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Trip Report Trip Report Western Crete, Paros and Naxos 2015

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Trip Report Western Crete, Paros and Naxos 2015

We visited Greece for the 13th time from mid May until Mid June. We wanted this trip to be all about the places we liked best from past trips with a few new locations thrown in for fun.

We arrived in Chania Crete, jet lagged but full of Adrenalin after 24 hours and 5 flights. At times like this I sometimes wonder at the wisdom of living on Vancouver Island in the far west of Canada and making Greece our favourite holiday destination. I envy the Europeans that can hop a flight and three hours later are in Greece.

This trip we chose not to rent a car so we hopped the bus and were in Chania by 7. Chania has lost none of its charm. It is wonderful to walk down Theotokopoulou Street and immediately become immersed in history. Again we were staying at Pension Nora only this year Natalie had a surprise for us. They have added a three story traditional Cretan house complete with a kitchen and a shower on the first floor. The bathroom and a sitting room were on the second floor and the bedroom and balcony on the third floor. I think 400 years ago Cretans were much smaller than today as I managed to whack my head going down the stairs a couple of times. It’s a perfect location and is quiet at night but less than a two minute stroll to the main harbour.

We showered and headed out for an ouzo and white wine on the harbour and headed into the back alleys to Portes taverna. We had Camarilized onion and fava beans, and Boureki as starters and shared a main of stuffed chicken. With a liter of house wine we paid 31 euros. Then off to bed.

Next morning we woke up early ( I thought we were going to sleep in but no such luck) I found a mini market and bought Nescafe, and evaporated milk and thus fortified we decided to walk around Chania back alleys to refamiliarize ourselves with the old town. We were stunned by how quiet and different it is with all the business closed. The alleys are larger and uncluttered and we barley could figure out where we were without all the outside wares on the street from the shops as landmarks. We eventually found ourselves up on one of the city wall bastions which gave us a great view of the city and all the way over to the White Mountains.

We walked for two and a half hours which became our pattern for the rest of the trip: get up early have coffee and then walk or hike and then have breakfast between 10 to 12 O’clock. We actually lost weight on this trip but more on that later.

The rest of the day we visited museums shopped for food and wine and went looking for the Turkish section of Chania called Spantzia. We just wandered around and eventually found it. This area is interesting. It’s not as well maintained as the old town and harbour and has several derelict buildings but we enjoyed our visit. I think we got more lost trying to find our way back to the harbour than we did finding Spantzia. In the evening we spent an hour at a harbour bar again with an Ouzo for me and a white wine for Lolly.

For dinner we went to Tamam our favourite taverna. I think I need to stop recommending it on the forum because we couldn’t get a seat until 10 O’clock. It seems, one now needs a reservation. The food continues to be good and well priced. We shared mixed croketts, Tamam salad with an avocado, walnut dressing and Lamb stew with a half litre of wine. 32 euros

On our last day we continued to absorb the atmosphere of Old town Chania. We walked out to the lighthouse visited the central market and the outdoor street market and when no one was looking I slipped through a gap in the fence and visited the Bastion of San Salvatore part of the city walls near Theo street. On previous trips it has been blocked off and inaccessible.

We watched the sunset from a harbour front bar and then walked over to Amphora taverna on the harbour. I have stated several times that I have found the prices food and service to be less than acceptable on the waterfront as you are paying for the view. Thats why we find our favourite tavernas in the back alleys.

Having said that Amphora has a sign that says “we don’t press you we respect you.” They don’t have a greeter trying to bully you into the tavern. Since it seems to always be full, that suggests to me that the food is probably good the prices are ok, and it does have that view so we tried it.
We shared their mixed plate with mousaka, stuffed vine leaves, bareki, Imam and giant beans. With wine, 25 euros. I highly recommend this tavern.
Here are pictures of our Chania visit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157655164548880

Footnote: Our trip was before the end of June economic crisis but we found the Greek people to be friendly and hospitable although there was an undercurrent of worry. Many told us they "lived with hope for the future" The ATM's were stocked with euros and there were no line ups.

Coming up Next: our visit to Sougia and the Libyan Sea.

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    Hi Tommmo. Last year we rented a car for 10 days to tour the Peloponnese. I found that I was missing much of the scenery just paying attention to the road. At the end of the 10 days I was pretty tired ( I am in my early 60's and seem to have lost some youthful energy) We subsequently went to Crete and I thought lets just try this on the bus. A big part of that was were were heading to the Libyan Sea and visiting the villages and that whole trip was done by ferry. There was no need of a car. I found I liked the buses and the low cost so this year we just decided to try the whole vacation by bus.

    As for price increases we try to stay in family run small studios around 30 to 35 euros a night. This year we were paying about 40 euros. Even with the poor exchange rate on the Canadian dollar that is still a good price.
    Spirits have certainly increased in price (taxes) but wine and dining seemed to be about the same. Subsequently there have been tax increases on tavernas and hotels so it will be interesting to see prices next year.

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    Interesting ,and food for thought. We're in 70s and I can't yet imagine not cruising out to little known places to explore.Parking,as in Chania is a hassle no doubt...but I'm too impatient to wait for busses and be tied to their schedules. A crash in Turkey reminds us of safety issues as well in driving,yet we've driven in so many countries worldwide.... on both sides of the road!
    We'll check Nora's ,we enjoyed Natalie's last visit there.We plan to return to Milos again, try Folegandros , then we're flying into Sicily for the first time, for 3 weeks and back to Brisbane from Istanbul end Oct.
    Looking forward to more great trip report from you folks.....

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    Tommmo there is free parking at the waterfront foot of Theotokopoulo street. You have to compete but it is there. See the images at the end of this album. Natalies Nora and Jason studios are also in the album.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632118491316

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    Part Two Sougia

    May 21 We took the bus to Sougia. I have driven these roads in rental cars in the past but the bus trip is amazing. All those narrow mountain winding switchback roads. This is the first time I actually saw any of the scenery. When driving, I only saw the road in front of my white knuckles on the steering wheel. While the car gives us flexibility, the bus is more relaxing and only cost us 15 euros for two.

    We arrived at our hotel Oceanis which is directly across the street from the beach. Our ocean view room had not been vacated by the previous tenant so we were given a suite at the back of the hotel. That was a bit annoying but the suite was actually less expensive and had two rooms and a kitchen. We only had to spend one night there but that got us thinking perhaps we should look for a different hotel for our next trip.

    We took a stroll along the beach and I had a quick dip. Mid May is a bit early in the season to expect warm water and I can attest to the fact that the water is quite cool. I tried to trick my wife into taking the plunge by telling her that after the first minute or so the water felt fine. She told me that she was quite content to sit on my towel and see how long it would take for my face turn blue and my teeth to chatter. She timed me, it was 5 minutes.

