Oooh, aaaagh, eueeeww, (expletive deleted) ! #
Aug 26, 2015
|After a reasonable drive yesterday, we opted for a pottering day today.
The wind yesterday must have had an effect - we missed the alarm and woke at about 9:45!
By the time we breakfasted, showered and checked maps and communicated ( including about a blocked sewer) it was nearly 12.
We drove south over the hill and turned up a rough and rutted dirt road to the church of Koimisis of Theotokou (11-14C) - unfortunately locked ( although supposed to be only closed!). It is set amongst stone ruins of other buildings, and large Eucalypt trees.
Back to the main road and a couple of bends down was the sign to the Monastery of Agios Giorgios. Through the outer door and you are in a walled cobblestones yard with trees and buildings around the sides. You could sense ( maybe hear), but not see people. The church itself was small, but ornate. At the back are the remains of an olive press (c1860) that has 12 slender stone arches and (probably ) 3 presses. It seems that large stone wheels roll over the olives, and the oil runs into stone channels around the perimeter .
Further down the hill to Vrises - small thin ( ie along the road) town on a "river". The river isn't flowing now, and has many semicircular stone weirs that form ponds ,with water from springs. There are simple fountains spraying water in jets, and the whole area is shaded by huge trees (oak we think). Very cool and restful. Of course there are cafes and tavernas surrounding the area so we stopped for lunch. ( a light snack of herb pies, meatballs, and freddo caps!).
We had read about the reportedly, best Byzantine church in Crete, so we decided to go there. It was supposedly at a village called Kyriakoselia, so we enlisted Tom to help. He took us on a windy slow and interesting ride through small villages, olive groves, and past ravines and finally down to the village where Tom said "you have reached your destination". This was outside a small church, but clearly not very old. Concrete walls, terrazzo floor.... We looked around but could see no other likely candidates. Back up the hill to another town we stopped an asked a "black granny" where the church was. She replied in Greek - basically " down the hill and round that way" whilst gesticulating. Basically where we had been. We gave up at that point, following our noses up and down hills and stopping in the Platia of a small town called Fres. It was very quiet. Just a few men sitting at cafe tables watching the world go by. We picked a place and the owner came over and directed us to a table quite away from the cafe, but with a nice outlook. He was big, dressed in black, with longish curly hair, bushy moustache - maybe a typical Cretan. We ordered water, and rested awhile. Then we made our way back to Vamos.
Here we reviewed Google Maps, and discovered that the church we were after was only 200 m beyond the point where we had turned around! Tom will be getting a good thrashing!!
Back home for a cooling swim. Then at about 8 we wandered up to the small cafe next to the mini mart. The BBQ was fired up with the charcoal glowing. We had one of the best ( and probably cheapest) meals so far. Jug of wine, beer from Rhodes, mezethes (chilli cheese, sausage , risks with tomato topping) , then the main course - pork souvlaki, Greek salad, fried potatoes, plate of tzatziki, plate of chilli cheese, bread. We struggled through that, and the owner came to explain how we should eat the souvlaki ( straight off the skewer with the teeth!). He also delivered a large plated of tomato topped rusks "from him".
We watched the passing parade - English , Americans, old Greeks in shorts and singlets riding a Vespa, and finally a couple on a motorbike. They arrived at the mini mart - he the rider sitting back with her in front, and a lot of giggling and laughing - obviously some Ouzo already under the belt. When they came out, he sat on the bike, then helped get her seated in front. Then he turned, gave a big grin to C, crossed himself, and they headed off up the road!
When we asked for the bill, we received first a plate of watermelon, and a small jug of Raki. We politely had a glass each. Then the waiter came over looking rather pained, and insisted on filling our glasses again, despite our resistance. We said we were driving. He asked if we were staying in Vamos - we said yes, And he said "no problems, it will be ok ". We said " what about the Police"? He shook his head and said " drive slowly , it is OK". So after handshakes and Kalisperas all around we left and drove slowly home!
# the sound made by C when a loaded concrete agitator truck came around the corner straight towards us on the narrow road.