October/November 2003

Travelog by Jim & BettyAnn

Thursday - Oct 16, 2003: Day 1

We arrived at the Athens airport about 11:00AM, and needless to say, after fourteen hours in the friendly skies we were almost comatose. None the less, we claimed our baggage, cleared Greek customs, and taxied to our hotel. I realized I didnít have cab fare, so we used a currency exchange machine that charged an obscene exchange rate. The taxi ride was about 30 minutes, and we were sure happy to see the Athens Central Hotel. After checking in and unwinding a little, we asked directions to the nearest Travel Agency, as we hadnít booked our flight to Crete yet. We made the arrangements with no trouble.

Opera Theater in the Opera Distric The next stop, before a badly needed nap, was at the bank to do a currency exchange. We then proceeded to a bank where we were able to exchange currency at a better rate. We started by changing $1,000 for 850 Euros.

After unpacking we took a short nap, leaving a message at the desk to be awakened about seven PM. We had dinner at the hotel dining room, which served a Greek menu. As is our practice, BettyAnn and I split the entrťe. Even when we are exceptionally hungry, and order separate entrťes, we generally share them as our tastes in food are similar. This evening we had a very tender beef dish served with a Greek salad, French fries, and veggies. In Greece we found that a cover charge is always added, for the bread, and table setting. On rare occasions the tip is added, but normally not.

After dinner we retired early

Friday - Oct 17, 2003: Day 2

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The Athens Central Hotel includes free breakfast each morning. We were expecting to find a Continental breakfast with rolls, jam, cold cuts, and sweet rolls, served with coffee, tea and milk. You can imagine our surprise when we walked into a full breakfast buffet, similar to what you would expect to find on a cruise ship. I wonít dwell on breakfasts during our stay in Athens except to say we ate them all at the hotel, and enjoyed Greek, European, and American breakfast cuisine.

We were up early after good nights sleep, and were anxious to start exploring our immediate surroundings. We knew that we had a nice square with a fountain behind the hotel, as that was the way we needed to go to the travel agency. We later found that the post office was two doors down from the agency, which was really convenient for stamps for postcards.

The Athens central outdoor market is about five blocks away, so thatís where we headed first. The outdoor market is just that, everything is outdoors, or at least in a open area with a roof over it. Itís divided into different sections for meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, olives, etc. Itís really large, and occupies several square blocks.

The meat market is huge, with stall after stall of everything from hog heads to full sides of beef hanging on hooks. Hamburger is ground to order. One of the most amazing things about European outdoor markets is that there is very little refrigeration. However I noticed that there were more coolers and freezers in use at this outdoor market, than ones Iíve visited in the past several years.

The fish market is as large as the meat market, and if you like the smell of fish, this would be the market for you. Offered up is just about any type of seafood that is available locally, in addition to imported products from around Europe. Squid seems to be very popular in this part of the world, although itís generally a little tough. Years ago, when I was on Kwajalein Island, we used to tenderize them by placing them into an agitator type washing machine for a few hours.

Itís difficult to stress how tasty the tomatoís are in Greece. The tomatoes that weíve had in salads are far better than the best available in the United States. Of course these wonderful tomatoes are available in the vegetable market, along with more varieties of olives than I could possibly count. Some of the more popular types of olives are sold at the local stores, as well as in the market place, in barrel type containers made of plastic, about half the size of a 55 gallon drum. The more gourmet olives are sold in jars at the smaller stores, and by the kilogram in the deli departments of larger super markets and the open market.

Motor bikes, (like Honda 50, 90 & 125 ccís) are everywhere. Products move in and out of the market on them, and they are the vehicle of choice by many. Cyclists travel between stopped cars on roadways, and sometimes use the sidewalk to pass, so they are seldom stuck in traffic.

We returned to the hotel after a full day in the market, and surrounding area. We had asked for a room facing the acropolis, so that request was granted, and the move was made before dinner.