    For dinner we walked around the village and found what looked like a popular taverna which we had missed on our first visit. Taverna Polifimos which I think means Cyclops Cave. We had a lamb stew with eggplant and it was excellent. Total of 24 euros for salad, stew and wine.

    May 22 Next morning we had our early morning coffee and decided to take a walk through the village to the little harbour. Just past the village we saw 4 women walking purposefully up a side road that climbed up into the mountain. Because they looked like they knew what they were doing we decide to follow them up. After about 5 minutes we caught up and asked what was ahead on the road. It turns out that there was to be a wedding the next day and they were just practicing the walk up to the church. They wanted to do it today because tomorrow they were going to have to wear high heels. On the way we passed a goat paddock and watched the chaos as their owner arrived with feed and water. There was also a natural spring and a view point. The church was a small one with a wonderful view over the Libyan Sea. What a great way to start our day in Sougia.

    We returned to the hotel, transferred to our new room overlooking the courtyard and the beach. By then it was already 11 O’clock. That seemed to be a perfect time for a wee nap. In the afternoon we shopped both mini marts looking for the best produce, cheese, wine and Cretan rusks. I unsuccessfully tried to lure Lolly back into the sea but I ended up by myself again. While the water was cold the sun was warm and was hot, so the beach was still a good place to hang out.

    On the way back to the hotel, we passed the parking area by the beach that was being transformed into a massive outdoor wedding reception area. There were hundreds of tables probably a thousand chairs with portable washrooms, potted palm trees, a generator, with light stands, a stage and apparently half the village working on the project. It turns out that one of the ladies we met that morning was the finance of the father of the groom and we scored an invitation to attend the reception. Apparently they had invited 600 but were pretty sure that 1,000 people would show up including everyone in the village and probably a bunch of the tourists as well. There is something oddly exciting to witness Greek organization in action. Lots of shouting and gesturing and more bosses than workers. I am glad we had reserved our room 10 months in advance as there didn’t appear to be an empty hotel room in the village.

    For dinner we went to Ribitiko Taverna a pleasant tavern with a big wood fired pizza oven on the front porch. We shared their great beetroot salad, with shredded beets, carrots cabbage walnuts and apple along with a main of stuffed Eggplant. Total 23 e including a half litre of house wine.
    For our late night entertainment we went back to the reception venue to watch frantic last minute activity, gaily illuminated with the portable lights. This was turning out to be fun.

    May 23 Sougia is well known for hiking activity but I have a bad knee and have always preferred to walk on level ground for short distances. However the walk up to the church had encouraged us so we decided to try a small hike up the E4 hiking trail that started right beside the reception area. We had noticed a signpost with images of the area and apparently there was a Roman Aqueduct somewhere in the region so we thought we could find it. Armed with hats and a bottle of water off we went. Lolly only had a pair of Dawg open toed sandals but fortunately had quite sturdy soles.

    From the odd looks we were receiving I suspect we looked a little inadequate on our walk up into the mountain as we were passed by unnecessarily fit looking people equipped with walking poles, canteens, bandannas, knapsacks and hiking boots. Undaunted we went, passing little farms, some goats and rooster, stray dogs, olive groves and hills. We eventually had to bushwack a couple hundred meters through an olive grove and discovered a strange circular stone artefact made of stones about 10 feet high: just a vertical circle that looked like a stargate. Encouraged and just a little bit lost we decided to take the road directly up into the mountains until we had a view of Sougia from a lookout. We never believed we could do something like this. We had discovered the joy of hiking!

    Mind you I quickly lost the joy when I discovered that going down a mountain with my knee is actually much harder than climbing up.

    By the time we got back to the hotel I was very happy we had purchased a litre and a half bottle of wine the day before because even though it wasn’t yet noon, I was in need of a medicinal glass or two.

    The afternoon saw Lolly reading in the hotel courtyard while I ventured back to the beach to soak up some sun.

    In the late afternoon the village was inundated with a strange assortment of people. Ladies in evening gowns, men in jacket and tie or open neck shirts and a small group of rather loud long haired guys in shorts and no shirts sitting at the table next to us. It turned out they were the groomsmen. Hopefully they cleaned up ok as, the village quickly emptied and the long walk to the Church began. I was distracted by my medicinal ouzo and kind of missed the departure. Lolly forced me into a walk around the village and we ran into the bride and her ladies leaving their hotel. They had a marvellous quirky antique car which was blocking the whole street, stopping traffic and pedestrians. The bride was posing in, around and on the car for photographs while her ladies stood around holding flowers. All this was topped off by a little dog running around and barking at all the hub bub. Fortunately I had my camera and got some nice candid shots. I noted it was now 6:30 by the time the bride’s party left. I was sure the church wedding was supposed to start at 6. Oh well such is life in a Greek village.

    For dinner we went to Ancorage Taverna. We ate there last year and loved their stuffed mushrooms so had to return. They were stuffed with seeded tomatoes, soft cheese and herbs. We also shared a main of bacon wrapped backed chicken. Both dishes were excellent. Sharing, this was 20 e with wine.

    By the time we finished dinner, the reception was in full swing and even though we had an invitation we couldn’t see two free seats so we went back to the hotel and a good nights sleep.

    May 24 Encouraged by our successful hike the day before we decided to repeat the hike but to continue past our turn around point and try to reach the headland high over Sougia. We just had to see what was over the next hill. Noting all the equipment experienced hikers carried we took 2 bottles of water. As we climbed higher the road began to peter out and in many places was more like a stone strewn riverbed than a path. We eventually had to call a halt and were planning to turn back but after a short rest we decided to see what was around the next bend. We did that 4 different times and suddenly we were on a level ground and about 100 meters ahead we could see over the side and down the coast. What a beautiful site high mountains plunging into the blue Sea. This moment was worth all the effort. We thought that was quite the accomplishment for two out of shape, banged up, 60 something, first time hikers.

    The afternoon was spent at the beach and the beachfront bar with the now habit forming ouzo, recovering from the experience.

    For dinner we returned to Polyphilmos for shared fried peppers and a main of marinated pork on the spit. With a nice house Syrah for 24 euros.
    Considering how small Sougia is, the three tavernas we dined at provided excellent food and all at a reasonable price. We will be back.

    Here are images of Sougia
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157653311291723

    Next the ferry ride from Sougia to Chora Sfakion.

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    Y'know, I passed up Crete this year because I wouldn't have a driver along. You have made me start a re-think. It can't really be a Grand Finale for me without a return to Crete. Keep persuading me!

