When I think back on the last couple of months, John and I have both moaned about the movement restrictions, tavernas not being open and being unable to buy a cup of coffee in Ierapetra. But we also feel very fortunate to live where we do, as I hope the following text and pictures will illustrate.
In March, we gained new neighbours, Anca and Mark. They have bought a house which is close enough for me to speak to Anca from our patio!
Anca is from Romania and Mark is from England and they have lived in England for many years.
Their house has been empty for some time but the previous owners left a lot of their possessions behind.
So, it was arranged that Alkis and his men would paint both the outside and inside of the house. Then, our neighbour, Maria cleaned and tidied the house and by the time that she had finished, it looked very smart.
Anca arrived here on the 22nd March after a long journey and Mark will join her later, after he has had his second vaccination. Anca was in quarantine in her house for 10 days after she arrived and she took a covid test before she ventured out into the village.
Since then, she has organised banking and communication essentials, bought a new fridge/freezer
and experienced the delights of our local supermarket and the larger one in Ierapetra. She and I have enjoyed a number of walks round the area including one to the archaeological sites at Vrontas and Azorias, to the sea at Tholos and to the Agriomandra gorge.
She loves Greece and is enthusiastic about living in the village. She is quickly getting to know her neighbours and her ability to communicate in Greek is impressive. John and I (and our neighbours, I think) are enjoying her company a lot and it was great to get her text message encouraging me to look at the wonderful sky and rainbow from our patio. She had a similar view from hers!
We have had a mixed bag of weather over the last two months with a few days of warmth and sunshine which is quickly followed by cool temperatures, wind, rain and even snow on the hills.
Recently, it was very warm but the wind came from the south and brought with it a lot of dust in the air which is particularly horrible. John in particular and I to some extent, have been bothered by dust settling in our eyes. But now we have warmth and sunshine, so we are very happy. Either by foot or by bicycle, we have enjoyed seeing the spring flowers which are a great treat. These are some of my favourites from when I have been out walking.
But also there are beautiful flowers in our garden.
The picture below was taken from the roof of the house after lunch!
And also signs of oranges and musmula (medlar) fruit
Very near to our very clean car,there is a wonderful bush, which has been a great delight to us for weeks.
As everybody knows, I just love the varying shades of blue in the sky and the sea, and it has been particularly dramatic recently
In the last post, John and I had completed the new biometric Greek residence card process. A few weeks later, we picked up the cards from Agios Nikolaus police station. John has been asked for the card already. He produced it at the KEP office (similar to the Citizens Advice Bureau in the UK) and all the staff there crowded round to have a look at this completely new card. John and his card became quite the centre of attention! We are very glad to have them in these uncertain post-Brexit days.
We have also received our new Royal Bank of Scotland cards which were sent from the UK. They took over 3 weeks to arrive on Monday. We used the tracking service, so we could see that nothing seemed to happen for a week after they left Heathrow and then nothing happened for another week when they arrived in Athens. We don’t know if the problem is anything to do with Brexit or not. Anyway, when Manolis our postman, arrived with the package, he was a very popular man! I am, however, grateful that Anca brought out my new kindle with her from the UK. I think I would be waiting for it still, had it come by post!
John is now fully vaccinated and has a certificate to prove it. The Greek Government have now called people between the ages of 65 and 70 for appointments. I had my first dose last Saturday and the second is on the 7th May. The rate of people being vaccinated in Greece has been increased recently with new centres being opened. However, the number of new covid cases continues to be high (around 3-4,000 a day) and the number of people intubated has increased significantly. But the statistics are still low in eastern Crete.
It was Easter in the UK at the beginning of April but the Orthodox Easter here is not until May 2nd. Even though it is late and central to the Greek calendar, there is still some doubt about what will be permitted by then. The Churches are open now and we expect to see family members from Athens and other parts of Greece.
Recently, I completed a walk with friends that I have wanted to do for a long time. John drove me to Lastros, the next village towards Siteia, and I walked along the path on the other side of the mountain, Kapsas with friends. We can see can see Kapsas from our house (see the picture of it with the rainbow above). Here, I am looking down on Lastros.
After admiring the village, I looked up to my right and caught a glimpse of a church at the top of this hill. This is a walk for another day.
We came down the other side and then walked to Melisses from this gate. Some years ago, I tried to do this walk from Melisses, but failed to find the path. There is a good path as seen below
and it goes all the way to Melisses with red dots to help. But I found out this time, the reason why I couldn’t find it in Melisses – the path ends up in someone’s garden and there is no sign to indicate its existence! Anyway, I will know now where to go. I am grateful to Kathy for showing me the way!
We have a steady input of home entertainment. We enjoyed two excellent zoom presentations by members of INCO. One was on the subject of Scouts in Crete. It was interesting to hear about the history of the Scouts and that there are Scouts and Guides groups both in Ag Nik and Ierapetra. The other was about Thomas Spratt, an English Vice-Admiral and geologist who wrote ‘Travel & Researches in Crete’ in 1865 which describes the geography, geology and natural history of the island.
Back in March, John and I attended a meeting in Ierapetra with a notary and the owner of the land, directly in front of us. The meeting went well and the contract is being drawn up now. It is a little complicated because our neighbour, Giannis wants access through this piece of land to his but John met him recently
and it hopefully will be resolved soon.
Our son, Graham and his girlfriend, Rhiannon, are off to Mexico City for two years at the beginning of August. This was a surprise but John and I are both excited by it. Graham is going to teach Chemistry at Greengates International School there. We are certainly looking forward to visiting them!
I am hoping that by the next Post, the tavernas will be open. The need for a meal out, is reaching crisis point!!!! I have added a few more recipes to my limited range including a very nice blueberry and lemon cake by Ottolenghi, but I do miss the fun and atmosphere of going to a taverna. And not having to cook will be absolutely wonderful!!!
There may be changes locally soon. While I was walking back from Tholos beach one day I saw this sign.
It indicates the start of the development of a luxury tourist resort on the hillside to the left of Tholos Beach. John is grumbling! I expect there will be more information about this soon.