Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Things Ready

Our travel day is drawing near. I've checked and rechecked to make sure I have everything packed and ready to go. We got our clothes, beach gear, maps, transformer pad, international phone, 240v plugs, high def camera, homemade trail mix and games for the plane. I can't think of anything else. Have we forgotten anything?

Here's our version of the Target's Caramel Cashew Trail Mix:

3 c. salted peanuts
3 c. salted cashews
2 cups chocolate caramels
2 cups M&M's

 Oh yes, I forgot I'll need a good book! 

The only thing that is left is to make sure we have all of our ducks in a row for our flight, lodging and rental car.  

Now we just sit back relax and wait for our travel date.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Travel Tips To Keep In Mind

The trip is all laid out and posted on my blog. It looks like we will be able to board our flight without any check in luggage. LOVE my new DVF small suitcase! The dry run packing of my carry-on and 

a this nifty canvas backpack as my personal bag is a can-do! We are so ready to go on this trip.

Putting our itinerary on a blog has been a brilliant idea. We can constantly refer to it for restaurants reservations, maps with directions to our destinations and emergency/information numbers and addresses. With all this right at our fingertips, we won't be standing around bored wondering what the island has to offer.  

Here's some good to know info:

Crete has become very commercialized with all the resorts and growth that the island has seen since we were there 25 years ago. They do have certain customs and differences that I want to put on here that we can use as a reference.

Gas (petro) stations close generally at 10:30 p.m. Make sure tank is full before traveling away from the bigger towns. The further into the island you drive, the less chance we will have of seeing a gas station.

.Midday nap is observed 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Do Not Disturb!
 The 'midday' nap: Or-ess kee-neese e-see-hee-as or 'hours of popular quiet'

 Keep little tokens for gestures of appreciation. 

Road Safety, there doesn't seem to be any rules of the road. The locals seem to drive by blind faith.  Note to self...stick to the main roads.

 Beach tips: Keep sunscreen, bottled water and sunglasses handy. Leave nothing on the beach except your footprints.

                                   Basic Operating Hours 

                                         Post Offices: 08:00 to 20:00, Mondays to Saturdays
                                         Shops: 08:00 to 13:00; 17:00 to 20:00, daily; closed Sundays
                                         Museums: 08:00 to 19:00, daily
                                         Business Offices: 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday

                                       Tourist Information:

                                                              Chania Tourist Office
                                                              Kriari 40, Megaro Pantheon
                                                              73100 Chania
                                                              Tel: +30 2821092943
                                                              Fax: +30 2821092624

                                                              Rethymnon Tourist Office
                                                              Eleftheriou Venizelou Paralia Rethymnou
                                                              74100 Rethymno
                                                              Tel: +30 2831029148
                                                              Fax: +30 2831056350

                                                              Tourism Directorate of Crete
                                                              Xanthoudidou 1
                                                              71202 Heraklion
                                                              Tel: +30 2810228225
                                                              Fax: +30 2810226020

                                                              Agios Nikolaos
                                                              Crete Information Office
                                                              Marina Agiou Nikolaou
                                                              72100 Agios Nikolaos
                                                              Tel: +30 2841082384
                                                              Fax: +30 2841082386

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Islet of Spinalonga/Agios Nikolaos Day 7

 Day 7

Off the island and onto an islet kinda day. After we check out Spinalonga, we will venture on to St. Nicholas/Agios Nikolaos. I'm hoping to get the book that was written about the history of the leper colony (Spinalonga) read before our trip. I think it will help us to appreciate the magnitude of the isolation that the people went through that had to live there.  

 A few aerial views of Spinalonga.

 9:00 a.m. Be ready to catch ferry at Agios Nikolaos

10:00:00 a.m. Enjoy ferry ride to the Islet of Spinalonga -Call ahead for ferry schedule. Greek National Tourism Organisation in Crete: 28210 246299.
The tour begins from Medical Centre Hersonissos. Accompanied by an English-speaking guide, set out in an air-conditioned coach for a sightseeing tour of Spinalonga Island in Crete.