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    More reports to come Jan.
    Heck it was your solo bus tour of the Peloponnese a few years ago that got us thinking about doing it all by bus.

    Certainly you know how well the bus system worked on Naxos in June

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    Food for thought about using busses instead of a car. Then again, often we've stopped to enjoy a spot with views and watched the bus whizz by. Sougia, in fact the whole area east of Chora Sfakion and around towards Kissamos, is on our proposed route next month, so we follow with much interest .Rough seas stopped the ferry out of CS last time there. The hotel and restaurant information is most welcome too, thanks....

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    Here is the next installment.

    From Sougia to Chora Sfakion.

    May 24 We took the coastal ferry to Agia Romouli. It is a wonderful trip that highlighted the rugged mountains of South Crete as they meet the deep blue of the Libyan Sea. It is a short hop probably about an hour. We had a quick breakfast at a taverna at the harbour. We shared a Greek style omelette and since it was mid morning a beer seemed perfect for the occasion. I think next time we will spend a couple of nights in this quiet village and will try to hike up the Samaria Gorge to the iron gates.

    The ferry from Chora Sfakion arrived and we were on our way again. We had a brief stop in Loutro, which is a charming seaside village. We had planned to spend a couple of nights there but the hotels we wanted to book wouldn’t take a two night reservation so we passed on that stop and remained on the ferry for the last leg into Chora Sfakion.

    Chora Sfakion is one of those places where stuff seems to go wrong for us. Not to suggest that there is anything wrong with Chora Sfakion it’s just, if something is going to go wrong, this is where it happens. On our first trip several years ago we drove to CS as we wanted to experience the rush of people returning from the Samaria Gorge excursion. We found a nice room but had to negotiate to get the Air Conditioning controller and a fridge for our room. We sat at a taverna with a good view of the ferry dock and sure enough hundreds of exhausted looking hikers poured off the ferry. Much to our surprise virtually all of them trudged up the hill and climbed aboard buses. Instead of having an evening at a taverna surrounded by hikers and their storys we were left alone in Chora Sfakion with one other couple for dinner that night.

    We booked into our hotel, Lefka Ori. While it was a bargain price at 32 euros a night it wasn’t quite what I thought we had booked. I thought it was a studio but wasn’t. It was said to have an ocean view and did but much of the view was blocked by an apartment building. Bad research on my part. But we were only there for 2 nights so we decided to make the best of it and explore the village. We climbed up to the chapel of Agios Antonios which is in a cave. It gave us a great view over the town and the sea. We walked into the harbour to get information on the water taxi for our trip to Sweetwater beach the next day. I felt much better about Chora Sfakion and really couldn’t recall why we didn’t like it last time.

    We had a snack on our balcony but suddenly there was a monster thunderstorm with lightning flashes and continuous thunder for 10 minutes. We have never heard thunder for that long before. It was somewhat unnerving but then passed.

    We had dinner at Obras Gialos. In the afternoon we had stopped there when one of the waiters offerd us a quick lesson in speaking Greek. Unfortunately none of it stuck with us but we decided to reward his efforts by eating there. We had a lovely place right over the harbour and ordered fried white bait (tiny little whole fish that you just eat whole) and Grilled lamb with wine 20 E.

    We wandered back to our hotel to discover they were having a Cretan Night performance that evening. The music was incredibly loud. It was strident and sounded angry and it went on till 2 AM. Even ear plugs didn’t help.

    May 26 Next morning we went to the harbour to catch the water taxi to Sweetwater Beach. The old guy at the shack didn’t speak any English so conversation was a bit limited but when we asked about todays weather the old guy scowled but young man sitting nearby indicated “it should be OK.” So we took the ferry to Sweetwater. It is a crescent beach under towering cliffs but its big attraction is the fresh water springs that create little pools of drinkable water right on the beach. Apparently someone was killed there a week before when rocks fell from the cliffs. There were engineers wearing hard hats looking very serious and pointing up at the cliffs. We took two chairs and an umbrella right at the waters edge as far from the cliffs as possible.

    This beach is also the halfway point on the mountain hike from Chora Sfakion and Loutro. There were probably 50 hikers who passed by over the time we were there but none of them stopped for a quick dip. I thought that was a bit strange. Apparently these people at a more accurate weather forecast, as by mid afternoon big black clouds rolled in and it got windy and cool. Everyone on the beach headed for the little taverna at the dock. Remembering yesterday’s thunderstorm we asked them to radio for the water taxi. Even at 24 euros for the radio call we thought that was a bargain to get away. Fortunately another couple decided to share our boat so we shared half the fare. Just as we arrived back in Chora Sfakion the clouds blew away and out came the sun. Oh well.

    In the evening we went to a taverna for dinner and noticed clouds coming towards us from the sea. They looked odd and there was a dark reflection in the water. The sky continued to darken and then the thunder and lightning started and to our amazement the sky turned orange and heavy rain began. Fortunately we were tucked in under the eaves of the taverna and stayed dry but the stairway beside us became a waterfall with all of that rain. It was an end-of-the-world kind of moment.

    It turned out to be a sandstorm with sand blowing in from the Sahara desert

    .Sorry this is a bit of a long album but the Chora Sfakion images are number 86 to 98 on the first page and number 99 to 131 on the second page. The album is actually of all the villages on the Libyan Sea taken over two trips
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5/sets/72157645487373222

    Ferry trip Sougia to Chora Sfakion
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5/sets/72157653434073393
    Next Rethymnon

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    Benicia I have to do Rethymnon, Plakias and then Heraklion before I get to Paros and finally Naxos. I suspect that will take me a few days to get that far.
    Mokka the daytime temperatures were in the high 20's low 30's but there was always a nice cooling breeze. It always cools down at night.

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    Crete has been on my 'list' for a while, your report (and photos) just moved it to the top of the list.

    Can I ask why you repeatedly go to Greece? What is it that keeps bringing you back?

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    Ah Isabel what a great question. Back in 1996 after a 5 year salary freeze my company finally gave us a bonus and since we had learned to live frugally I decided to blow it on a vacation. We had been to the Caribbean so I said to my wife if you could go anywhere in the world other than the Caribbean where would it be. Without hesitation she said Greece and I pulled out a newspaper add that I had ripped out of the Sunday Travel section and said "good here is a vacation package to Greece I will book it tomorrow."

    I can't really tell you why we both chose Greece, probably the myths and legends we studied in School. Any way that why we went in the first place.

    Why do we return so often. Greece and its people, their innate sense of hospitality, friendliness, safety and history seem to have a way to just call us back. It is foreign and different from Canada but we have a wonderful sense of peace and well being while we are there.
    It has the bonus of being a fairly well priced vacation. We can go to Greece for a month on what if coasts us to go to Hawaii for two weeks.

