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Topics - Mike G

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1
Holiday Companies / Olympic 2019
« on: September 15, 2018, 01:30:24 PM »
I phoned to enquire why I couldn't find any holidays to Plakias from Gatwick with a transfer. I was told that Olympic will not have any charter flights from Gatwick in 2019 to any airport and will only use carriers such as Thomas Cook and easyJet. With these, Olympic will book a taxi transfer for you but at a price far in excess of the going rate. The only airport with an Olympic charter to Heraklion for 2019 (and thus a coach transfer included) is Manchester.   

I still live in hope that another Tour Operator may start to feature Plakias and offer what Olympic is unwilling to.

2
Plakias / Death of a Plakias regular
« on: March 31, 2016, 01:23:00 PM »
Many of you will be as sad as I was on finding out about the death of John Scadden (aka Boxer Lover) and in tragic circumstances.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-35892523

John and his friend Tom have been visiting for many years, usually having 4 weeks in the early summer and the same in the autumn. Latterly they stayed at the Livicon.

True to the name Boxer Lover he was a great dog lover, even though he no longer owned one, and every year both he and Tom would use part of their luggage allowance to bring various goodies for Bouzouki, their canine friend from the Plakias Bay hotel. Bouzouki seemed to have a sixth sense and always knew when they had arrived. He will miss John too.

John had many friends in the town. He was a thoroughly decent man and he will be much missed by many. I hope others will post their memories of him as a tribute.

RIP John 

3
PlakChat / Birds of Crete
« on: June 09, 2014, 03:33:36 PM »
Are there any ornithologists who could identify a bird I spotted from my balcony in Plakias last month? Its wing shape was very much like a buzzard and it was gently circling around as a buzzard does. However, its distinguishing feature was a large white circle on the underside of each wing, towards the tips. I have been unable to identify it and neither has a keen ornithologist friend. I'm sure there is a picture of it somewhere on the internet.

Mike

4
PlakChat / Buying Euros
« on: April 24, 2012, 01:57:22 PM »
I have noticed recently that both Tesco and Asda offer very competitive exchange rates for buying notes, with no commission taken off. They both beat main branch Post Offices, who have been good in the past and better than High Street banks.

Buying at Gatwick is a real rip-off as their rates are awful.

Mike

5
PlakChat / Greece's financial plight
« on: February 18, 2012, 01:38:33 PM »
Many who use this forum have visited and loved Plakias (and other areas of Greece in many cases) for many years and feel very sorry for the economic predicament the Greek government (aided and abetted by others) has got the Greek people into. We hope they get through their current situation for better times ahead but many (me included) suspect that they are in an impossible situation and that default on their debts and leaving the eurozone is inevitable.
 
If this happens I wonder what the consequences for both the Greeks and us, the holidaymakers, would be? The new drachma would be massively devalued, that is virtually certain, and prices in Greece would rise considerably as a result. These two facts would work in opposite directions with respect to our costs. No one would lend money to Greece, so as a nation they would have to live within their means. Would the fabric of Greek society fall apart? It is at breaking point now and sometimes gives the impression that Greece is becoming ungovernable. Little of this has fitered through to Plakias though. I am old enough to remember when Greece was a military dictatorship (1967-1974). Would this happen again? It would mean Greece would have to leave the EU I think.
 
One issue is the inability of the Greek authorities to collect the tax owed and this was brought home to me last year at the Olympic welcome meeting when the rep, Sian, told us about the private medical facilities available in Plakias. By the way, she said, you need to know that the doctor only accepts payment in cash!! Presumably another Greek professional claiming an income of only around 5000 as has been widely stated in the British press.
 
I would be interested to hear what other forum members think and what the prognosis is for Greece and our many friends in Plakias.
 
Mike

6
Plakias / Timeos Stavros
« on: August 31, 2010, 01:43:00 PM »
When I first climbed it about 5 years ago I went up the "western", poorly defined path to the top which starts (as described in Lance Chilton's Plakias walks book- 2003 edition) at a point overlooked by a small chapel on a hillock to the west. The last two times I went up I used the well defined, initially ziz-zag, track that starts from the south side of the mountain, overlooking the Libyan sea. Last year I couldn't find the "western" path although as I was on my way home and pretty tired I didn't really search for it.

Could anyone who has climbed Timeos Stavros this year advise if this path is still in existence or whether it has become too overgrown to be useable.

Mike

7
Plakias / 2011 season
« on: August 26, 2010, 02:03:10 PM »
I was just wondering who has booked for 2011 already.

Mike

8
PlakChat / Luggage Allowance
« on: August 22, 2008, 12:31:42 PM »
Most airlines have reduced the "free" luggage allowance from 20kg to 15kg. Many (like me) have a job to make 20kg. What do you intend doing in the future, pay the extra or make do with 15kg?

