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Messages - B.Edelsten

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1
Plakias / Holiday Report May 2011
« on: May 18, 2011, 10:20:39 AM »
Plakias Report
We have been going to Plakias for twenty years, either May or September, and staying at Elgini Studios for the last ten. Ironically, we moved out of Plakias because it was getting too busy and noisy. The visit this year was a bit weird; partly because the weather was so poor, and partly because Plakias was so quiet, there was little incentive to spend an evening in Plakias, thus acerbating the situation.  It can be debated whether it was quiet because of the weather or because of the financial situation. On Saturday 14 May, which was a nice sunny day, Souda Bay which, like Plakias bay, had no sun umbrellas or sun beds set out, had only about 25 people spread along the whole length whereas, in previous years, the beach and sun beds had been fairly well populated with many cars lining the road side.  

Because the winter has been so wet, the wettest for 40 or 50 years depending or who you speak to, instead of lying on the beach and swimming, we did lots of walking among the profusions of wild flowers. At least it looks like a bumper olive harvest in the autumn though we heard one complaint that this means the price paid for olives will be very low.  

I have posted some pictures on the Internet: http://edelsten.org.uk/PhotoAlbums/Crete-2011/

Being inside most nights, I decided to keep a diary. First couple of days below:

Sun May 1

The journey from Heraklion airport to Plakias took 1 hour and 40 minutes,  inlcuding a stop to fill up with petrol and where I could, though not always where I should,  maintaining a steady 100kmph. It is always quite a joyful experience, on the Spili road, on the downward slope, turning off to Koxare, going through the gorge,  Osomatos, Legkoyia  and, finally, with windows wound down letting the herby aromas,  we are rolling down the main road into Plakias where the sun, bouncing off the waves, is dazzling in its brightness.  We stopped at the supermarket before the Alianthos, partly because parking is easy but also because the vegetable shop there has the best choice; non EU-compliant cucumbers which taste of cucumbers and big red squishy tomatoes which, when topped with local feta and olives, complete the perfect Greek salad. Then onward to Elgini, up the impossibly steep drive way, unload and up the steps to room No. 5, beer on the balcony and flop. It is a long journey from the north east of Scotland.

Monday 2 May
It was a long winter in Crete, some say the wettest for 50 years, with quite a bit of snow still lingering on the hills and (hopefully) the last of the winter rains only the week before. It had been a bit weird watching the weather from home where temperatures in April were sometimes warmer than Crete, while in SE England temperatures reached 27 over the Easter weekend. However, we were going to  benefit from all water because the fields and verges were a profusion of flowers and the air heady with the aromas of herbs.

Almost the first thing we noticed when we arrived in Crete was how green it was, much greener than last year, in May 2010, which was after a particularly dry winter. Where last year there had been dry brown dusty tracks these were now tracks with verges of green mixed with a wide variety of flowers. And up the slopes and on the hills, greens of various hues predominated.
 
On our first full day we did our orientation walk; up through the tracks and terraces of olives at the back of Elgini, up to Sellia for coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice (sunshine in a glass) then back via a different route through the tracks above Souda, stopping frequently to look at the plant life, stuff we would struggle to propagate at home, here nonchalantly growing at the edge of the path. There were also lots of what looked like wild oats and barley and other tall grasses amongst all the flowers. The olive trees were well on the way to a bumper harvest, though many had infestations on mites which produce white fluff on the stems.

In the evening we headed into Plakias to top up with food items missed the day before - the brain is always a bit fuzzy when we first arrive, had an orange juice at the beach bar (which, at E3 each, will probably not be repeated and, while the sound system is impressive, the choice of music less so- but it is good sunset photo taking point), souvliki on the sea front then beer at Ostracos. For a local May Day holiday, Plakias was rather quiet, no sun beds out on the beach yet, a few places not yet open and the cafes and tavernas with only a few customers. It was just us and two others in Ostracos. Signs of the times perhaps or is it still a bit early in the season?

Bruce Edelsten

2
Plakias / Snow
« on: March 23, 2011, 09:06:25 PM »
Quote from: John R
Quote from: Peter&Dawn
Hi John,

Snowing in Carlisle, or snowing in Plakias, I know where I'd rather be.    
Just cloudy and dull in Sussex.

Peter&Dawn

Totally agreed - there is nothing more than I would like than to be at Plakias in snow - would be wonderful. Been on the Sfakia forum - much of Crete is struggling with the snow. The web cam is sadly out due to power cut at Sfakia caused by the snow.

