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Gorgeous Crete

Posted by Kritsa Yvonne, 10 April 2010 · 3,828 views

More fantastic walks, a mini holiday in Rethymnon, the Easter celebrations and a very special Gorge walk ended our fantastic spring break on a high.

During every walk, I kept my eyes open for more varieties of orchids to “pic”; I have added a couple of the more showy blooms to the photo gallery.

Forum friends Old Viking (and Mrs Viking) arrived in Kritsa; we enjoyed the opportunity of catching up with them again, and Pam, Bob and the cats arrived to start their new life in Crete. We decided that “popping down” to see Pam and Bob was not viable, as it would take nearly 3 hours each way; then we had a great idea and decided to combine it with an overnight visit to Rethymnon.

Like Agios Nikolaos, Rethymnon was empty of tourists but was getting ready, with paintbrush in hand, to welcome their Easter visitors. We found a very nice sea front hotel that was walking distance from the town, and walk we did! It is now safe to say we have “done” the harbour, old town and fortress. The following morning we drove on to visit Pam and Bob; it was good to see them again and have the opportunity to be nosey and see their new home growing before their eyes – photo on the gallery.

We were back in Kritsa in time to hear the evening bells of the three main churches chiming to invite worshipers to the Great Thursday (Maundy Thursday) service. Following the service, women worked well into the night to decorate their Epitaph (bier) with thousands of blooms; each Epitaph then rested in the church throughout Great Friday (Good Friday) as the mournful bells chimed monotonously.

On Good Friday morning, I shared an English tradition with some of our neighbours by giving them homemade lemony hot cross buns. We could measure the appreciation of our gesture by the range of Easter goodies we happily received to supplement the lemon cakes, lemon curd and lemon drizzle loaf I had made – did I mention our glut of lemons? (Or our impending diets!)

After the evening service, four strong young men in traditional Cretan dress carried each Epitaph around its church three times before setting off, with the congregation following in procession, around the village. This is where tradition ended; the three processions could not meet up and go along the main street because there was no main street! The road works were still in full swing but at least there was a layer of concrete over the rubble – with gaping holes where drains will go and brightly painted plastic water bottles on metal spikes to show where water and electricity points will go. As you can imagine it was a complete health and safety nightmare and in recognition of this, only one procession picked its way down to street to meet the other two. Whilst milling about in the throng we met up with some of the other part time ex pats who had arrived to enjoy Easter so we ended our dangerous walk by settling down in a nearby bar for a drink and a natter.

We understand a certain well-known webmaster enjoyed an Easter Holiday at Elounda and like us, watched the moving (emotional and literal) ceremony of the Resurrection and burning of Judas by the lake at Agios Nikolaos (see the Explore Crete facebook page).

On Easter Monday, Yannis and Maria joined us for a walk up and around Kritsa Gorge. We all strode off purposefully believing Alan when he said it should take about two hours. The biggest surprise to us was the lack of goats in the gorge, perhaps the fact that there we some other walkers in the gorge had caused them to move on. Although Yannis took many photos that will no doubt appear on facebook and/or Explore Crete I took a snap by the sign pointing back towards Kritsa as a souvenir to put onto the gallery.

The biggest surprise for Yannis and Maris was how well Alan has learned GMT (Greek Maybe Time) because after nearly four hours we happily reached a Kritsa taverna to enjoy a well-earned beer and a delicious lunch of assorted mezes.