IANOYAPIOΣ - JANUARY - 2006
Sunday, 1st - the first day of the new year, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and coffee, outside in the sun. It became dull later in the day. We then had friends visit for tea and biscuits in the afternoon.

Monday, 2nd - Another blue sky day. We paid a return visit to the church at Tsakaratis in the Keramia area - which is not far from our house, in the mountains.  We parked the car and explored the area on foot. We climbed a hill leading off from the church and walked around the hillside. We looked around a ruined house which clung to the side of the gorge. We heard the beating of wings and a raven almost landed on our heads. The views were wonderful. We made the return trip via Samonas along a road which appeared as a footpath on one map. New roads are being constructed all the time so it is well worth investigating


Tuesday, 3rd January -
Another nice day -18C. We did some essential shopping then walked along the beach at Kalives. We had another local walk later that afternoon.

Yiannis met us at the gate with a very large bag of avocados - not yet ripe but they will be delicious.

 Wednesday, 4th January - we enjoyed a meal at our house and a few hours enjoyable chat with Tilly and Jim - our neighbours from last winter in Vamos.

Thursday, 5th January - we paid a return visit to the area in the White Mountains in Keramia. It is an amazing road with breathtaking views. We slid through sheep slurry on the mountain road - made slippery by overnight rain. We parked near the             taverna Ψυоро Пnyaδι and walked for about an hour and a half up into the mountains. We had hoped to reach a church marked on the map but turned back in case the weather changed. We saw no other people, just sheep on the road up. As we turned back we saw three Golden Eagles just overhead. Another exciting day.  


Friday, 6th January - Epiphany -
this is a bank holiday. Local people gather in churches and tavernas. Young men dive into the sea and rivers to retrieve the cross cast into the water by the priest. Last year we had blue skies and sunshine all day - please see last year's photos. This year the weather was cold and wet at Kalives where we went to watch the ceremony.

The next few days were sometimes wet and cold. We had some enjoyable walks during bright spells.

Sunday, 8th January - we had a walk and were sitting in the car having a picnic about 1.30 p.m. when the car began to rock. We realised after a couple of seconds that it was an earth tremor. It did not last long but there was some damage in parts of Crete. Friends had waves on their swimming pool and ornaments were rocked to the floor.

Sunday, 15th January - we enjoyed a meal in a taverna at Armeni with friends Pat and Roy, after we had looked at the progress on their new house. It is looking really good. They will have views of Souda Bay and the White Mountains.

We discovered later that we should have shared the barbecue that Yiannis had been preparing as we left to go out for lunch.  Problem was we had not been told about it.  It was a shame to miss it as I think we would also have seen their new grandchild, born on 4th January, to Yiannis' son George and his wife.

Monday, 16th January - we walked down to the orange grove to pick some fruit for our breakfast supplies.  Yiannis and Niki were there busy loading crates with oranges, ready for transport to the orange depot at Agia - the other side of Hania - to the west. The weather was warm and sunny and we helped pick a few crates of oranges.

That afternoon friends Nick and Debs (who have a lovely house at Xirosterni) managed to find us first time (without getting lost) and we enjoyed their company for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, 18th January - we had a 'phone call from OTE giving us our long awaited 'phone number for our landline. We went to Kalives to buy a 'phone - on plugging it in we found it did not work!  Yiannis contacted OTE who were due to come the next day to investigate the problem.

Thursday, 19th January - the weather was warm and sunny (the previous morning there had been a thick frost, covering the fields, at Vamos) We stayed in, waiting for the telephone engineer. At 1 p.m. Yiannis arrived to say they would not be coming today. He had 'phoned 5 times - they would be here on Friday. He asked us if we would like to go with him to the orange depot, at Agia, with one of his loads of oranges. We quickly got ready and met him at his home in Stilos. Roy and Yiannis sat in the front of his pickup truck - with me behind in the back seat. The truck was loaded with dozens of crates full of oranges. He makes several trips at this time of year.

The Depot was a hive of activity - the managers and staff were all very friendly and allowed us to take lots of photos. We saw the whole process.  First the weighbridge and then the crates, with oranges, are unloaded onto a conveyor belt, emptied onto another conveyor belt and sorted by a team of staff.  There is a huge machine for making the nets for some of the fruit. Others are packed into boxes for onward transport. The best oranges are destined for Europe - many to Germany.

Outside there were huge containers of oranges which would be used for juice.

One manager took us over to the section of the depot preparing avocados for export.  These are mostly for the English market.

We enjoyed the visit.  A selection of the photos below show some of the process.
     


Friday, 20th January -
telephone engineer fixed the 'phone line in a couple of minutes.  It had not been connected to the box outside the house.

On local walks and excursions to the mountains we have noticed that there are numerous lambs and kids. Many of them only hours old.
 

Saturday, 21st January - sunshine and blue skies.  We decided to take a trip over to the south coast through Sfakia via the Askyfou plateau and along by the Imbros Gorge. We had expected the area to be covered by snow but there was none. We stopped at the taverna overlooking the Askyfou plateau and were told that heavy snow was expected during the next few days.

Sunday, 22nd January - I had booked to go to the Pizitiko taverna at Tzitzifes to celebrate my birthday (which was the next day). On Sunday many local people go out for lunch so there is a nice atmosphere.

It was a very windy day.  Alan and Margaret kindly gave us a lift to the taverna for 2 p.m. We enjoyed a meal of lamb, rabbit, veal, gigantes (big beans) and salad - with wine. We finished with miniature kataifi cakes and tscouthia (on the house). We left the taverna at about 4 p.m. and called in at the cake shop in Vrysees for some a selection of creamy cakes. We enjoyed these, with coffee, at Provarma.

The next couple of days we had torrential rain - day and night. Roads and houses were flooded.  There were rock falls and landslides. The rain fell as snow in the mountains. Were we had been on Saturday, 21st January - Askyfou and Imbros - the snow was really thick and weather warnings were given on TV. We stayed in - warm and dry.  We lit a fire and enjoyed jacket potatoes, cooked in the hot ash from the blazing logs.

Wednesday, 25th January -  the weather was drier. Late afternoon we drove over to Kalamitsi where I enjoyed the first of a course of art lessons. The roads had more pot holes than usual after the torrential rain.

I had been told to expect some cards and parcels for my birthday on 23rd January.  By Thursday they still had not arrived. We went to Stilos mini-market, where we collect our post. There was nothing there. We continued to Kalives for some shopping and enquired in the Post Office about the missing cards and parcels - again no luck. We had a stroll along by the sea and were greeted by the friendly donkey below. When we arrived back at Provarma,  Yiannis had just put a bundle of post and three parcels on our doorstep. I enjoyed opening my cards and presents.  My birthday was extended by 4 days!


From Saturday the weather improved, with blue sky and sunshine. We had breakfast outside a couple of times. We also sat outside on the covered front terrace in the sun during the afternoon.

This is the last entry for January - it is 1st February tomorrow.  At present the mountain areas are covered with really deep snow and look wonderful.  As the sun moves round the sky the shadows are constantly changing on the snow revealing a variety of crevices and ever changing shapes.
 

 


We now look forward to more exploring in the coming months, as Spring approaches.

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