Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Return to Hill 107

Saturday/Sunday 27th/28th May.

                        This was a quiet day involving taking a few photos around Rethymnon harbour as every time I came before I forgot my camera. Before indulging in my camera fest with all these boats around I indulged in my growing love for Greek coffee.The only bad thing about it is that the bottom half of the cup is just sludge.
This was the door to the Venitian lighthouse-f'ng sacrilidge

Lady Watson caught eyeing up the hunky waiters.
  We ventured back onto the beach for some more vitamin D before heading back to the hotel whereon Lady Watson was heading to the sauna for some hotstone treatment whatever that incurs.The price of vanity.
No trains on Crete they said.
You had me at Volkswagen

Can't get enough boats.

This is what Lady Watson said I could afford
The highlight of the evening was witnessing the arrival back from Santorini of the new seacat ferry which was in and out of the harbour in literally 15 minutes but she was a gorgeous beast that you could hear never mind see for miles due to her huge jet engines.

Beautiful beast

These passengers got off the ferry quicker than the Americans at Omaha beach.

And she disappears into the sunset.
                          Being that the Sunday was the anniversary of the British retreat from Crete I thought it would be apt to visit Maleme and the German military cemetery on Hill 107 the place where my blog title comes from.I have visited this place twice in the past six years and I still feel in awe of the place.I like it as it is so quiet as it should be where the only sounds were the birds and the distant sound of light aircraft taking off from nearby Maleme airfield the scene of all the mayhem all these years ago.
Where do I start?

Hill 107

The object of the battle.
                                       Going to Maleme from Rethymnon is proving to be a piece of cake as all it involves is a bus trip to Chania and a further short bus trip to Maleme then a short walk on a well posted road through the olive groves leading to the gate of the cemetery.
"Double Greek coffee please."

                                         I first stopped off at the Hill 107 cafe for a pick me up in the form of a double Greek coffee.You have to have a double as the coffee is half coffee and half sludge but it still tastes wonderful.

                                        When you climb the steps into the cemetery you are faced with a giant cross which points the way into  the well laid out lines of gravestones which to a non German would hark at typical German efficiency but radiates more a state of Teutonic harmony.
Two unknown German soldiers

I believe Geistert means ghost ????
 The black marble gravestones lie flat in a heady haze of red flora giving the place a nice peaceful aura.There are memorials not only to the German  paratroop dead but also to German sailors who lost their lives around the island in a desperate attempt to reinforce the island by sea but were intercepted by the Royal Navy.

                                                There is also a memorial to 42 aircrew and soldiers who lost their lives in an aircrash on the snow covered Cretan mountains in 1975.

  The cemetery is situated on Hill 107 where the turning point of the battle of Crete occurred where for some still unknown reason allied soldiers left their position on the hill giving the Germans the opportunity to take the hill and allow reinforcements to land by aircraft sealing the fate of the island.
Recent ceremony
                                                   I spent a couple of peaceful hours wandering around the cemetery noting how how most of the paratroopers lost their lives within a couple of days.No wonder that Adolf decided on more large paratroop landings.Malta must have breathed a sigh of relief.
The plan for the drop on Maleme and it lasted until the first bullet.

Walter Koch -hero and gentleman
                                               If any would be historian comes to Crete I couldn't recommend this place enough.There is a display with maps,pictures and writing describing the mayhem and also the work done since then to bring all the remains together under one roof so to speak.
Greek politician who looks remarkably like a Scottish politician.
                                                I headed back down the hill towards Maleme stopping off at a Minoan tomb which is situated just off the road.An added bonus to my trip.

                                                No doubt I'll be back.

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