We had dinner again at the hotel dinning room, and this evening we each had a Greek salad, as we had been nibbling all day. Finding something to snack on in Athens is so easy, there are several shops and news stands, all selling snacks and cold beverages, including beer. For a hot beverage you could go to any of the many outdoor cafťís located just about everywhere. And, of course, we did spend the day at the market!

Saturday - Oct 18, 2003: Day 3

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Today it was recommended that we might walk over to the Parliament building, to see the Changing of the Guard. The Parliament building is located about a half hours walk from the hotel, so we decided to do this today as we have not set up any tours or other plans yet.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located at the Parliament Building, and the Changing of the Guard is done each hour, and is a ritual well worth seeing. So, with that decision made we set out early, right after breakfast.

In addition to the Parliament Building, on the way we walked past the National Library, the Athens University, and the Athens Academy. These are a grandiose neoclassical trilogy of buildings on Akadimias. The Athens Academy, completed in 1885, is flanked by two columns on which statues of Apollo and Athena stand. The building was built using white marble, and used highly decorative wall painting.

The more modest Athens University building in the center is used as the Senate house. Next to it is the National Library which was completed in 1902. The library is said to have a stunning reading room, however we didnít enter the building.

The Parliament building was originally a palace for King Otto, the Bavarian Prince installed by the allies after Greek Independence. It remained a Royal Palace until 1935, when it became the seat of the Greek Parliament. The square at Syntagma sits in front of the Parliament Building and covers an area of four city blocks. At Christmas this square hosts Europeís largest Christmas Tree.

The Parliament is guarded by evzones, wearing the traditional uniform of mini-skirts and Pom-Pom Shoes. Every hour, replacement guards march up Vasilissis Sofias and arrive for a colorful Changing of the Guard ceremony. Every half hour the two guards swap ends.

As Bud Light isnít easily attainable here, Iíve taken a liking to the local beer, Amstal which is available just about everywhere. There also is a locally available brandy, Metaxa, available in 3, 5, & 7 star ageing qualities. Pricing Kahlua in Greece, I found it costs about 18 Euro's (US$21.25) for a 750 ml bottle.

Sunday - Oct 19, 2003: Day 4

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Today we wanted to go to the Plaka area; this is a shopping area about half an hours walk from our hotel. In fact itís so close to the parliament Building that we visited yesterday, that when we walked through the square at Syntagma we entered the outskirts of this famous shopping area.

There are several really small churches peppered all over the city and each one is unique.

Went to the Plaka shopping area for souvenirs today. Dinner at the hotel, we split chicken, and salad.

Monday - Oct 20, 2003: Day 5

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We walked to the acropolis, and spent the day there.

Tuesday - Oct 21, 2003: Day 6

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Took a bus trip to Delphi, some 250 km from Athens. This was an adventure to see a Greek Temple, with it's Treasury Houses, one of which is still standing. Almost all the statues have been removed, except for one in Bronze, and four or five in marble.

Wednesday - Oct 22, 2003: Day 7

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We had an early breakfast, then slept in. About noon we started our subway adventure and went to the shopping area to fill Laurieís ring order. I picked up an AutoCAD ad for Lou. Then we returned to the room to drop off our purchases, and have a quick drink before going to the Church on the Hill. We took the underground subway system to Church hill, then after climbing a couple of hundred feet, we took the cable car up the last one hundred feet. After photos, and souvenir shopping we returned to the hotel by surface bus.

Athens has excellent transportation services, using electric, and diesel busses, as well as a subway system.

We had a Cesarís salad, and spaghetti at the hotel.

Thursday - Oct 23, 2003: Day 8

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Up early this morning for an early breakfast as our cruise tour leaves quite early. We had a great breakfast, and made 2 sandwiches to boot. The bus picked us up promptly at 6:45 AM, and off we went. We started on a smaller boat to the island of Poros. Quite a few of the passengers got sick on this leg, as the seas were somewhat heavy. Of course BettyAnn and I are old salts, so the rough seas didnít bother us in the least.