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    Thanks for a great trip report. we are planning our first trip to Greece for next summer (approx 2 weeks) and are totally flummoxed by all the choices....so with all your experience, why are Crete, Naxos and Paros your favorites? and is Crete too large to stay in one location an explore all of it?

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    Actually Naxos and Western Crete are our favourites. We still have not been able to get to Eastern Crete in a total of 5 weeks over three trips. Crete is huge and you can easily spend your two weeks just in the West.

    Naxos is special to us. We have been there 12 times with a minimum of a week and a maximum of two weeks and we keep finding new things we have never found before.

    My suggestion is to spend your two weeks in Crete.

    Or do aweek in Crete. Ferry to Santoirni for a night or two to see the caldera then spend the rest of your time on Naxos. Of course you need at least two days in Athens just because it is special. So many choices even with a very few selected destinations.
    Western Crete http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632115757899/

    Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094558042/

    A week in Naxos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157645113682278/

    Athens http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632121475515/

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    Happy trvir thanks for mentioning the food. Silly me. That is a whole category of why we go to Greece that I totally forgot. Dining out is an experience in Greece. It is expected to be lengthy with several courses shared with your table companions. Most often for us early dinner starts around 8 or 8:30 and lasts for an hour and a half to two hours. Most good tavernas don't look for turn over and you are welcome to sit, eat and talk all evening. The later diners after 11 are generally Greeks getting off work. The food is generally quite simple, and very fresh.

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    Totally forgot the food? stanbr really! But actually there has been good coverage of the tavernas encountered and the food. Definitely up there in the top experiences of Greece and rare to get a bad meal. Wine maybe still iffy sometimes but at least cheap!

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    Yes Tommmo as you know the house wines can vary greatly in quality but for the most part are OK and are always well priced. If we try a new taverna I ask for a taste of the house wine. If it is OK we will stay and order but if not we have been known to get up and walk away. Decent wine with a meal is important.

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    Rethymnon

    Wednesday May 27. We first visited Rethymnon in 2007. I had heard that Rethymnon had its charm but you had to look for it and I quite agreed with that statement. Last year we stopped in for a couple of hours on our way to Chania and the old town seemed to be revitalized. This year we decided to stay in Rethymnon to experience those changes ourselves. There has been a major revitalization in the old town. There has obviously been investment, as it is bright and lively and feels much more like the back alleys in Chania.

    We stayed at Barbara Studios just 50 meters from the old harbour and close to the Fortezza. On arrival all we could see was a blank wall and a door way but one can never tell what is on the other side of the wall. Barbara is a delightful three story complex of studio apartments with conversation nooks in the common areas with a garden and a rooftop patio with 360 degree views. It was a bargain at 45 euros a night.

    Everything was spotless except the rooftop patio which was covered with red dust. That is when we recognized what the big storm we experienced in Chora Sfakion was really a dust storm from Africa. The hotel owner told us that the streets were a red river the night before as the violent storm passed by.

    Since we were very early to arrive our room was not ready so we headed in to the old town and found a handy breakfast place with a view down a long street. It was a great moment just relaxing with coffee and watching the street wake up as shopkeepers brought out their wares and spent a lot of time washing away the red dust. Locals and tourists alike wandered past. It was a great way to get into the rhythm of Rethymnon.

    After breakfast we explored the harbour and old town area and after two hours sat down at a waterfront taverna for a relaxing hour having a snack and a drink.
    One of the waiters was hovering around at the periphery of the taverna and was acting strangely. He was trying to look busy but clearly was up to something. When the boss wasn’t looking he was baiting a fishing line and throwing it into the water. He would return to his duties until the boss was occupied and he would go back and check his fishing line. You could just tell this is going to lead to a Greek moment and of course he didn’t catch a fish but he got caught. There was a face to face confrontation, shouting and wild waiving of arms. Greek life can provide marvelous entertainment.

    We spent most of the afternoon at the studios getting familiar with the complex and hanging out on the rooftop patios. In the evening we found a nice taverna with a view over the fortezza and the harbour.
    We decided to have a pre dinner drinks but the snacks that accompanied the drinks were so substantial, olives, bread, nuts and little sandwiches that we actually were so full we skipped dinner that evening. I failed to note the name of the taverna.

    Thursday May 28. We got up early and visited the Fortezza. We had seen in back in 2007 and thought it was a good attraction but this time we were determined to really explore it. It turns out we really didn’t see much that last time as it is vast. It took us over 4 hours to see everything. It is in a good state of preservation and this fortress gives one a good idea of fortress design with its high walls and bastions that provide layers of defense. If you get to Rethymnon do plan to visit the Fortezza.

    We wandered the old town streets in the afternoon and visited our waterfront taverna again for a drink and snack. It seemed to us that with the streets so narrow everyone passing by faced a gauntlet of determined waiters trying to persuade them onto their taverna. We looked at the dinner menu and the meals appeared to be expensive. We decided the waterfront was a great place for a drink and a snack but we thought we would return to the back alleys for dinner. We found a nice taverna called Stavros and had dinner in the alley. We had their special dish, a combination of Zucchini, Carrots Potatoes cheese bacon and pork. While there was a generous serving and it was tasty but it had so many ingredients that nothing stood out as the main ingredient. With wine 24 euros.

    Images of Rethymnon

    Rethymnon https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157654700502270

    Next Back to the Libyan Sea , Plakias

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    You are right about asking to try the house wine. After we plucked up courage we found every place we asked was happy to do it. It is educational to sometimes see the waiter go over to a big box of red and squirt it into the glass.
    We stayed at Barbara Studios also in Rethymnon (with fresh cake every afternoon?) but will look for a place like near Panormos this time - small, quiet and by the sea. I recall we found an apt. there and strolled into town to find a butcher open and they took down a side of lamb and chopped our order in front of us...

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    Plakias
    May 29. We caught the early morning bus to Plakias and enjoyed a relaxing breakfast on the waterfront. We had booked Atlas Studios which was high up in the hills overlooking Plakias. We knew it was going to be a climb up there but wow is that ever steep. There is a stairway straight up the slope but we decided to take the road which was much longer but a more gentle slope since we were pulling our luggage. The final 400 meters must have been an 18 to 20% grade. We had to stop 4 times to rest. Its a good thing we had been strengthening our legs on the walks early in the trip otherwise we would never have made the climb.

