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Travel And Culture

Posted by Kritsa Yvonne, 30 July 2008 · 1,102 views

Starting our trip on Monday12th July with a one and half hour delay in Dover due to the incorrectly named Speed Ferry (it was only running on three engines) was not really a problem; we had pre booked a room in Boulogne to allow us to have an early start the next day.

Any frustration caused by the delay melted away once the cars started to disembark because virtually all of the cars were classic sports cars; once off the boat they revved and roared away to give the “audience” a treat. When people realised just what was unloading the front row thronged with men, their cameras and big smiles!

As usual, we drove through France on day one; in one substantial motor way service area in the Alsace region, we were amazed to see several storks although we now know the area is famous for them. The storks were scavenging in the car park just as pigeons would in the UK.

That night we stayed in a hotel in a Swiss motorway service area and whilst that does not sound like a good location we were able to leave via a staff entrance onto a lane that led to a meadow walk with far reaching views of snow capped mountains. As we turned to return to the hotel we saw four hot air balloons in the distance; what a view they must have had!

We then had a fantastic blue-sky drive through the Swiss Alps via the St Gothard Pass, whilst we enjoyed the “obligatory” stop at the top the journey up and then down is much more impressive than the bare smooth, greenish tinged rocks and the small icy cold lake of the pass.

If Crete is our first love then Italy comes close behind; part of the reason we drive to Kritsa is so that we can explore more of Italy en route. This time we had arranged a two-night stop at Verona and had tickets to see the opera Aida at the Roman Arena. We sat up in the Gods on the stone steps and were equipped with cushions (four hours on stone steps!) plus raincoats and umbrellas as the forecast was not good.

However, the evening remained warm and dry allowing us to enjoy a memorable occasion made even more spectacular as they integrated one end of the arena into the set. We are not opera buffs but had previously bought a CD to ensure we knew the story and this was certainly helpful but the magnificent staging, sights and sound rendered the language unimportant.

We left Verona in a thunderstorm and lashing rain so we counted ourselves very lucky.

After two overnight ferries Ancona/Patras then Piraeus/Heraklion, we arrived in Kritsa at 7.30 a.m. Sunday. We walked down the narrow track that almost reaches our house to check if access were possible because, as usual, we had more to unload than you would imagined can fit into a car.

Walking to and from where the car was parked we had to pass a taverna where we are always warmly welcomed by the owners even though we are seldom customers. This morning was no exception and before we made it back to the car, we found ourselves enjoying a gift breakfast of coffee and homemade biscuits.

Some of the old people who live close to us sit on their doorsteps to watch the world go by. Our struggles to carry everything the short distance from the car to the house gave them something to smile at; they must think we have no possession left in England and they are nearly right.

The number of items we had to unload from the car increased to include the large bag of potatoes given to us at the taverna as a welcome back to Kritsa gift; yes, we were “home” again!