The first stop at Poros was short. BettyAnn shopped, and I took photos. The island is very picturesque. Aside from post cards, BettyAnn purchased a really nice long T-shirt suitable for nighttime wear. We left on a much larger ship going to the second island of Hydra. We arrived at Hydra about 1:15 PM, and will depart at five past two. We purchased postcards here as well, along with another beer. Betty had an ice cream cone too. Lunch will be served as soon as we depart for the island of Aegina.

We were served a four course meal consisting of Coleslaw, Pasta, Pork with veggies and rice, and a Pineapple fruit dish for desert.

Aegina is a larger island, very picturesque with many shops, and restaurants. The harbor area is several blocks deep and many stores set back sell household goods. BettyAnn purchased postcards, and I got a couple of beers for the trip back. We switched back to the smaller boat for the return trip.

The trip back on the smaller (Excursion Boat) was also a bit rough, but most everyone did well on this trip. I shared one of my two beers with a German tourist. There names were Echardt, and Kristina. They are returning to Munich Tomorrow.

We returned to Athens almost an hour late, in addition to the five foot seas, we had severe head winds. The staff on both vessels were exceptionally nice.

After arriving at the hotel, we had a nightcap, and retired.

Friday - Oct 24, 2003: Day 9

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Another great breakfast, then off to the Temple of Zeus. Needed to purchase new Metro tickets first.

Then went shopping first, then lunch. Whoops, back to the hotel for the forgotten tickets.

The ruins of the Temple of Zeus were breathtaking, we took several photo's and video's of this wonder built around 500 BC. Some of the photos have the Acropolises in the background. These famous landmarks in Athens are within two miles of each other.

Returned to the Parliament shopping areas for some jewelry that BettyAnn had ordered. The jeweler suggested a nearby restaurant, and we took his advice. Sorry, the name is in Greek & we can't pronounce it. The restaurant was run by the Mom & Pop owners, and the really nice looking daughter.

BettyAnn had lamb, potatoes, and carrots. And I had a stuffed green pepper, with a stuffed tomato. We shared the entree's, and excellent French style bread was also served.

We arrived back at the hotel, faced with the prospect of packing our suitcases before retiring for the night.

Saturday - Oct 25, 2003: Day 10

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Off to Crete today on a 12:30 flight, so we're up early for our last great breakfast buffet.

The taxi ride to the airport was half an hour. We arrived to find there had been an error made on our tickets by the travel agency. Luckily the airlines was able to correct it after a fashioned, or the tickets would have been declared void, and that would have really been bad news. As luck would have it, the plane left late, seems that the crew was still flying in on another flight.

All is well, that ends well, we were finally able to board for the 1Ĺ hour flight to Crete. As we flew over the ocean we could see that there are numerous small islands dotting the Greek coastline. And so ends our stay on Athens, as we look forward to the second phase of our Greek vacation on the costal island of Crete.

A-Crete Island

Sunday - Oct 26, 2003: Day 11

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We set back the clocks today one hour. For breakfast we went for fresh rolls and had a nice continental style breakfast. We also picked up some cat food for our delightful new patio friends.

There is an orientation at 11 AM, so we'll ask about the laundry facilities, as we are about due. In the meanwhile weíll just relax.

The poolside orientation was very nice, and we learned many new things about Crete. It's actually pronounced "ceata"! As the laundry is 1.5 km away, BsttyAnn decided to do the wash by hand.

Supper tonight was a disaster. We went to Kostro's Restraint and had tasteless Red Fish which was exceptionally chewy. BsttyAnn had tasteless shrimp served with the heads and antennas attached, and no sauce of any sort, except olive oil. To there credit, we each were served two shots of watered down Ouzo. We thought the price was a bit excessive Compared to dinner last night. But, then what do I know?

Monday - Oct 27, 2003: Day 12

We had coffee on the patio, and I started reading a book about Crete that BsttyAnn had purchased. It's very complete and includes most of the historical facts back to antiquity. That's in addition on where to go, and how to get there.