    Because we were so early in the day when we arrived there was no one around other than a giant guard dog who was pretty forceful on insisting on being petted vigorously. We decided to leave our bags on the front steps and started to explore the area. Much to our chagrin the big dog came with us. Perhaps she thought we needed protection. Turned out she is called Betty and is quite gentle.

    We wandered around for an hour or so and returned to Atlas and found our bags gone and the owner waiving to us. He had taken the bags to the second story room. It was a really good room with a comfortable bed ( that is a miracle in Greece) lots of room with a kitchen and a balcony with a 180 degree view over Plakias and the Sea. At the side there was a window with a great view of three mountain villages high up above us. This place was worth the climb.

    We unpacked and walked down to the beach where we found a nice beach taverna and had an ouzo and a generous snack plate. One thing about Greece if you are in a taverna you can be as slow as you like and you can just sit there all afternoon as long as you are ordering. I headed down to the beach and had a quick swim. Later we visited a large supermarket where we reprovisioned the ouzo and wine supply and then tackled the stairs up the mountain. The stairs turned out to be a much shorter route up so we decided to suffer the pain in exchange for less time and distance back up to Atlas.

    We descended for dinner at dusk. Earlier in the season Plakias had a big fire that wiped out a portion of the waterfront tavenas and bars. We were shocked to find there was no trace of the fire. All the tavernas had put down a new concrete floor and had tables and umbrellas and were back in business. To be honest I thought the outdoor tables and umbrellas rather than the wooden structures that used to be there gave the waterfront a fresh uncluttered appearance. Having said that, it was windy and threatening rain, so we went to Gia Ma Taverna which still had its structure and was cosy and warm. I know what I say and what I do are two different things.

    We had fried egg plant, ouzo infused meatballs (yummy) and feta stuffed mushrooms plus a half litre of house wine. 23 euros.
    The walk back up to Atlas on full tummys was quite the haul.

    May 31. We wanted to have a beach day but instead of taking advantage of Plakias great beach we decided to walk all the way to Souda Beach about 4km down the coast. It was a glorious morning not too hot and the walk provided gave us vistas of a rocky coastline and blue waters. We found two chairs and an umbrella for 5 euro and had an enjoyable morning at the beach. Around 1 we set off back to Plakias. It was much hotter and the walk back seemed more strenuous than the morning walk. We couldn’t face the walk back up the hill so we went to our beach taverna with iced ouzos and spent another two hours recovering from our walk
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    That evening we dined at Kri Kri. We had Fried Eggplant with Feta as a starter and Eggplant Saganaki as a main. It had tomato, eggplant, onions, green pepper and Garlic. Both dishes were outstanding. With wine 20 euros.

    (* Just a reminder that we order one starter and one main and a half litre of house wine and share that so our dinner costs are perhaps a bit lower than a couple who orders their own starters and mains.)

    June 1. Those mountain villages we can see in the distance have been calling to us, so we pulled out our handy Samsung Galaxy and put it on walking GPS and took to the trails leading through wild country consisting of bush and olive groves up to the villages. Our first sign of civilization was a natural spring and a tiny park. Further up the path we saw an old lady working in her garden. I held up my camera and pointed to her and she gathered herself and posed like this is an everyday occurrence.

    We hit the main road and strolled through two of the villages, had a rest and a beer at a small taverna and admired the views down over Plakias. We found a small paved back road back into Plakias which saved us from the country path we had climbed up on. We returned to our beach bar and closed out the afternoon with another of those habit forming, ouzos on ice.

    For dinner we went to Taverna Sifis and for starter we had Eggplant Saganaki with Feta and Graviera cheese and a main of Lamb KIabobs. With wine 20 euros.

    The images of Plakias are incorporated into a much larger album which covers the villages on the Libyan Sea. This link is to the second page of the album. Plakias is the 33 to 76 images.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157645487373222/page2

    Next Heraklion

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    Tuesday June 2 Paros
    We took the Highspeed 4 to Santorini and then on to Paros. The ferry cost 136 euros. Our flight to Chania was less than that but it’s just the cost of connecting to the islands.

    We have stayed on Paros before at Parikia and Naoussa. While we enjoyed both previous visits, Paros is another of those islands where stuff has gone wrong for us. That has nothing to do with Paros, these things could happen anyplace. In Parikia there was a three day storm and we ended up huddled in our room the whole time. The public bathroom had no toilet paper the day I got caught short.( My wife still burst out laughing when something reminds her of that little incident.) The taverna ignored us for 45 minutes when we wanted our bill and our hotel charged us more than what we had agreed to. In Nauossa on a Saturday night the music from the bars kept us awake until 3am. Having said all that, the last time we stayed in Paros was because of a ferry strike and we couldn’t get to Naxos but could get as far as Paros. We ended up sitting under the trees at a beachside taverna had one of the most enjoyable unscheduled afternoons ever.

    Last year we took a day boat trip to the little Cyclades and it stopped at Piso Lavidi on Paros. We thought it looked like a nice quiet little town so we booked three nights at Ragoussis House just outside the village. It is an impressive looking building with access to two beaches and they provided pick up service from the port. The drive to Piso Lavidi took us through high mountains and villages and that reminded us so much of Naxos. It felt like we were coming home.

    After checking in we met the only other people in the hotel a couple from Vancouver. It seemed that on this trip virtually every other Canadian we met was from Vancouver. They were leaving the next day and gave me a tattered book called Voyager, part of the Outlander series of books. Since I had run out of new books on my kindle I happily accepted the book. This was the third book of the series. I know I am digressing now but those books are captivating. I now own the first 5 books of the series.

    We walked along the shore into Piso Lavidi, a charming little working port with lots of white and blue fishing boats, skiffs and some yachts along the taverna lined main area. Of course by then it was late afternoon and all three mini marts were closed until the evening so we had to go on short wine ration until the evening. The wind was strong so we chose a nearby taverna on the beach Filisous Lividi. It is still very early season in such a remote location but this taverna had several people which is always a good sign. We had lamb on the grill and Lagato potatoes. Apparently that is a specialty and has mashed potatoes, cream, ham and onions in the oven. If you ever get to Piso Lavidi do try this dish. 20 euros.

    June 3. After visiting all three mini marts we discovered, in remote locations, wine was pretty expensive. I remembered that we passed a Carrifore supermarket in a village just before we arrived at our hotel. There was a hill top village that we could see off in the distance so we put on our knapsack and headed out on a quest for inexpensive wine and some groceries. The village was Marpissa and we had a lovely walk along country lanes seeing Venetian era ruins and a friendly donkey along the way. Marpissa is lovely with ornate chapels, windmills, and narrow lanes. (a Note to self: if there are windmills it is likely to be windy and it was the whole time we were there.)
    We also found the Carrifore. Just a little plug for Carrifore, they have an excellent dry red wine a litre and a half for under 3 euros. We lugged two home with us.

