Trip Start Apr 23, 2009
17Trip End Jun 23, 2009
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For the last five days, we toured the area southwest, south, and southeast of Rethymnon. It was refreshing to drive out into the mountainous countryside where the hills were filled with a myriad of chirping birds, chorusing our travel through their territory. The air was fragrant with the perfume of a spectacular show of wild flowers lining the road and covering the hillsides! Sheep and goats dotted the rocky hills and often caused a traffic jam as they were herded along the road. The lambs and kids were cute! (Everyone but Gail imagined them on a plate!)
There was very little traffic, once we got out of the major centres, which was good, since we had to negotiate numerous hairpin turns to climb out of the valleys and down the other sides. Our "Gutless Wonder" (4-door, 1.2 L, Citreon C3) rarely got out of second gear, but, we enjoyed the scenic trips. Negotiating our way through the narrow, twisting, one-car width roads through the many tiny villages was sometimes a challenge when we couldn't see what was coming toward us. The squawking horn got a good workout.
Every little village has a Taverna or three, often in the centre of the community, so there was no lack of places to eat. All of them had 'home cooking' using fresh ingredients available that day. Olive oil and fresh herbs seem to be staple ingredients in every dish. We're eating our way through the Greek Menus!
The local villagers often laughed at us tourists who were taking photos of sheep, flowers, old buildings, and old people. We were fortunate to see some elderly people taking some green crop to the town on donkeys, and guiding goats down the road.
Our hotel had a special Cretan Night with Greek foods and three dancers doing traditional Cretan dances. Because our two men were in the 'most fit' category and sitting next to the dance floor, they were chosen three times to join the young, female, Cretan dancers! A good time was had by all.
May first, was a National Holiday, and we drove by a group of Communist Party members in downtown Rethymnon, who were playing music, singing, and celebrating International Workers' Day. (Protomayia in Greek--a great urban holiday when townspeople head for the countryside to picnic, returning with bunches of wild flowers. Wreaths are hung on balconies and doors until they are burned in bonfires on St. John's Eve on June 23.) Many cars had wildflowers on the doors, grills, or wipers, so we put a little bouquet on our windshield to acknowledge the International event. The roads were very crowded that day and the National Highway had INSANE drivers passing in extremely dangerous situations. We were glad to get home alive!!
Down the street from our hotel, was the Taverna Vergina, where we had several meals. The friendly family restaurant had all members of the family greeting, baking, cooking, and serving. It was a great atmosphere with delicious food and warm, friendly owners.
Thank you to Keith, David L., Alma, Willi, Jan, Emmy, Don, Brenda, John, Margaret B., Margaret L., and Josephine for your kind comments and good wishes. We'd like to reply to all of you individually, but our days are full and the internet time is short!
3. Did you know that Crete is Greece's largest olive producer?
Name 3 varieties of olives grown on Crete.
4. Name 5 fruits grown on Crete.