O.K. so we are ready to roll after a good sleep.
DRIVING IN CRETE This I do not do!.....I expect when I am sat on the right-hand side of the car to have a steering wheel in my hands and to be driving on the left-hand side of the road.- I also expect when I am a passenger to be sat on the left, with a door to lean on (also on my left).
I am physically incapable of driving in countries where they insist on driving on the wrong side of the road. I do not take kindly to the mucking about of my established norms.
This is, ofcourse, because of my Celtic genes and because I am very very left-handed. (Very very left-handed people are rarer than just left-handed people and only make up around 2% of the population. They cannot adjust easily when their spacial instrumentation is messed with...
e.g. they fall over if furniture is rearranged
This is a scientific fact!!!!!!!!!)
NOTE TO ALL LEFT-HANDED CELTS
Being excitable and easily baffled are personal characteristics that would invite certain disaster when driving on Cretan roads. DO NOT TRY IT!!!
'Evil Leader' (himself) however and on the other hand does not baffle easily. He can switch willy-nilly from left to right-hand drive, automatic to manual, whatever and whichever side of road is necessary/customary/advisable to avoid certain death.
He can do this even when I am leaning on none-existent doors and muck up his gear changes. He can also cope quite happily with the continual strangled squeaking noise I make when observing the carnage going on outside.He is oblivious to the look of crazed terror on my face as we hurtle along doing it (to my mind) ALL BACK TO FRONT!!
He can do this because...........
He is RIGHT-HANDED and a MONGREL!! -
(ethnically speaking, ofcourse)
RULES FOR DRIVING IN CRETE........Basically there aren't any. All rules, regulations, speed limits and road markings are for foreigners only. Break them and hidden policemen will appear out of nowhere and fine you trillians of euros. All Greek drivers are immune from prosecution even if the aforementioned policemen have to jump back from the road while they are nobbling you to avoid being skittled by illegally overtaking and speeding Greeks.
When approaching junctions always adopt an expression of crazed determination, use the horn, drive straight at it at breakneck speed and you might just survive the experience!!( if you are driving in Rethymnon and the traffic lights are still not working - they were out for the month we were there, be afraid, be very afraid)!!!
Right then, that explained, I'll continue... We took things very steadily (remember that we have been to Crete many times before and have 'done' the usual tourist places) so we spent a lot of time getting lost (Cretan maps always tell lies) and found some new places to visit e.g.
MELIDONI CAVE - Have no idea how we missed this before. Very impressive, very large, very dramatic,3 euros to get in, rather grim recent history (re Turkish massacre) but fascinating all the same. They are still uncovering stuff there so parts were out of bounds. It is supposed to be where the Bronze Giant of 'Jason and the Argonauts' fame hung out. This is easy to find from the national road near Perama east of Rethymnon but we came across country and got lost due to the naughty Zoniana boys shooting up all the road signs in the general area.
The on site restaurant does the most amazing veggie pizza I have tasted ANYWHERE ( made with all the organic vegetables and olive oil from out the back of the premises). AND it is worth going up there for the fabulous views of mountains and villages below.
Do remember if you have prescription sunglasses to take your ordinary specs with you so you can actually see what you have gone to see.(Guess who nearly broke her neck haha!!!)
MILIA RESTORED VILLAGE south of Kastelli Kissamou on the west of the Island. The trip is not for the faint hearted as it is way up in the remote mountains and the last few kilometres are dirt track with scary scary drops on the passenger side as you approach.
(Did I mention that I also get vertigo? Practically ended up on hubbys lap and made a lot of NOISE!!!)
It is all very beautiful location and all but I did find it a little precious if you know what I mean.
I thought the food was overpriced although it was delicious and it costs a lot to stay there 65-100 euros a night.They views are magnificent. There is no mains and the emphasis is on eco/environmental stuff so it is all organic etc. Lovely but a lot of hype!!!
The thing is...you can go into some of the remote mountain villages who are still not using mains elec and still cook in the traditional way and just get on with it without any fuss (or grants for that matter)
DRIVES AROUND MOUNT VRISSINAS AREA (south of Rethymnon) We loved this area and drove around all the remote villages Abelaki, Oros etc. they were wonderful to walk around. The whole area is full of little villages and settlements. Gorgeous!!!!
We did so much exploring but it wouldn't be of great interest to you just gorgeous mountains, gorges, forests and all sigh................The thing is that we like to get away from it all and although ofcourse we had our share of socializing etc ( more of that later) we did wander about a lot just gazing at the view and soaking up the atmosphere.
Next bit...close encounters of the Cretan kind, food etc.