiday

So leaving the village, David point out an olive tree that is said to be more than 600 years old

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The road is now going down for a change lol

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This is an old donkey trail to the town and can also double up as a river. If one looks closely there are fossils embedded in the rocks all over the place. More on that late lol

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Finally, David took us to a cemetery and a cicada landed on his hat, I had never seen a cicada before coming here but in Elounda they are happy to sit on you lol

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The purpose of being here was for David to show us the grave of the two passengers killed in the seaplane crash and to more or less finish the theme of how the walk had had started. A big thank you to David and others for their company on the walk

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Afternoon was spent on the beach

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Our Apartment swimming pool

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The apartment's bar

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Tonight we decided to eat in Poulis another restaurant in a prime front position

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Menu's
if i recall correctly wine was again 14€s

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I picked Stifado

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Mrs Db had chicken Poulis

Menus containing beef in Elounda seem to be off the charts in price

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A daylight view of the harbour area

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My stifado

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Mrs Db chicken Poulis

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I feel like Jack Warner sitting here next to this blue lamp lol

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The view that you pay for in the price. There are also blue lights in the water to attract the bigger fish

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and the biggest free dessert I have ever seen to share lol

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the restaurant

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A nice coffee on our balcony to end the day

End of day 5


Day 6 Friday

We decided to do the Dotto red/brown train ride into the mountains to Seles, the trip lasts four hours and costs 18€s each, children under 2 are free and 40% off 2-12 years old. The train leaves Elounda each day at 12 noon. There is another blue train that just runs to Plaka several times a day and it costs 8€s return

So we got there early and in the first carriage of three

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The first stop would be Plaka and there is to be a 15 minute guided tour but as I have already been there I won't go into more detail but this was a good opportunity for Mrs Db to see it

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but another opportunity to get some better shots of Spinalonga

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This would be about 12:15pm and you can see the number of boats tied up there with hundreds of people visiting. It is apparently the second biggest attraction in Crete after Knossos

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I can even see people on the hill top

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Clearly not a good time to go if you wish to see it quiet as people from all over Crete will be arriving around this time

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So now all on the train it was a slow climb up the mountains

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Then we had a photograph stop where the views were just stunning. Here is Spinalonga

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And down below Plaka and Elounda Bay

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Closer in on Plaka

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and going inland

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and surrounding hills

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Closer in on Plaka's main beach

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in the distance the walkway which blocks off Elounda Bay from Mirambello Bay apart from a small canal

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Closing in on Spinalonga

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I can just get an aerial view on the village of Spinalonga

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Then it was back on the train

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It's windy up here and where there is wind there is windmills, I understand these were built in the 1800's but are now abandoned

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On top of the mountain there are now wind powered energy machines

We had visits to two churches, at the first one a lady in black swept the steps for us before we entered.

We were told a man with no hands painted the ceiling with a brush held in his mouth but died at the age of 55 before it was finished others finished it for him.

The whole church took 50 years to build because everything was done manually as there was no mechanical machinery to assist them.

The second church we sat down whilst the guide told us about the paintings at the front  

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IMO opinion there was very little to see at Seles and just a turning point then we headed to a taverna in Vorouhas for lunch

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Quite a lot of people to be served at once for an hour stop but the staff managed it ok

Part of the menu but much cheaper eating here

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a green salad for me which I had once before in Tolo which had walnuts and strawberries in it and was delicious
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A Greek salad for Mrs Db

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then the downhill drive to Plaka and home

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for our evening meal we tried Leoniaas again as they were good on our first night, wine is 10€'s a litre here

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We ordered a spicy dip with nan bread forgetting we get free dips, so ordered bread to eat these

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oh dear and a mix grill to follow for me

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It came with, chicken, burger, sausage and pork

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Mrs Db had the chicken a la creme

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and free melon for dessert this time

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Then our usual coffee on our balcony

End of Day 6

Day 7 Saturday

At this point, I was eyeing a walk up a steep hill in the middle of town where I thought good views might be possible

so going passed the harbour

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and along the main road which can be really busy during the day

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There are many Atm's but mainly Euronet but there are The National, Alpha and Piraeus bank Atm's in the square

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Tourist shops

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Fruit shops

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a Chemist / Pharmacy

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Jewellers

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The main street IMO is not a good pedestrianised area to walk

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Either a new post office or one near a complete refurbishment

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A book shop which later becomes my saviour to solving all the riddles and puzzles I had accumulated over the holiday on Elounda

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Cars & bikes rental shops

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I had clearly missed the road to go up into the mountains but came across lol's laundry

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and decided to take this road to see where it led to

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A road to a water park

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must be up here a long walk up hill to get there

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so up the hill

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finally getting to their slides etc

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Saw their pool above it too

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Then passing a gated residence

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which way do I go now ? up hill lol

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Getting the views now the windmills

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zoomed in a bit

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The water park hotel down below

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still going up hill

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This is where I can point out the fossils in the rocks

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Bee hives up here

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lovely views up here

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and i have reached the house set high in the mountain

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So now on my way down and I think I am now on the road I initially wanted to be on

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now got to the place I was hoping to be and a view over Elounda

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zoomed in a bit

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Upper Elounda village

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Elounda Town and beach

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Almost down

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an afternoon on the beach

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Evening and the moon is rising and tonight we are eating in Olondi's

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the menu house wine is 14€'s a litre

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we had free dips

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It was a lovely atmosphere

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wow I had picked Lamb Olondi and it was superb

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Mrs Db had Stamnas Hasapiko which she said was wonderful

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And vegetables for me

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Sorry it was free melon and grapes but forgot to photograph it lol

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We must go back to this place but for now it is coffee on our balcony

End of Day 7


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