Monday, 5 June 2017

A Wee Cretan Break-part one

Tuesday 23rd May

                          Arrived in Crete for a few days R&R and after gaming a Greek Island game for the past few weeks I was really looking forward to this trip.
                               An uneventful flight had us landing at Heraklion airport at about 8.30 at night and landed right in the middle of a good old guddle(which is a Scottish word for a mess)but I'm told it is just a typical evening with about six flights arriving one after another so getting your luggage and finding your transport to your hotel was a bit of a nightmare.
A wee bit quieter than when we arrived
                            Transport was duly found and we headed out of the airport glancing at an F5 fighter they have as a gateguard.
I'm afraid I pinched this one from the internet as mine was taken from inside a bus
                      After about a two hour bus trip as we had to drop other people off at their respective hotels first we arrived at our hotel which was a very nice shack indeed.Luggage was dropped off in the room before we headed for a wee nightcap before bed.
                                    The sun greeted us the following morning getting our holiday off to a shining start.Our intention for the first day was to get the lay of the land before settling down for some vitamin d on the beach.

Looks out of place

Lifeboats on a pirate ship?

Lady Watson looking to be pressganged.
                                   We stayed in the town of Rethymno which althoughh being one of the largest towns in Crete has a slower pace than some of the other towns meaning it has the low key combination of holiday town with plenty of historical sites.
WW2 Greek memorial in Rethymnon
                                   One aspect of WW2 history that I have an interest in is the German airborne invasion of Crete in May 1941.I am not going to bore you with all the details just that the Germans launched an airborne attack on Crete and they eventually won with a close victory over British Commonwealth and Greek forces albeit with heavy casualties.
                                 Rethymnon was mainly garrisoned by Austrailians and they did extreme damage to the German forces but bad communication meant that the order to retreat towards the south of the island didn't come through meaning that an awful lot of them went into captivity.

Australian war memorial

With a wreath dedicated to the All Blacks who fought on the island

                                 Nowadays Rethymnon is a semi busy tourist spot with a nice yachting harbour watched over by a Venitian lighthouse dating back to the 16th century.The town consists of the old quarter which is a maze of Veniatian style streets surrounding the old fortress with the newer more commercial town stretching further out from the old city walls.The difference between the quiet narrow streets of the old town and the diesel belching car and bus ridden streets of the newer town are immense
About to enter the fortress

Various pics from fortress
                                              The fortress of Rethymnon was built by the Venitians in the late 16th century  and remained in their hands until they were evicted by the Turks in 1646.The only main difference between Venitian and Turk ownership of this fortress is that the cathedral church of Ayios Nikolaos(St Nicholas) was replaced by a mosque.

One of the gunpowder stores scattered around the fortress

Lady Watson heading for the mosque suitably attired

She hates a flower
                                       A large settlement was situated inside the fortress until about the 1860's when it was levelled whereupon restoration work began and still continues to this day.
Neither the Greek national dress attired guy or the violinist were doing much business

                                           After we left the fortress we made our way into the centre of the town as i wanted to check bus times to Maleme and hill 107.Greek bus stations are both entertaining and a nightmare.A bus will be announced and there is a mad stampede towards the bus.Pure pantomime and I have it to look forward too.
A beautiful local heron albeit a show off
                                              We headed back into town stopping off at the Australian war memorial to take a few photographs.
A memorial to Greek army officers
                                On our way back into town we found a proverbial oasis in the old town in the form of The Lemon Tree which at first we thought was a small cafe but we were led into a tree covered garden where we sampled some of the local delights including the ubiquitous Greek salad which could have fed an army and this was only a single portion.After spending a pleasant hour in The Lemon Tree we headed back to our hotel and a leisurely jacuzzi for Lady Watson and a shift in the microgym for myself.The price of vanity.
The Lemon tree.
                                           Evenings were usually spent out walkin and perusing the boats in the harbour and what a beautiful they were ranging from small yachts to motor cruisers which probably cost more than a third world navy.Lady Watson kept on turning down any interest I showed in any of the boats.
What a waste

My fav!
                                            Ces't la vie.

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