9
Plakias / Plakias 2008
« on: May 22, 2008, 10:30:10 AM »
In no particular order; just off the top of my head. I was there May 6-20.
  • Plakias has hardly changed in the two years since I was last there. Especially so the far end. Freddie still collects for the sunbeds (which don't seem to have increased in number) but there was no sign of the donut man (take your own extra vitameena then!).
  • I saw some, but not much, evidence of the summer 2006 fire.
  • Apollo Apts. and the Campsite show no sign of opening. Ariadne taverna is closed and also Mitos taverna, the latter owing to the recent sad death of the owner at a tragically early age. Lamon Hotel seems barely functioning.
  • There is activity at the new development (Health and Spa Centre near Palegremnos) but it is only on one building, being at the end nearest Palegremnos. I paced out the frontage of the whole site along the beach road and it is about 250 metres. It can't be seen from the far end and only very occasionally heard. Work on the new harbour can occasionally be heard across the bay from the far end.
  • The only tavernas approaching busy seemed to be Manoussos, Lysseos (always virtually full) and Mousses.
  • Prices in (but sadly not in ) seemed little changed to me, the notable exception being petrol (ca. 1.35 per litre for unleaded 95 octane). The strong seems to have insulated them from some of the sharp increases we have seen in the UK (e.g. bread).
  • There was petrol strike for part of the time I was there which significantly inconvenienced those with hire cars. It is now over.  
  • It was good to see Ali and Dave again- still the only forum regulars who have had the dubious privilege of meeting me.
  • The Olympic rep, Edwina, is best described as the total opposite of Morven! Nuff said. For George's benefit the latter was in Plakias earlier in May (according to Ali) but has now returned to work in London.
  • Olympic transfers were the worst part of my holiday (2 hours 55 mins both times). I understand the need to drop other guest off in Bali and Rethymnon to save costs but why no toilet break? The arrangements for meeting guests at self catering accommodation in Plakias were poor (no rep on the coach). I shall be pointing out to Olympic how transfers could be improved at no extra cost.
  • The weather was not perfect, there being several cloudy days in my first week, with evenings really quite cold. By the end of my holiday the temperature was up to 30C, as it had been, by all accounts, during the first few days of May. While I was there there was very little rain during the day and the weather was very suitable for long walks. From my personal perspective it was an ideal balance for spending some time walking and some on the beach. I never remember seeing some people wearing fleeces on some evenings in Plakias before.
  • Best buy, 1.5L. raki for 6 from the Baradakis supermarket (on the right past Ostraco going west).
  • Heraklion airport wasn't too bad. Still one x-ray machine for hold luggage though but not a significant queue there.
  • There are now several buses a day to Rethymnon at sensible times. 4.00 on the bus from Plakias and 3.90 when you buy at Rethymnon bus station.
  • I was told that the taxi fare to Plakias is now 100 but 80 if booked from Plakias. I didn't see the sign at the airport giving taxis prices that was there in previous years.
For anyone who is interested I have written reviews in the Article System for Santa Maria studios/apartments and Mousses, Medousa, Sifi's, Souvlaki House, and Niko tavernas.

10
PlakChat / Currency Issues 2008
« on: April 30, 2008, 01:06:48 PM »
For several years I have bought at the Post Office as they didn't charge commission and the rate was good. They are still commission free but the rate is now very poor. My bank (Barclays) is now commission free and offers a much better rate. On the day I bought it was 1.1994 against 1.1741. With the recent decline in the value of the we need all the help we can get!

For those with a Nationwide credit card (which also charges no commission for purchases abroad) I found their rate (which is the commercial rate rather than the tourist rate) was about 0.07 better than buying in the UK. If you do use a CC abroad make sure they charge you in , because if they convert to the rate they use is likely to be poor.

This thread could also be used to share experiences of the ATMs in Plakias, should anyone wish to do so.

Mike

11
PlakChat / Raki
« on: June 02, 2006, 01:26:20 PM »
When we asked about this in a couple of local tavernas we were told it is home made. Does anyone know what strength it is (or does it vary widely, bearing in mind that the average Cretan would not have access to chemical analytical equipment so must distil/blend/dilute based on experience)? Maybe they use a hydrometer.

Most UK spirits are around 37.5-40% ABV although export versions of gin and whisky are normally 43-47%. Based on the effect on the throat I would say Raki is stronger.

Also, what gives it its distinctive flavour?

Mike

12
Plakias / 2006 season in Plakias
« on: March 29, 2006, 03:11:22 PM »
Although some Forum members have visited Plakias already I guess most will arrive from April onwards.

It would help those planning to go if some of the Plakias residents could inform us what is going on. e.g.

1) Has the bus service(s) started and to where.

2) Which tavernas/bars are not opening for 2006 or have changed hands.

3) Ditto for markets/supermarkets.

4) Are there any boat trips?

I have seen that the Meltemi disco has now gone; however, my best disco days are well in the past!

Mike

13
PlakChat / Harribobs
« on: October 25, 2005, 01:47:47 PM »
Congratulations Chris on overtaking Ostraco (whatever happened to him) at the top of the stats.

Two questions. You said in one posting that you are in the travel business but:

1. What do you do that gives you so much time in the Forums and on the web in general?

2. Are there any vacancies?

Mike

ps. Don't ask how I manage it as I don't work.

14
Plakias / Buying Euros in the UK
« on: September 12, 2005, 02:21:37 PM »
For a while now the Post Office has been a good bet- no commission and good rates. This summer Going Places and Lunn Poly have gone "no commission" to compete. Lunn Poly has recently been advertising better rates than the PO in their shops. However, this is for amounts over 600- surely more than most want to change. For less than 600 the rate is much worse. So the PO is still the cheapest I know of in the UK.

Hope some of you will find this of some help.

Mike

15
Holiday Companies / Olympic 2006 bookings
« on: July 21, 2005, 01:53:39 PM »
For those planning to go next year via the package tour route, I'm sure most assume that booking on the internet gets you the lowest price. On going online I found that Olympic were offering a 7.7% discount off the basic price (i.e. the price excluding flight and fuel supplements). I thought I had seen somewhere that the online discount was 10% off the basic price so I phoned them. They not only offered me 10% off, but 10% off the total price. Use Olympic's 0800 (freephone) number not the premium rate 0870 number.

Fuel supplements of 20pp seem common- I ought to be glad I avoided one in May this year I guess.

Mike

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