John
And, today, it was warmer in the Moray Firth, North Scotland, than in Rethymnon... probably won't last though.
Bruce



3
PlakChat / Plakias - Heraklion airport
« on: March 07, 2011, 04:54:59 PM »
Quote from: spottttttt
How long will it take, steady drive from Plakias to Heraklion airport?

We give ourselves two hours - but then we stop to buy food and fuel, so it probably only take 90 mins.

Bruce

4
Plakias / 2011 season
« on: February 18, 2011, 09:54:58 PM »
Quote from: Arnaki
The caves would appear to be Zoniana, unless Bruce tells us anything different.

http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-west/zoniana-cave.htm

This page give the entry price as 4 Euros in 2004 so I am not sure how up to date the site is, but I don't suppose the caves will have changed much in 7 years.

Arnaki


Hi,
Actually they are the Melidoni Caves

http://www.sanmarkotravel.com/en/Vacations...idoni_cave.aspx
http://www.google.co.uk/images?q=melidoni+...343&bih=770

We visited them the same day as the fort in Rethymno - our "away day".

Cheers,
Bruce

5
Plakias / 2011 season
« on: February 18, 2011, 09:52:07 PM »
Quote from: John R
Quote from: B.Edelsten
Quote from: Mike G
I was just wondering who has booked for 2011 already.

Mike


We usually weaken just after Christmas and have booked again and now dream of cold beer on the balcony, wild flowers, lovely walks and an orange juice in a beech bar...
http://www.edelsten.org.uk/PhotoAlbums/Crete-2010/

Cheers,
Bruce


Those are some terrific photos - just our type scenario as well. What time of year was that - obviously fairly early (flowers) but wondering how early. We booked for our return (September) quite some while back.

John

For many years we have also been going in September but, for a change, went at the end of April, beginning of May. The winter of 2009/10 was drier than usual in Crete, which meant (I am told) the flowers were less spectular than has been, indeed we noticed how they faded as the days progressed.  When we arrived it was about 17C, but soon heated up. Plakias was fairly quiet, but beer at Ostraco was just as good. While we were in Crete we got an incredulous text message saying it was snowing again in the north of Scotland (a mere five months of snow). Beer on the balcony beckons some months away

Cheers,
Bruce


6
Plakias / 2011 season
« on: February 14, 2011, 07:40:33 PM »
Quote from: Mike G
I was just wondering who has booked for 2011 already.

Mike


We usually weaken just after Christmas and have booked again and now dream of cold beer on the balcony, wild flowers, lovely walks and an orange juice in a beech bar...
http://www.edelsten.org.uk/PhotoAlbums/Crete-2010/

Cheers,
Bruce



7
PlakChat / ATM in Plakias
« on: May 29, 2010, 05:56:19 PM »
We were in Plakias from 1 - 14 May. Although we took some money I anticipated having to use the ATMs later on. I started to get worried as the time when I would need to use an ATM approached because the one at the town hall and one futher along had "ATM out of action" notices on them and the one at the Alianthos hotel was off or rebooting (and showing the Windows XP Telly Tubbies hill plus an egg time - not reassuring). The one that was in action, by a car hire shop, didn't take my Mastercard debit card or my Mastercard credit card.  Eventually, a few days later and down to 50, I observed someone testing the Alianthos one sucessfully (having got some money out then gettings some more) so I did likewise.

The answer to the question: how much was I charged? There was a 1.50 transaction charge.

Plan B had been to go to Rethymno.

Plan C, never enacted, was to eat and drink less.

Regards,
Bruce Edelsten

8
Holiday Companies / Car rental at the beginning of May
« on: March 12, 2010, 06:32:16 PM »
Quote from: Kerstin
Quote from: spottttttt
[We usually get our hire car from them, we have never had any problems at all, they are100% what they say they are. Last year we thought we would try and save a few quid/euros and got our car from Elite car hire, big mistake! You get what you pay for.


Many thanks for your answer. During the last years we hired a car from Anso Travel or we used the service from Taxi4You.
Unfortunately, Alianthos does not offer hiring a car for one day. They have offices in Heraklion and Chania but they do not
offer this service.
Both were very good! The reliability and the prices were reasonable but until now we noticed most of the prices are increased
and therefore we looked for an other option.
Now, less than 8 weeks until our departure... I am sure we will find a solution.