Went shopping for breakfast rolls, and discovered that the market will close Friday for the season. There was only one can of cat food left, so we'll have to make other arrangements for feeding our patio friends. There's some other markets in the area, so we'll have to check there status sometime today.

For breakfast we shared an excellent Danish style roll, and had hard rolls and bread with butter and blueberry jam. For a beverage we had our own instant coffee, and local 1% milk.

It's a lazy time vacation here so far. We are trying to sleep later, as apposed to 6:30 breakfasts in Athens. It's Almost noon (3 AM MST) and we are just beginning to venture out for photos.

We took a walking tour of the area East of our villa. We located more cat food, and stocked in enough for the remainder of our stay. There is an internet cafe down the streer, but using it is forbidden.

We walked down the hillside to the town of Hersonissou , about 1.5 km from our village. There are several shopping areas there, including super markets, many restaurants, and I saw at least three additional internet cafe's as well.

We dined again at the Oliva Restaurant, and had chicken, fried cheese, Greek salad, etc. The last time we were there, we talked to the owner about procuring some home made virgin, virgin olive oil. Tonight we picked up one liter which she had prepared for us. There was so much to eat, that we have enough chicken left for a sandwich at lunchtime tomorrow.

Monday - Oct 28, 2003: Day 13

Today we started the day with coffee and hot chocolate on the patio at 7 AM. We fed the cats, however Princes was late, and almost missed breakfast.

This morning we are going to go next door for crapes, but they donít open until 9:30. Thought we had better do it before they closed for the season. Guess I'll run out for some fresh rolls for lunch.

The crepe was good, we both had apple, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. We returned to read a bit, and make 1/2 dozen hard boiled eggs. It's just as well, because about 11 AM it started to rain. The small storm only lasted 20 minutes or so.

After a short nap, we drove to Hersonissou, the small seaside town below us to sightsee, and do a little shopping. We had dinner at a restaurant their as well.

We split a Gyros plate which came with french fries, and vegetables. Water here is served bottled, and costs about $1.75 US.

After sunset, we returned home and read until bedtime.

Tuesday - Oct 29, 2003: Day 14

The weather has really changed to downright cold. I made the morning trip to the store for fresh bread and We still had our breakfast on the patio as usual, and fed the cats. We called Jenny this morning, and she's mostly unaffected by the fires in Southern California, which are all over the news here in Greece.

BsttyAnn has been hand washing cloths each morning since our arrival on Crete. We had quite a bit from our stay in Athens. She's getting caught up, and soon we'll be able to coast until we get home.

We're downtown in Hersonissou before noon, and have traveled up and down the beach drive, taking pictures and videos. We stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe for coffee, and to use the water closet. The Shirt Shop next door doesnít open until noon, so guess we'll wait around.

We live in a group of three villages, the one we're actually staying in is Koutouloufari, with the village of Piskopiano west of us. The village of Hersonissos is even further west. It takes about ten minutes to walk the first two, and ten more to reach the third. The town of Hersonissou is about a thirty minute walk down to the sea. Having a car is really convenient.

We drove back to Hersonissou to shop, and pickup something to bring back for dinner. The car was parked, and we walked the waterfront area which has several restaurants and shops.

We had our first Gyros (finally). BsttyAnn had chicken, and I had pork. We brought them back to the villa, and ate when we got hungry. We placed a call to BsttyAnn brother John in New Berlin.

Tuesday - Oct 30, 2003: Day 15

The weather is rainy and cold today, no swimming I guess. We had enough bread for breakfast and we had our breakfast inside today, for the first time. Naturally all of our patio friends showed uo to be fed as well.

Midnight has grown partial to our kitchen chair. Furthermore he doesnít get along with the original group of four cats (Whitey, Shorty, Princess, and Smokey) at all. In Midnights defense however, he is the friendliest of the lot, and the largest.

We went down to the beach on this very windy day, and took stills, and videos of the choppy harbor. We met a couple that ran a grocery store, and discussed real estate prices here and abroad.

We're back at the Hard Rock Cafe for a coffee, and to exchange some shirts.