    Late in the afternoon we returned to Piso Lavidi and enjoyed a sunset drink and had dinner at Kanosovos taverna. We had an eggplant stuffed with cheese and Roast chicken. With a half litre of wine 20 euros.

    June 3. We took the bus to Lefkes village high up in the mountains. We had heard it was lovely however after trudging around for an hour we were inspired by all the signs for the Byzantine Trail. This trail is supposed to be over 1,000 years old and leads from the village to the coast. We bought two bottles of water and began our walk. You would think with all those signs pointing to the trail someone would have thought to put an arrow at the first T intersection. Anyway that detour allowed us to visit the big cathedral church of Agia Triada.

    The trail is still partially paved with stone slabs but it is clear that not much maintenance has take place over the past 600 years as there were long stretches of loose rocks. The trail passes around the mountainside and provides great vistas. What we didn’t realize was it was 7 kilometers long. We had no choice but to keep going. I swear neither of us spoke the last two kilometers as we just concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. We finally collapsed in bed and slept for the rest of the afternoon.

    For dinner we went to a fish taverna. I am not really a fish kind of guy but Lolly needs an occasional fish feed. We ate on the waterfront of Piso Lavidi at Helios Fish Taverna. We had Cod cakes and shrimp pie with wine 22 euros.

    That evening there was a magnificent full blood moon. What a location to witness that.

    Images of the ferry trip to Paros and Piso Lavidi
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157656008345581

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    Reminding me to go back to Paros ... the back country, not just Naoussa and Parikia. however, Every time i DO go, I challenge myself to go shopping in the Parikia "agora maze" without getting lost ... and I always lose!

    Last time was in 2011 ... I was doing fine and thought, OK, now I'll leave -- and I couldn't. Lane after lane, corner after corner; I was totally trapped. It was about 2pm no one around. In Naxos, you can always find your way out of its agora because it's on that hill and you just remind yourself, keep heading DOWN. But the agora in Parikia is FLAT. Finally Iooked up, and used the sun to head EAST, finally emerged. If it had been a cloudy day, I'd be there yet!

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    Yes, that maze of alleyways around the Parikia kastro can be confusing, a bit like Mykonos without the pelicans. Once or twice when I thought I was heading back to the harbour I ended up coming out by the Ekatontapyliani Church instead. Hopefully the pirates it was designed to confuse had as much trouble finding their way through the labyrinth.

    Stanbr, I am enjoying your trip report and photos. I've always planned to walk the Byzantine Trail, but laziness usually sets in when I get to Antiparos. ;-)

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    Stanbr, greetings also from Vancouver Island, Thanks for the trip report and great pictures. MY husband and I were just talking about another trip to Greece, however we have booked air to Portugal, Paris and Province for next year.

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    Last 10 days Naxos

    June 5 We took the Blue Star ferry from Paros to Naxos and got talking with a lady who was obviously familiar with both Islands. She said something interesting. “ Paros has a feminine character subdued and quiet while Naxos is the masculine partner. Its big and bold, rising out of the sea up to the Kastro” When the ferry doors open at Naxos you can see what she was talking about. Naxos makes an immediate impression.

    I am a big fan of St George beach and other than our first trip to Naxos in 1996 have chosen to stay at St George because it is part of Naxos town and there is so much activity available there. Having said that our favourite beach is Plaka and on every trip we hop the bus a couple of times and head out to Plaka beach for a full day of sun and water.

    This time we decided to spend the first three days at Plaka just to see what it is like. On our last trip we stopped in at Cyclades Studios and thought it would be a nice place to stay. I sent them an e mail last October and booked a studio on the second floor with a view to the sea. We arrived on the bus with our luggage in tow which isn’t much fun as the whole area is sandy. The lady met us at the office and when I told her we had a reservation she indicated she has no bookings for this period and showed me her reservation book. Sometimes booking way ahead isn’t such a good idea. I asked if she had any rooms available and she said sure and took us up to the room we had visited last summer so things worked out OK. It was a lovely room with that big balcony and that ocean view. Perfect.

    We spent the afternoon at the beach and took a stroll along the sand road to stretch our legs. There was a beautiful sunset that night. The nearest taverna was Petrino which features Naxian cuisine. That sounded intriguing so we stopped in. Their menu is quite different from any we have encountered before. We had caramelized carrot soup and Odysseus pig which is apparently a 2000 year old recipe. The food was outstanding although a bit more expensive than what we normally pay. With wine 35 euros.

    June 6 The next morning we walked all the way down the beach road to Agia Anna. A few years ago I had taken pictures of the Plaka beach area including tavernas and hotels and I realized that there has been significant development since then and my photo album is seriously out of date. We spent the rest of the morning taking photos of Plaka so I now have an updated album of the area. While there has been lots of development the quiet nature of Plaka beach has not changed. What has changed is the use of quads essentially 4 wheeled two passenger vehicles. They were all over the place. Most of the drivers had white knuckles and somewhat petrified looks on their faces as they noisily passed by.
    Although I don’t particularly like quads I have to say that for the most part they have replaced the dangerous rental scooters. There was a marked decline in cases of road rash than in previous years.

    Here is the Plaka area album
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157655106193251

    We spent the rest of the afternoon at Patrino tavernas beach chairs. For dinner we walked up the road to a family run taverna but found that it was empty and that people were passing it by to go to Patrino and Nick and Marias tavernas. For me an empty taverna is a sign that the food isn’t good or the price is wrong so we headed back to Petrinos for more Naxian cuisine. We had roast lamb and a Naxian salad with soft cheese. With wine 25 euros.

    One quick tip on dining out at Plaka beach; you need to bring a flashlight or use the flashlight function on your cell phone because it is dark out there and there are no street lights.

    June 7. We had so much fun walking Plaka beach that we walked to Agia Anna and then all the way to the far end of Ag Prokopios. Much of that walk is on sand and we were very tired by the time we got back. We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on Plaka beach.

    Here are images of our walk to Prokopios.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157656297072028

    Just before supper time Lolly suddenly became violently ill and spent 4 hours curled up in bed. Fortunately our room came equipped with a vomitorium (actually a big blue bucket) I spent the evening munching on rusks, drinking wine and trying to force Lolly to take pepto bismal. By bedtime she had recovered.

    Next St George beach for a week

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    June 8 Naxos town. We hopped on the bus at Plaka and asked the driver to drop us off at the big supermarket at St George beach. He said “oh you mean the Wal-Mart.” You run into comedians everywhere. We stopped at the store and purchased some necessities (wine and ouzo) then walked all the way to the other side of St George to our hotel Studios Naxos.