Visit the abandoned fortress which was till 1903 a leper colony, and see visible signs of Venetian occupation of the island. Take a walking tour of the village.

 10:00 a.m. Spinalonga -explore the fortress. And visit the Venetian Fortress (in 1579 and under the supervision of the Proveditor Giacomo Foscarini, the Venetians built one of their strongest forts in Crete on the islet of Spinalonga.). 

Eat at a taverna or eat snacks from knapsack if there are no tavernas or restaurants.

 11:30 a.m. Spinalonga -Snorkel the beautiful waters. 

 2:00 p.m. Spinalonga -Head back to Crete and enjoy Agios Nikolaos.

 2:30 p.m. Agios Nikolaos -Shop for fine jewelry...just kidding. 

 2:30 p.m. Agios Nikolaos -In reality we will be shopping like this.

5:00 p.m. Lake Voullismeni -is a former sweetwater small lake, that was later connected to the sea, by a channel dug in 1870. It is one of the landmarks of the small town of Agios Nicolaos, in eastern Crete, and according to mythology, the goddesses Athena and Artemis Britomartys bathed in it.

7:00 p.m. Agio Nikolaos -Eat dinner at Avli Taverna.

9:00 p.m. Our last night on the island of Crete. One last stroll through downtown Iraklion before we call it a night. 

Even though I begrudgingly took the time to thoroughly study the map of Crete. I'm so glad I did it now. It's time consuming but well worth the effort. It's not something I'd normally do but with the language barrier and the differences in any given map of Crete, it was a smart thing to do. 

Lasithi Prefecture Day 6

Day 6

Lasithi, this will be our fourth and final prefecture (district, or section) of Crete to travel through. We hope to do the following. But, if we don't it's because we got side tracked and found something way more fun to do. But since we are still in the planning stage, here's what we think we have going on for our sixth day on the island:

7:00 a.m. Agios Nicolaos - Walk and explore, eat a picnic breakfast on the beach at Mirabello Bay.

 9:00 a.m. Sitia  -Visit Kazarma Venetian Fortress. Directions: When you are at the port of Sitia turn you back to the sea and look at the right side of the town, ... you see it... nice... now just go is easy. Don t drive your car, prefer the stairs the atmosphere is fantastic. 10 min. walk.

Ambeles Taverna at Zakros, Lasithi.
AMPELES tavern is located next to the apartments by the main road Zakros – Kato Zakros, in an excellent position within the wild Cretan countryside, offering spectacular view of the Kato Zakros bay.
We offer unique traditional Cretan cuisine with homemade products.
All the fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat and olive oil we offer in our restaurant are our own products. At the same time you can taste fresh fish from the sea.
Manager: Vassilia Tzouanaki
Email: mariannatzouanaki@yahoo.com
Phone: 6977-741423 & 6972-221924

 12:00 p.m. Zakros -Lunch then Hike Zakros Gorge.

4:00 p.m.  Ziros -Visit a charming winery.


6:00 p.m. Lasithi Plains -Windmills


 7:30 p.m. Malia -Walk the beach 

 8:30 p.m. Koutouloufari -Dinner at Galini Restaurant 
tel. 28970 21026 rezerve

Monday, August 13, 2012

Iraklion Prefecture Cont. Day 5

Day 5

 Iraklion has a big city also called Iraklion. There is so much to do there that we couldn't possibly cover it in a day. Day Five will be spent doing the things that we didn't get to the day before. The day will go something like this:

7:00 a.m. Xerofarago Gorge -Travel thru Ano Vianno And Sidonia then hike the gorge.

    10:00 a.m. Elounda Beach -Swim/Snorkel

12:00 p.m. Anopoli -Picnic along the way then visit the Minoan 

3:00 p.m. Knossos -Visit the Minoan Palace site.

5:00 p.m. Knossos Beach -Walk along the beach and explore.

7:00 p.m. Iraklion -Dinner at Sun Dried Kitchen.
Reservation is mandatory via Greekeat. Call our representatives at (+30) 211 770 3577 in order to make your reservation.