We drove around the area all afternoon and did a little grocery shopping.

This evening we divided a small salad and an order of spigittie with meat sauce. We returned home and read novels.

Friday - Oct 31, 2003: Day 16

Our usual morning ritual completed with our patio friends, we had a simple breakfast of milk and an apple sweet roll which we shared.

An attempt will be made to drive to the airport as we'll be leaving here for the real thing before daybreak on the 8th. From there we will head south to see yet another ruin.

Our run to the airport was a success. We even talked to the parking lot attendant to be sure that it was the correct drop off point for the rental car.

From the airport we continued on to the Palace ruins of Priest-King Fresco (also known as the Prince of the Lilies), at Knossos township.

The Palace was built around 1900 BC, but was destroyed by an earthquake around 1700 BC. The palace was soon completely rebuilt. As ruins go, this one was in exceptionally good condition.

We split a Greek Salad at a sidewalk cafe just outside the ruins in Knossos.

On the return trip we missed our exit off the National Highway, but found a short cut back home, from the next exit.

Stopping at a super market on the way, we purchased provisions as all the local grocery stores have closed for the season.

For dinner we made ham and cheese sandwiches on gigantic crescent rolls. They were so large in fact, that we saved 1/2 for lunch tomorrow.

I've been reading a lot while BsttyAnn shops, and finished a Tom Clancy novel, Robin Cooks "Invasion", and am 1/2 way through John Grisham's "The Partner". BettyAnn is a faster reader than I, and has finished four novels on this trip.

The television brings us 2 English channels, CNN, and BBC. Also available are German, French, and naturally Greek.

Saturday - Nov 1, 2003: Day 17

Next week at this time, we'll be in the Athens airport waiting for a flight to New York City. How time flies.

Cats are fed, as are we. Today we plan to drive to the beaches on the South side of Crete.

Change of plans, we decided to go to the windmill plato in the mountains instead.

Kera, a small typical Greek town in the mountains, is where BsttyAnn bought a small colorful tablecloth, with windmills on it.

We returned after dark, and had dinner at a nearby restaurant. Dinner consisted of a cretin salad, lamb chops, veggies, and potatoes. We came home and had apple pie and milk for desert.

Sunday - Nov 2, 2003: Day 18

Cats are fed, as are we. We had an up and down night, so slept late. Today. We are taking a day off, and will run down to town for postcards, and local sight seeing.

We had lunch at one of the many outside restraints along the sea shore downtown in Hersonissou in the Hersonissos area. I had an English breakfast, and BsttyAnn had a club sandwich with fries (first American type meal).

We went on the beach, which wasn't crowded, BsttyAnn got into the water up to her knees. The water on the North side of the island is called the Cretan Sea.

We went to the grocery store on the way home, had a light dinner in our villa and retired early.

Monday - Nov 3, 2003: Day 19

An early up, with a fast 1/2 sweet roll, juice, milk, and coffee. We'll head for the southern beaches today. We'll be passing the airport,, so will use this opportunity to make another dry run.

No problem finding the airport this time either, I could probably get a job as a taxi driver, huh.

We're in central Crete at Siva, in route to Mires, This will be our turning point to Matala, a sea side village along the Libyan Sea coast, on the southern coast of Crete. The water temperature is 4 deg C colder on this side.

Well, we got really lost this time, and ended up about 30 Km west of our intended destnation in a village named Agia Galini. This was also a port village, and after photographing fishing boats and having snacks, we found a nice beach. We didn't swim, but we spent a half hour or so walking the beach. We have visited so many interesting places. Everyone of which is a photographers paradise.

Finding our way to our original destination, Matala, took about an hour and a half. We passed through Timbaki enrout and took more pictures. We finally arrived in Matala, a sea side cove about 2:00 in the afternoon, with a wonderful beach. We had lunch there, consisting of a mixed fish plate for two. This came with a Greek salad.

After spending some time on the beach, we started back home so we would arrive before dark.