    I had read several good reviews on this small hotel and last year tried to find it to take pictures for my St George beach hotels photo album. I tried twice but simply could not find it but sent them an e mail last October and was able to book the top floor ocean view room for 40 euros a night. Subsequently we discovered that our friend Jan was returning to Naxos and was staying at Studios Naxos.

    Suddenly the light went on. We have visited Jan several times at this hotel on previous trips but I never know the name and didn’t associate it with Studios Naxos. My face is still red with embarrassment as I tell this tale. The good thing however, is I knew exactly how to walk to it from the supermarket.

    It has a small kitchen/sitting room with sofa and a pass through with a sink and shower on one side and a sink and toilet on the other. What a great design. We stepped down into the bedroom Unfortunately the beds were twins not the more desirable “matrimonial” style but the balcony made up for it with a 180 degree view over St George beach. Priceless

    We have stayed at the same hotel, Glaros Studios for several trips but wanted Ocean View and decided to make the change. We sent an E mail to Glaros and told them we were looking for ocean view but never heard back. We were concerned that we may have broken relationship and caused offense. After check in we screwed up our courage and went to Glaros to say hello to Alex. He was happy to see us and we had a nice welcome drink as we caught up on family and news and then he told us it is a good thing to make changes and experience new things. Relieved that relationship had not been damaged we promised to visit again during our stay.

    We walked St George beach and went to Zoom in Naxos town and bought a Naxos hiking book. We appear to have gone all in on this hiking thing but the results have been amazing. My knee has stood up well, my legs are lean and I have lost so much weight that I have to tighten my belt to the last hole, otherwise my shorts would be falling right off.

    That evening it was cool and windy so we didn’t go to Taverna to Kastro but chose Good Heart on the Naxos waterfront. As usual the food was good. We had warm beats with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and Pork from the spit. The house wine was just OK. For two 20 euros.

    June 9. We took the local bus to Chalki and using our new hiking book, we took the two churches in the olive grove hike. Right off the bus we turned away from the village and found a small trickle of a stream and Byzantine era building in a laneway. Some were ruins and others were whole but hidden behind rock walls. This lead us to another tower house where the path petered out. So much for our informative little book. We floundered around and tried alternatives but just kept running into dead ends. Eventually we got back to the tower house and forced our way through grasses and bushes and discovered the path did continue, it was just totally overgrown. Sure enough, within a half kilometre we discovered the next landmark and were on our way to the Byzantine, Ayii Apostoli Metochiou church from the 12 century. The book said it is open from 10 to 2:30 if we were lucky. We were not. However as we took pictures a black robed priest on a cell phone strolled down the path took one look at us, stopped, turned heels and walked away. Apparently he wasn’t going to open the doors for two somewhat travel tattered, sweaty tourists. Perhaps it was the drooping state of my walking shorts. We hid around the bend in the path hoping he would think we were gone and would return to open the church but no luck.

    The path took us through the village of Kerami and to a second tower house Pyrgos Kalavros and another Byzantine church Ayos Ioannis situated in an olive grove. The path continued past a spring and into the mountains. It eventually wandered around and took us back to Chalki.

    We found a delightful little taverna beside an upscale vegetable stand and shared a large bottle of water and a Mythos while we recovered. We wandered around Chalki which is a compact and ancient village until it was time to catch the bus back to Naxos town.

    In the evening we met Jan and went to a waterfront bar and ordered wine and Ouzo and watched the sunset. This trip was our 40th anniversary celebration and Jan surprised us with a bottle of champagne and a book of Greek poetry by CP Cavafy. How delightful. We had dinner at Taverna to Kastro with Jan. We had roast lamb with artichokes and lemon sauce and stuffed green peppers. With wine for the three of us it was only 25 euros
    .
    June 10 It has been a decade since we went to see the Korous near Melanes. It is a 6th century statue that was damaged in the marble quarry and is still lying where it originally fell. Our hiking book indicated that there is a second Korous in the area which we just had to see. Jan who is 80 brought here walking stick and away we went. Unfortunately the local bus was too early in the morning so we purchased bus tickets for the return trip and hired a taxi to take us out to the Kourus area. The first Kourus is quite close to the parking lot and is an easy climb. The second (new) one is way up in the mountain. Jan valiantly worked her way up the path and only needed a few rest stops to make the assent. The views this high up were great. In particular the active marble quarries were very close.

    We visited an archaeological park where apparently there were two temples in antiquity. Sometimes I just can’t see the grandeur of the past in the rubble of the present. The locals must have looted the site for easy marble recovery for later building projects because there isn’t much there to see. It was however a great place for us to sit in the shade and have our lunch. Jan had a nap as we waited for the bus to pick us up.

    We changed location to the parking lot where we could see the road way off in the distance as it skirted the mountains. Right on time we saw it in the distance and it passed out of view to make the kilometer trip down the side road to the korous parking lot. After 5 minutes the bus reappeared heading back to Naxos town.

    Suddenly I noticed 4 very large eyes staring at me. I pulled out the bus schedule and proved it clearly says Korous as the stop. Who could have guessed the darn driver would choose to just turn around on the main road a kilometer from the Korous.

    With limited options, we started to walk up the long climb to the main road. I forged ahead hoping to look like a leader but it was mostly because of all the mutterings I could hear behind me. Something about “hitting him with my stick and roadside crucifixions”. Fortunately Jan was too slow to catch up with me.

    Towards the top Lolly pulled out her cell phone and said” its too bad we don’t have that cab drivers phone number I could call him.” It turns out I had the drivers card in my wallet so we called and the day was saved, along with my honour.

    Jan apparently having had more than enough of our company declined to go to dinner with us so we went to Apostollis in the old town where we had giant prawns and nut encrusted cheese saganaki with wine 24 euros.

    June 11. We had our morning coffee and then walked all along St George beach in the early morning. We walked all the way around to the other side of the bay past the airport. There is no development over there and we were amazed at all the flotsam that had washed up on the shore plastic bottles and bags, stuff from a boat, boxes and a few odd shoes. What a contrast to the other side of St George which is regularly groomed.

    By now I was in need of another Plaka beach fix so we walked into town and took the bus out and spent an enjoyable day at the Patrino tavernas beach location.

