Got at in Gortyn
Aug 30, 2015
|We had a slow start today - a rest day. A windy day in the hills.
Washing was done.
Then a restful morning tea coffee on the patio at the main building (breakfast room / office?). We watched an eagle soaring over the valley.
We had no special plans, a and Zmara (hostess) suggested a drive south of Iraklion. So that's what we did.
After turning off the National Rd at Iraklion, the road climbed slowly through the southern suburbs and up the valleys to the hills. The road was similar to the National rd for quite a distance, and then deteriorated to a normal 1 lane each way. On either side olive groves and vineyards . We arrived at an interchange and turned off for Venerato where we thought we might find a bank with an ATM. The town was a reasonable size but no Trapeza's were seen. J asked the mini market man and he directed us to Dafnes where there would be an ATM. It was a short drive past more groves and vineyards to a reasonable town - the main road running into town was narrow and care needed to be taken. We arrived at the main square (Platia) and there was a market on, plus tables and chairs for cafes, and the rest of the Platia with long trestle tables and chairs. clearly something was happening. We turned and returned to the Pltia, parked, and selected a table. Nothing!
So J wandered in - "yes you can have a drink". " Any food available "? "No". So we moved down the road a bit and walked up to a cafe - there were a couple of tables with men drinking ( and eating) "Yieasas"! they said. One was a bit blotto. We ascertained food was available so we ordered Tost for C ( a toasted bread roll with cheese and tomato), Tiropita for J, and Frappes ( nothing for Golly) we talked with the girl who was very friendly and had some English. We picked a table - more talking from the men - friendly but drunk. We just smiled and acknowledged them. Our food arrived ( total 4.20 euro!), then the waitress attended to the others. We heard the word Australia mentioned. More Yieasas', and the drunk showed us his house and slurred on. again we nodded and smiled.
We ordered some homemade cake - many layers of fill as the base with creamy custard and cream on top - very nice. As we left , our drunk and his mates all shouted goodbyes and good luck! We stopped at the bakery for bread. The man got the bread and took the money. Then he took the bread back, went into the other room and came back with a fresher loaf! His son was with him and we had a chat. He was very shy and was learning English so we gave him some practice.
As we drove past our cafe on the way out - more shouting and waving! They are very friendly ( we think they like Australians!)
We drove on South, climbing , and then descended into a very wide valley. Olives and grapes as far as the eye could see. We drove on to Gortyn, an important ancient site. Gortyn was the Roman capital of Creta et Cyrenaica, and was first inhabited around 3200 BC. This is where J lost his cool. We paid our entrance ( total 6 euro - about normal) and got tickets and a brochure. We started walking to the first stop - the Roman Odeon. Then we attempted to wander to the next spot - fences everywhere, no signs, no proper paths or walkways. And it was hot! J studied the dodgy brochure. There was a tiny poorly drawn map with numbers and a menu. After a while he figured out that most of the sites were not even near the car park and entrance. He went back and grumpily asked. "They are over the road and 300 m walk along that way" he was told. He felt like saying " why didn't you tell us that when we bought our tickets"! We got the car and drove 300m. Again, no decent signed or walkways - just an olive grove. And it was still hot, and J said "I'm not tramping through all that". "They couldn't organise a proverbial "drinks evening" in a brewery"!!
Then we drove home. We stopped in Varvaras ( we had christened it "poo town" because of the smell as we drove through earlier) for milk. J also selected grapes as the harvest was on. The lady powered J an glass of something lethal and homemade that he couldn't decline - it was very nice and he bought a bottle ( we think it is Mastika - very nice and sweet, with a kick)#
Then she hacked off a piece of something like a cross between bread and cake ( we think it has some religious significance - the bakery we went to was full of it) and plastered chunky nectarine jam on it. How could we refuse. J got out while the going was good!!
Then home to Achlada. Short siesta before tea at 8. We are eating here tonight. Tea provided by Amara - no idea what it will be..........
# Mastika is a liqueur seasoned with mastic, a resin gathered from the mastic tree, a small evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region. Wikipedia.