Once home, we did a little grocery shopping, during which we visited an internet cafe to check email. BsttyAnn read, and watched local men play cards which seemed similar to gin rummy. One of the local gentlemen tried to school me in the operation of swing beads. A stress reduction method, using a string of beads, practiced here in Greece.

After arriving back at the villa, we fixed ham and tomato sandwiches for supper.

Monday - Nov 4, 2003: Day 20

Up and at em early on. Cats enjoyed the fish bones we brought back from Matala, supplementing there normal canned food. It was Continental Breakfast for us, then dishes.

We made a stop downtown in Hersonissou to check email. The computers down in Hersonissou are in English, whereas the ones in Koutouloufari are in Greek.

BsttyAnn wanted to purchase some jewelry, anyway.

Then we headed for the National Highway to start our trip to Agios Nikolaos located along the shores of the Mirambelou Gulf on the East coast of Crete.

The national highway is basically a two lane roadway, with wide shoulders. Unlike the U.S., the shoulders are used for an additional traffic lane, typically for slower moving traffic. The speed limit varies from as low as 30 Km/h in construction areas to a maximmum of 100 Km/h. It's normal to drive 120 to 130 Km/h in non-congested areas.

Approaching Agios Nikolaos we got behind what appeared to be a tour bus. This is an old trick for finding your way through a congested foreign city. The theory goes that the bus will invariably end up at a point of interest.

. This bus turned out to be returning cruise ship passengers to the ship. So we were plopped in the middle of the port of Agios Nikolaos, complete with beaches, restaurants, and shops. Unfortunately mostly closed for the season. The upside, of course, being no crowds.

We found an excellent restaurant right on the beach, and split a pasta and meat sauce dish. Salad is served with lunch, so we've become accustomed to eating the hot entree first, then the salad. There were several sun bathers on the beach, and it was interesting to see how they changed on the beach using only a beach towel. We've seen this before in other European countries, and on rare occasions, even in the USA.

After lunch we located a highway North to Olus which was about a half hours drive. Also located on the coast. The island of Kolokithas is located off shore which seemed close enough to reach out and touch. We stopped here briefly for a cup of "Nescafe", and to check email at a local internet cafe. As this was a port village, we strolled the docks admiring the small fishing fleet tethered there.

We then headed further North towards Plaka. The roadway was two lane with no shoulder. It basically followed the coast, except around mountains that abutted the sea. The drive, as usual, was beautiful.

As we approached Plaka, we saw the island of Spinalonga, with it's fortifications. The island was use to fight the Turks during wars in the 1800's. It was used as a leper colony until 1958.

The approach was from a mountain, and the cove with Spinalonga Island in the center, and the larger Kolokithas Island behind, and laying South was like a postcard. We stopped for photos, as we would many times before losing sight of this beautiful cove.

We descended to the village of Plaka, where most everything was closed as it was almost 4 PM in the afternoon.

We took a different way home, over the mountains. This was probably not such a good idea, but we wanted to do it even though it was a bit further.

The beginning took us up and up. The countryside was littered with small boulders, which were used to construct stone retainer walls. As it turned out, the sun went down so we couldn't really see much anyway.

As we climbed higher, the road kept getting narrower and narrower. We passed through several very small villages with streets so narrow our car would hardly fit.

As we continued to climb, the road narrowed to little more than the width of our car. Turning around would be impossible. Luckily we didn't meet anyone coming the other way. One side of the road was a cliff face going almost straight up, and the other was a clean drop. Some areas of the road had a retainer rail consisting of chicken wire. Why anyone bothered putting that up is beyond me.

The villages we passed through were mostly like ghost towns, with no lights. A few did have a single tavern, lit by a single bulb, with no one around.

After what seemed like three hours of this, the road finally leveled, straightened out, and turned into a 2 lane highway.

Soon we intersected with the National Highway, and were on our way home to dinner, and a good nights sleep.

Monday - Nov 5, 2003: Day 21

Up and at em early on. Cats are fed, again we had 1/2 of an excellent Greek sweet roll, milk, juice, and coffee.

