Our 2016 European Odyssey travel blog

Eloundra east of Heraklion

Brian checking out Cretin fishing boats

Norfolk pine

Sharon and Babu in front of olive trees

Beach on south side with caves in hills

Harvesting olives from trees

My cold has blossomed over the last two days. No fun. However, we are in Crete, with strong winds blowing over from Africa raising the temperature to 29 degrees. Goes great with a slight fever! We are staying in the Lato Boutique Hotel In Heraklion near the airport where we landed, and after some miss-steps managed to collect our pre-booked rental car, thanks to Sharon.

Our first day was spent touring most parts of the east end of the Island from north to south. The second day we travelled south, then west, then north, then back to Heraklion. We have seen mountainous terrain, and millions of olive trees in various states of harvest. We've seen the largest cabbages we've ever encountered, orange trees, pomegranates, and thousands of green houses. The grape growing region is in less mountainous areas south of Heraklion.

We've noticed how the population tends to cluster in tight houses and shops, on rocky hillsides or beach areas, and then must go out to their fields further away, whereas in Canada, the farmer would be housed amongst his fields, orchards or crops, and away from neighbours. Houses for the most part are made of rock, or brick, or brick covered in Adobe. Some sheep and goats have been seen, with the odd donkey, and a couple of horses. Sharon and I noticed that most of the men have the same haircut, and sport a three-day beard growth, or are older and more rotund. Brian and Babu noticed the older women all dressed in black.

We met a man about our age on the south shore who was a Brit living in Boston for years. He had been here in Crete 50 years ago as a hippie, living in the caves along the beach we were visiting. He and his wife from America were in the process of buying a property nearby with two small houses on it for 80,000 Euros. They were now retired and wanted to live where their social security could give them a decent living. We got to tell him about Trump winning the election, which he couldn't believe, and he told us the caves were once used for lepers, then they were piled with dead bodies from the war, then Greek families lived in them, then the hippies lived there. Now they are empty. He was there checking out his old hippie homestead cave.

Great fish, mussels, eggplant dish, zucchini, the inevitable gyros, fries, and Greek salads with a half pound slab of feta cheese on top.

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