ΑΠΡΙΛΙΟΣ April 2007
The end of March and the beginning of April is a busy time in Crete as towns and villages prepare for the most important celebration in the Greek calendar - Easter. Everywhere areas are tidied and many walls, houses etc. have a coat of special white wash.

This year we had family commitments in the UK over the Easter period and this year the UK Easter days and the Greek Easter coincided. This meant that we missed Easter in Crete. The Easter celebrations are covered in the previous diary entries.

Sunday 1st April - we enjoyed a trip out with Alan and Margaret to the Rodopos peninsula. Alan drove along the rough track almost to the end of the road. The scenery becomes very rocky and is different to Gramvousa where you can see the sea along most of the road. We had previously walked quite a long way along the track but now, having driven such a long way along it and then walked again, we realise just how far it is to the end.

We left for two weeks in England on 3rd April. In spite of a very early flight Alan and Margaret kindly took us to the airport. We enjoyed wonderful weather - even eating breakfasts outside.  It was good to see family and friends. We were made so welcome and looked after so well. We say a huge thank you to them all.

We returned to Crete on 17th April (met at airport by Alan and Margaret - many thanks) to more blue skies and sunshine.

Thursday, 19th April - Alan and Margaret joined us for yet another trip to Spilli mainly to search for wild flowers. It was a lovely day - blue skies and sunshine 18C.  We had a full day in the area above Spilli and found lots of orchids and other interesting plants.

Colour above Spilli

Aristolochia Cretica

More colour near Spilli

Searching for orchids

Fritilliria Messanensis

Across the plain orchard area
Friday, 20th April - was a warm, very windy day here at Provarma. Roy had arranged to meet Stephanie Coghlan, who was leading a bird watching tour, at Agia reservoir.  Stephanie wrote 'A Birdwatching Guide to Crete' which she is hoping to update in the near future. We enjoyed a coffee and a chat and hope to meet again sometime in Crete. It was still 24C at 7.30 p.m. when we left Agia. The sky had a pink tinge - dust from the Sahara.

The next day the air was dusty but cleared later so we took the road to Malaxa, parked and then walked towards Megala Horafia. it was warm 22C.

Kids learning to climb like mum on track to Megala Horafia


Tuesday, 24th April -
another lovely day so we took a picnic to Drapanos Head. This is a beautiful, remote area on the north eastern side of Apokoronas. Roy managed to see a Ruppell's warbler which Alan and Margaret had seen on one of their visits to the area. Late afternoon we called in to see Renee and Ron at Xirosterni on our way home.  We enjoyed, tea, cake and a chat. We had just arrived home when Patti and John called by to say hello.

Looking West at Draponas Head

Looking East from Draponas Head


Thursday, 26th April -
Another day out with Alan and Margaret. It was cloudy on the north coast but we headed east towards Rethymnon and then south, towards Episkopi. We headed for the Kalikratis gorge through wonderful scenery. The road we were on goes west through the mountains to meet the road leading to the Imbros gorge. On this occasion Alan took a left turn and headed to the south coast down an alarming, recently discovered road. He asked Roy and I to walk ahead and looking down the mountain we saw the road, snaking down - like a string of liquorice. The drive down was exciting. As we travelled south the clouds disappeared and the temperature went up to 21C. We headed east towards Plakias and stopped for a picnic in a pretty bay - lovely flowers by taverna. We explored more of the coast discovering two more unspoilt bays - places to return to later. Alan and Margaret had decided to go back via the Kourtaliotiko gorge around sunset time. They, and Roy were hoping to see some of the large birds of prey flying in, to roost. They saw some, but not the bearded vulture this time. It was quite cold and windy in the gorge but they waited patiently - I sat in the car! We returned to Exopoli and enjoyed a lovely meal before coming home to Provarma. Another most enjoyable day out. 

Amazing road to south coast

Bridge, south coast

Pretty bay - picnic stop

Display of flowers near bay

 Another donkey by road

'Lucky' rock!

Goats enjoying rock climb

Secluded bay

Vast mountain range


Saturday, 28th April -
It was warm 23C.  We visited lake Kournas and then went on to Petres gorge and had a picnic on the beach. There were about 12 British people having a barbeque. They had tables, chairs and all the trimmings. We were offered wine and accepted a piece of garlic bread - delicious. We then went up to the top of Petres gorge for a couple of hours and had great flying displays from the Griffon vultures. When we left for home around 5.30 p.m. the Brits were still enjoying themselves.

That evening we had a delicious meal at Ron and Renee's home in Xirosterni. Barry and Belsan(who now live in Provarma) and Bob - Belsan's brother, were there and we all had a very pleasant few hours together.

Beautiful setting of taverna at Lake Kournas

Sunday, 29th April - was the day of the Rally Chania - the cars started from Chania and came via Stilos on there way to Malaxa. We were at the Maheri gorge and we could hear the roar of the cars. We found the check-point in Stilos just in time to see the last two cars go passed. We then had a walk by the river. It was very warm and the air was heady with the scent of the orange blossom. 

The last car to pass through the Stilos check point

Check point being cleared


Monday, 30th April -
Another beautiful day, blue sky and sunshine 23C.  We headed for the Irini gorge via the Omalos plateau. We drove to the top of the gorge - wonderful scenery along the way. We parked, had our picnic and then walked down into the gorge. Very pretty, lots of trees and greenery and a stream tumbling over shady rocks. We crossed the bridge (Health and Safety!!) and walked for a short while. We intend returning to explore more of the gorge. We returned to the Omalos plateau and Samaria gorge. It was 18C in the mountains - clear and bright. We spent some time bird watching and admiring the scenery before returning home.  We had an enforced stop on the way down as the road was blocked by a cement lorry. We called in at Agia Reservoir on the way back. It was still 22C when we arrived home at 7.30 p.m. - we were out for 10 hours - another great day. 

Beautiful setting of Lakki, road to Omalos

Looking down on Meskla from Lakki

Coast view from road

In Irini Gorge

Bridge in Irini Gorge

Perilous crossing!

Wooded stream - Gorge

Pay station

Colourful Samaria area

Last of the snow - more barren view

'Road Block' on way down from Omalos

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