Tuesday 12 March 2013

It's All Greek To Me *boom boom*

A little taster for some basic Greek language.   The spellings aren't hard and fast because their alphabet is different, but close enough :)  Of course you will be understood in English, but why not give it a go :)

And yes, this is from a T-Shirt I actually bought from Chania market - I know!!! Enough sad *shamed face* ;)
and now for the really important questions! (Ena is 1 by the way)!

A small beer please - ena beera micro parakalo
A large beer please - ena beera megali parakalo
A bottle of white wine please - ena boukali grassi parakalo

Feel free to ask for further translations :)

Annie x

Saturday 9 March 2013

Cretan Food - Try Everything :)

I guess Greece is known for it's wonderful Greek Salad with feta cheese, and yes it's amazing.  Also, for their calamari, which, again, is one of my firm favourites.

However, having travelled to Greece for around 19 years now, we have been introduced to many different local foods and I would urge you to try them.

Particularly around Plaka where our Villa is, the tavernas are serving locally grown produce, the olive oil is amazing, and they tend to cook their food long and slow - just how I like it.  Their food is cooked in the oven however, I have tried for many years to find a slow cooker out there but to date it has eluded me!  UPDATE:  Found a slow cooker, never been used :)

Calamari - yummy

Fortini's local taverna is rumoured to have a menu, but we prefer her to tell us what she has been cooking that day, or you can choose something from the grill, local fish etc.

You can of course choose Taki's bar for more Western food, and the sport, or Elpis next door for a mix of both.  Takis has a games room opposite the taverna, and Elpis added a fab playground opposite his taverna too.  So a fine choice of fayre in such a little village.

 Next along the main road is Ta Aptera, situated next to the fabulous Aptera Ruins.  "Funny lady" Chris, as my kids call her, the most marvellous women, offers more local food to die for.  Well worth a trip, if not for the food but the local gossip too :)
Beetroot, garlic and olive oil

Whats on offer Ta Aptera
Dining out isn't expensive either, we have found that both lunch with soft drinks, and dinner with wine, always work out at around 28 Euro for the 4 of us.

We do also like to make use of the  BBQ, or use the oven of course, and have the odd night eating Al Fresco at the Villa, but you don't have to.

Following I've listed a few of the local foods you may find on offer, with an explanation of what you can expect.

Briam - a Greek style Ratatouille, packed full of good veggies and herbs

Boureki - a Cretan speciality, a potato and courgette bake

Saganaki - fried cheese, or Prawn Saganaki - a variation with prawns

Kleftiko - slow cooked lamb, but done to die for

Cheese pie - cheese and potato bake

I will add to this list, but I would also add a good tip, if you just want a snack, go for a Gyros - basically a wrap with - OK the original kebab, sometimes after a long day out I'm all over a 3 Euro deal, knowing its not an elephant leg and good food.

Enjoy x

Thursday 7 March 2013

Top 10 Tips for Renting a Car & Driving in Crete

I've had many a conversation with clients who are nervous about driving in Crete.  It can be a bit mad, but if you follow a few tips you will be fine.

You can have a beach holiday at the Villa, but we like to hire a car to get out and explore more of what's on offer.   I would say also that the condition of the main roads is fab, though can be a bit rural in the villages.

1)  Drive on the right hand side - the roundabouts take getting used to but they have arrows to guide you.

2)  Drive very far on the right hand side on the main roads, as near to the emergency lane, there are some very hairy over-taking moments, so stay out of the way, not witnessed any crashes yet to be fair though!

3)  Don't panic if you see a road sign in Greek, on the main roads it will be followed by the same sign in English.

4)  Be aware that the Greeks don't much care too much about consistency in spelling places, there is often a variation - Almyrida and Almirida are in fact the same place.

5)  When driving through towns and villages, be wary that the vehicle/person in front may just stop for a chat with someone.  They will also be oblivious to your car horn - you are on Cretan time now.

6)  There are speed limits, and take care, as above, you are on Cretan time and the police won't understand why you'd be in a rush :)

7)  Whilst driving in the beautiful mountains, beware that you may suddenly come across a shepherd and his flock of sheep.  I like to think we are on their land, so let them get along to where they are, again hurrying them up is not going to help in any way.

8)  On windy roads the Cretans also like to travel in the middle of the road, no idea why but take care.

9)  Parking to Cretans can sometimes resemble abandoning of cars, but in the Cities, Chania etc. take care as there are parking restrictions and parking fines can be expensive.  If going into Chania, when you get to the one way road, there is plenty of parking at the top, but nearer the centre it is restricted. If you'd prefer a controlled car park, turn left at the bottom of the one way, opposite the majestic market (currently being renovated 2022), then further along, past Goodies on the right, you will see a parking sign, turn right, and it is under the main supermarket.

10) Be careful choosing a car hire company.  One of my clients was asked to leave 1000 Euro deposit with the company, at the airport, which basically wiped out all of his holiday cash.  So be very specific about what is expected of you.

I use the hire company Autoclub, they have offices in Almyrida and Kalyves, and have never had a problem with them.  Shop around though, as there are a few in the Villages now.   I would add however, that since the pandemic, some of them had to sell some of their assets, so car hire is more expensive now, as fewer cars, but hopefully this will settle.


If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me :)

Annie x