Off we go to the West to visit Hania, some three hours away on the National Highway past the airport at Iraklio. The road going west follows the Northern coast of Crete, and is in excellent condition.

While passing Bali Village, we stoped along the highway to take some photos of the beautiful coast line from the mountain road on the way to Rethymno.

We stopped at Rethymno for coffee, and noted that the weather was changing. That seems to happen a lot around here. Rethymno is about halfway to Hania, our final destination for today.

Rethymno is one of the four large cities on Crete. We again pretty much followed a bus into the heart of the city shopping area. While I was having coffee, BsttyAnn looked for post cards. It seems that there's none whatsoever, or there's more than you can shake a stick at. Anyway she didn't find any.

The signage is very good, and in both Greek, and English. So we had no trouble finding the National Highway, and continuing onward towards Hania.

After leaving Rethymno, it started raining, and when we arrived in Hania it had even gotten worse. We found or way to the center of town, which was situated around the harbor. Because of the weather, most everything was closed.

We found a small gift shop with postcards, just as they were closing. While BsttyAnn looked at postcards, I photographed the area. The breaking surf was spectacular, driving water and spray over the roadway, and into the shops and restaurants across the road.

We found an open restaurant, that was all buttoned up to ward off the wind and ocean spray. Water still came into the outside dining area under the tarplen walls.

We were served a nice salad, and grilled chicken breasts smothered in mushroom sauce. The food here is excellent, however BsttyAnn and I agree that this meal was exceptionally delicious. We drove around some, and watched the boats bobbing like corks, it's a good thing they were behind the breakwater.

As we started back, the rain had not let up much. BsttyAnn drove, and as we started through the mountains, the storm turned really bad with high winds, and a driving downpour. This continued all the way home.

As we traveled, the road was an excellent two lane with wide shoulders, making it effectively four lanes here on Crete. As we went through the mountains, rivers of water cascaded across the highway, carrying with it mud, and rocks. As we passed one point, a mudslide started just as we were passing. We barely missed it, and the vehicles behind us took evasive action to avoid a pileup.

Some of the passes were treturious, with the wind seemingly trying to blow our little rental car over the side. We were quite comfortable in the knowledge that we had purchased full insurance on the car.

Eventually we arrived at Hersonissou, and from there Koutouloufari is just a short distance. We had cheese and crackers, along with a sandwich and wine for dinner at our villa.

Thuesday - Nov 6, 2003: Day 22

Up to a rainy day, we seem to have become addicted to the Greek version of the Danish sweet roll. We had some bread we purchased Tuesday afternoon, so made toast for the first time since arriving on Crete.

All our cats stopped by for breakfast, and they invited a friend.

As we have made the trip to the airport, and shipping port at Iraklio several times, we thought we'd visit Iraklio today. This is one of the four large cities on Crete, and we've never really visited there.

On the way we passed the airport exit, and took the shipping port exit. We first stopped at a repair dock, and took some photos.

Iraklio has a modern port which accommodates container, oil, cruise, and fairy ships. There was one cruise ship leaving as we arrived.

The short trip to Iraklio is easy after it's been run a few times, and the short trip from the port was a breeze. Even though the town is large, with narrow, winding streets, we found the center of town without the assistance of a bus, as we just followed the costal road.

There is a museum here, and I do believe that we passed it twice. The traffic was very heavy, so we didn't make a third try for the museum Iím sorry to say. It was getting late in the afternoon. So after a couple hours of touring the city, we headed back to Hersonissou, and visited the ocean front area before grocery shopping, and returning to the villa.

We had sandwiches and wine for dinner again at home.

Friday - Nov 6, 2003: Day 23

Looks like we may have a nice day today, we had our usual breakfast in, and so did the cats.

Today is packing day, and the day of discovery. That is, to see if we can pack everything we've bought into our existing luggage. So we can pack it into the car this evening, for the trip to the air port tomorrow.

Once the packing was finished, we headed into Hersonissou for a little last minute souvenir shopping, and do a final email check.

Thank you for your kind attention.