    This was Jan’s last night in Naxos and we all wanted to see this new taverna Nostomon Hellas. There has been a fair amount of chatter on the forum about this taverna and we wanted to see what it was like. I had looked up its location on Google maps and it seemed to be in a rather poor location along one of the main roads a couple hundred meters from Fountain square. It was easy to find and Lolly and I laughed when we got there. In the past we have walked past this particular location dozens of times returning from Naxos town dinners. It was actually close to our old hotel. While the location is not optimal because of the street traffic the ambiance is excellent and the food was Greek but with a modern twist. It turns out the owners, the chef and the main hostess came to Naxos from Mykonos to start their own business. I have to say we now have a new favourite taverna in Naxos. We will still go to Taverna to Kastro but this place is remarkable. We had artistically plated giant prawns and then stuffed pork and grilled Vegetables with wine 28 euros for Lolly and I.

    June 13. We spent the day in Naxos town hunting for souvenirs and gifts that could be carried on in cabin baggage. ( We tend to travel very light.) We walked through the old market area and up into the kastro and along the waterfront and finished the day with a couple of hours on St George beach at Finikia beachfront taverna.

    That evening we went to the portera (6th century temple ruin) for the sunset and then up to Taverna to Kastro where we had a long dinner. We had Eggplant fritters wrapped with cheese and a pork dish with green beans, potatoes and cheese. That was excellent and cost 30 euros.

    June 14. We wanted a down day so we went back to Plaka beach on the bus and then returned for our last night dinner at Nostomon Hellas. This dinner was as outstanding as the first one. We had Mextaka prawns, and ouzo meatballs with roast vegetables and wine. This was 37 euros. Our two dinners here were the most expensive of the whole trip but we certainly came away knowing we got great value for our money.

    June 15 We caught a mid day flight back to Athens and totally blew our budget by checking in to the Sofital. We did not want to go into Athens for one night particularly with a 6 am flight the next morning. Sofital was lovely and the restaurant was pretty good as well.

    June 16 The next morning we had a 4:30 wake up call, showered and walked across the road and into check in by 5am. Perfect.

    We had planned this trip to be a revisit to our favourite places on the Greek islands and we have come home and believe this has been our best trip to Greece ever.

    A big thank you, to everyone who has provided feedback to us. Your comments and appreciation have been an encouragement as we have prepared this report.
    Stan and Lolly

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    My, I do sound like a crochety old thing ... but I must own, the narrative on the whole was accurate... On returning to Athens, I shared our adventures with another Greek-Forum "regular," Thalia (who probably would have bopped you with the trekking stick!). We had "Greek lunch" (that is, from 2pm to 6 pm) with amazing array of goodies ... why is it that our fondest Greece memories involve the table!!

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    Ah Stan what an amazing trip report - thank you for the advice - so many wonderful choices. If you were choosing one spot in Crete as a base for exploring where would you put down your bags? (I'm not sure we're up for as much bopping around as you did - I am impressed!) I'm also a huge Outlander fan (have read all 8 books I think) so now I trust your judgment even more lol. (check out the TV show if you haven't already).

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    Hi Lauramsgarden. I would choose Chania. It is delightful and probably the prettiest city in Greece ( primarily the old town and harbour area) It is a good base for day trips like the Samara Gorge, balos and Gramovossa,Elofonissi beach, ancient Falasarna and the beaches there, ancient Aptera and a nice day trip to Rethymnon. You could also take a day trip down south to a nice beach village like Sougia.
    Most of this can be done by local bus except Aptera but a car will give you max flexibility.

    My second choice would be to take the ferry along the Libyan Sea starting in Paleochora then on to Sougia, Ag Rommouli, Loutro and Chora Sfakion. If you wanted to just stay in one place I would choose Sougia and then just take the ferry which runs regularly to whichever of these villages you would like to see as a day trip.

    I give you two suggestions because Chania is a historical type vacation and the Libyan Sea is a hiking, rugged, big vista type of vacation so the answer really depends on what you are looking for. You will enjoy both but they are two totally different experiences.

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    Hi Benicia. Thanks for your comments. I think you will really enjoy Naxos.
    We are toying with a 2016 trip to Naxos in September. I would be interested in hearing about your impressions of the weather, crowds and feel of Naxos in September.

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    Hi stanbr,

    I enjoy reading your trip reports, and looking at your superb photos. I won't be on Naxos this year, but can give you an impression of September from where I am presently on Antiparos.

    As always, sea temperatures are much warmer than in June, so swimming is a delight! Daylight hours are, of course, shorter, and it is starting to get dark around 7pm. This year it has been quite hot right until yesterday. The wind picked up to about Beaufort 6, and last night was the first time I wore a jacket.

    The biggest difference I have found in September is the age of the visitors - many mature couples and singles, some families with toddlers, and not many (but a few) young adults and school age children.

    Naxos has a slightly longer season than Antiparos, but visitor numbers drop sharply after the end of August. Each weekend in September more visitors leave, and beaches & restaurants get less busy as the month progresses. Some hotels and tavernas are closing down, but most will be open until the end of the month or later. In my experience it is a myth that islanders get burned out in September - far from it! Staff are relaxed after a busy summer, and eager to squeeze out a little more income before the season ends. I have received several acts of kindness from islanders this year.

    Don't tell your wife, but most of the shops are having end of season sales, with prices reduced by as much as 50% or more. Leave room in your suitcase for bargains to bring home! :-)

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    Hey Heimdall thank you very much. Thats great info. All I need to do now is save some money and persuade Lolly that this is a good idea. Fortunately time and persistence are on my side.

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    Go for it, stanbr! I find it educational to visit the islands at different times of year, although I've never been in winter. For several years I was visiting in both June and September, and still can't decide which I like best. This September has been a treat for me, because most of my old Antiparos friends, both Greek and others, have been here on the island.

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    This will be our 2nd time visitng in Sept. I prefer Europe in Sep for the nice weather & the thinning of tourists.
    Thanks for the info on Sales in Sept. My home is full of Greek Treasures

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    Yes, many merchants would rather sell at a discount and get the cash than to put away their stock for the winter. That doesn't apply to shops that stay open year-round, but just about every shop selling clothing has sales signs in their windows. I have my eye on a pair of Teva sandals at 50% off, but so far have resisted temptation.

    I was watching a tractor down at the beach yesterday loading up sun beds. The season is coming to an end, but the weather is still glorious, and the sea water is warm.

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    Heimdall you will have to buy a beach mat for the rest of your stay. Personally I can no longer use the old reliable straw beach mat. I can get down OK but getting up again is an entirely different matter.

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    I know what you mean, stanbr, as I have the same problem. There are still some sun beds left on the beach, but I'm sticking with the beach mat for the time being. Call me a miser, but I brought one from home that wasn't worn out after my previous Greek holiday.

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    thanks so much for the advice Stanbr - I think Chania it is as we do love history and it sounds easier to negotiate for first timers. Love all your pictures and advice - thanks

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