Kerstin


We usually pick up a car at Heraklion from http://www.miketours.gr/index.php?ac=2&...daa227f6e0f13a8
On arrival, someone meets us and hands over the car keys. They have my licence details in advance - which speeds things up.

Regards,
Bruce Edelsten

9
PlakChat / ATM in Plakias
« on: December 30, 2009, 09:00:27 PM »
Greetings,

Next year, for the first time since 198? something, we are going to Plakias for two weeks. Since I will (or should) not be taking loads of cash, I will need to use the ATM machine at the town hall. What cards does it take. Or more specifically, does it take Mastercard debit cards.

Thanks for the photos taken in December - it is so green.

Regards to all Plakias regulars

Bruce


10
Where to stay / Two-bedroom apartment
« on: October 13, 2008, 08:25:21 AM »
Quote from: JaneGary
Returning to Plakias last week in October to experience what it's like end of season. Posted before trying to find a larger  apartment for 4 but all seem to have one bedroom and convertible bed in the living room rather than two bedrooms. This tends not to suit as unlike on work days at home I am up at the crack of dawn and would disturb our teenage kids who have discovered how to lie in. Any ideas? Also what can we expect in terms of weather, places being open etc? We have always been previously end of May/beginning of June. Thanks.


One year in the middle of October, we took our teenagers to Elgini Studios using rooms 3 and 4 which have a common front door. They did not appreciate not being in the centre or even near (by their standards) Plakias though it is ony a 30 minute walk. The weather in October is variable - quite possibly rain on a few days so be prepared to be stuck in doors (take some cards) and the temperature will be "cool" compared to May/June - still warmer than here though and a fine temperature for walking. A number of  establishments are winding down and some may be shut - but still plenty of choice. I hope that helps.

http://www.edelsten.org.uk/images/images.htm

11
Where to stay / Plakias Hotel
« on: September 22, 2005, 09:49:18 PM »
Hi I have just booked the Hotel Lamon for 2 weeks next august, has anyone stayed there and can tell me what its like please?
How close is it to the harbour and would it be worth bringing a small fishing rod?
Thanks in advance


The Hotel Lamon is directly on the sea front - over the road is the sea. It is very central so you may find it a bit noisy - but that depends on your expections.   It has been refurbished since I stayed there many years ago so cannot say anything about its quality. It is very close to the harbour, just a few minutes walk.

Regards
Bruce Edelsten
http://www.edelsten.org.uk/images/crete-2004/images.htm

12
Where to stay / First Timer
« on: February 21, 2003, 08:59:32 PM »
Greetings,

Maybe you mean Pension Stella and opposed to Stella Studios, since First Choice do use Pension Stella (maybe there is a Stella Studios). Either way you should not have any worries about cleanliness. Pretty well every place we have stayed in Plakias is spottless. However, places can become a bit worn by the end of the season - though still clean.

If Pension Stella, don't take the double bed. It is ground floor looking into the hillside. (I nearly had to sleep in it with my father, but Stella took pity and gave us a spare room upstairs).

Sometimes October can be a bit cool. It can also spectactularly rain with magnficent lightening displays out to sea - you need to get up the hill a bit to get the best view.

You will find a lot has changed in 229 years.

Regards - Bruce Edelsten

13
Plakias / Cash Dispenser
« on: January 11, 2003, 01:54:25 PM »
That's OK. I will wait for the May report. Its a few months before I will be going anyway, though I am fantasising already about sitting on a balcony with  a cool glass of beer with the condenstation dripping down the side!!

Regards
B. Edelsten

14
Plakias / Cash Dispenser
« on: January 05, 2003, 09:02:14 PM »
Quote
Welll after years of waiting, two cash dispensers were installed in town during September. Was that normal Greek timing, or were they planning ahead for the 2003 season?
While I was there, the dispenser was working in the Mayors office - the other one (I can't remember the name of the office where it was installed) was only taking certain cards.
I didn't use either - and I did hear that the Mayor's office one ran out of cash.
Are they OK now?
John,

Can you remember what cards the cash machine accepted?

Regards,
Bruce Edelsten

15
Where to stay / Costas Chrysoulla Studios
« on: January 05, 2003, 08:59:27 PM »
Quote
We will be booking a holiday in Plakias soon. Thinking of the Costas Chrysoulla Studios. Any feedback from experiences ther appreciated.

Thanks
I have stayed there once.  Great for those with a young family or the youthful but older people may find it noisy.

Regards,
Bruce Edelsten

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