Rethymno part 2

Rob and Jacky Black
Wed 4 Jul 2012 11:43
28th June - 4th July
We managed to glean plenty of local information from a very friendly Dutch
couple who has been on the quay for 3 weeks. Thus armed we got laundry
done, found the big supermarkets, fresh vegetable shops and the best
bakery! We also discovered that the WC sign posted building (in the car
park near to the ferry dock) also had one fresh water shower with warm
water.Electricity was 12 euros for a week and water 7 euros per day. (We
just took water for the one day before we left.) The harbour office staff
were most friendly and helpful and provided us with a pass card for the
car park for the 3 days we hired a car.
Having organised the car we set out to explore the west and south of the
island which proved to be very varied and at times spectacular. Our first
day took us west along the coast to Suda Bay where there is a strong Naval
presence both Greek and Nato. We specifically wanted to visit the war
memorial here as this was where Robert's Grandfather George Robert Ransom
died during the battle of Crete. The cemetery was beautifully positioned
overlooking the bay and each head stone had a shrub or a flower planted
beside it - all were in bloom and the grounds were immaculately kept. A
large white marble cross with a sculptured Sword pointing down stands in
the centre. On searching the memorial book we discovered that the names of
any seafarers were not recorded; it appears that those lost on ships are
recorded on war memorials in their home ports. So the memorial at Chatham
Docks is the only one that Grandfather Ransom's name appears.
After this we headed south west by-passing Chania and visited the small
port of Kissamos to check it out for a possible future visit next season.
we weren't impressed and decided it was probably only suitable in calm
From there we headed down the west coast the road at times high above a
steep and rocky coast line with views out to the small island of
Gramvouisa, another possible anchorage to use next season on our way to
the Peloponesse. The mountainous roads wind up and down and pass through
endless olive groves and tiny hill-side villages that seem to perch on
almost impossible cliffs!
We took a small road inland and went to the village of Elos famous for
it's Chestnut trees; quite a strange sight to see such a profusion of
trees and fertile soil in among the high barren mountains. (Incidently
there were still patches of snow on the north facing slopes here!) We
struck out east across country from here towards the White mountains and
drove through the foothills before heading north again to the coast and
back to Rethymno - we logged 280 K. that day.
The following day we went south to Ay Galini via the Amari gorge and past
the lakes and reservoirs that keep the city of rethymno supplied with
plenty of fresh water. The road was amazing - rock falls, verge slips,
sheep, goats and unfinished surfaces were all encountered before we made
it to the main highway and into the lovely coast town of Ay Galini. This
used to be a small fishing village but has been developed into an eclectic
tourist town but it still retains much of it's charm. We had lunch
overlooking the harbour and then went off to the near bye beach for a rest
in the shade and a swim before driving back. We stopped at the large Lidl
outside of town to stock up with heavier supplies (Beer, water and soft
Our final day saw us drive east up into the hills towards the Mountain of
Psiloritis (Isa) and a visit to the Arkadhi Monastery, a famous Cretan
shrine set on the foothills of the mountain range. Here during the Cretan
rebellion against Turkish rule in 1866 many of the rebel fighters and
their families took refuge and finally all died as they blew up the
magazine rather than surrender to the Turks. The ruins of this part of
the monastery have not been repaired and you can see the place where the
explosion took place. On our journey back we visited the archaeological
sights around the hill village of Eleftherna many of which are still being
excavated. The cisterns and an amphitheater are visible and parts of the
old chora can be seen.
One evening when we were just finishing supper we had a visit from the
family of the car rental manager. Jacky had invited them to visit the boat
as they had been so interested in our travels and of course the incident
with the ferry which they had read about on the internet news paper. The 5
children all came aboard and had a good look round and the eldest boy made
notes as he was going to write an article for the local newspaper!
On our last evening we walked to the old Venetian Fort had a lovely stroll
around as the sun set and then stopped for a drink on the way back. all in
all we really liked this town and the surrounding country side.