Monday, December 10, 2018

Fun at a small Christmas craft sale

On Friday Vivien emailed me saying that the weather looked good for Saturday so if we wanted to join them at the craft sale we were welcome.  She had told us about this last weekend at the Botanical Gardens. She said that we could walk around the village of Vamos, where the sale would be held, while they were selling at the fair. Sounded like a good idea to us.

Saturday morning when we got up the sun was shining and skies were blue! Hard to believe after the last week! So we are happy to go sightseeing.

Vamos is a small village about 45 mins from Chania and we again get to see the snow covered Lefka Ori (White Mtns). There is a large British expat community in Vamos and they are putting on the craft sale.  Both Vivien and Chris are originally from England and have each written and published a book that they are selling.  Vivien's book is about her life with a ragdoll cat for 23 years which started back in Thailand and Chris's is a murder mystery. Also at the fair were people selling jewelry, cider, baking, samosas, chilli, handmade cards, handmade soaps etc.  Interesting little fair.

Lefka Ori mountains

View of the mountains from Vamos
We enjoyed our walk around the old village of Vamos.  Stopped and had a coffee and people watched for awhile, plus read the first chapter of Vivien's book before heading back to the sale. Once we got there we met the couple from Ireland that are renting the penthouse that Vivien and Chris also own and rent out. It is right next door to their own condo. Frank and Lena have been on Crete since April. They are here until next April. They just had their first baby a month ago! They are a young couple - Frank is able to do his work online while they have been travelling. Even though now with a new crying baby things have changed a bit LOL!  We are all going to go to a village near the sea, Gavalochori, to have lunch, but first we have to stop at a store that sells only British/English food and dry goods.  Vivien is looking for Heinz tomato soup! I gave her a hard time about buying tomatoe soup when there are soooo many tomatoes here on Crete!  I found some pancake syrup, mango chutney and a small piece of white cheddar cheese with peppercorns to buy.

Old Village of Vamos

The locals like painting rocks and using for decorations

Very old direction signs (Xania is another spelling of Chania)
Vivien's book- the cover is from a painting a friend did for Vivien

We drive down from Vamos towards the sea on a twisty road, I ask Vivien how old she was when she was visiting monks in Thailand in 1981 - and she said 30 (this was how her book starts out).  And here I thought she was closer to mid seventies not just 2-3 yrs older then me! I say that because when we were at the Botanical gardens some parts of the path were steep and she had to hold onto MY arm to get down, plus on our way to Vamos she had said "and you kids can walk around Vamos while we are at the sale" LOL!!  She has flaming red hair which covers her white hair, so its hard to figure out her age.

We all arrive at the little village and find a nice restaurant with outside seating in the sun. I have lamb which is cooked in a nice wine sauce, Dwayne has meatballs, Vivien has pumpkin pie - now this is a hot pie - not at all like the pumpkin pie I'm thinking of!  It tasted really good - pumpkin cooked with nice spices layered between pastry. The others had the same choices and Vivien orders a litre of wine. As it turns out is is mostly her and I that drink it because Chris won't because he's driving, Lena is nursing so only has a little, same with Frank because he's driving and Dwayne only has a bit. So that left quite a bit for Vivien and I :)  For dessert we were given a nice moist coconut cake and of course raki.  Frank and I had a shot of raki but no one else.

Almost forget again to get a picture of everyone before lunch was finished!
So after about an hour and a half of enjoying lunch and conversation we headed home.  Again we were suppose to go to Vivien's place but ran out of time.  Guess once we have our rental car we can go visit them and Lena and Frank.

Sunday was a quiet day spent at home since it was again raining off and on.

Today it started out nice and sunny but quite windy.  Decided we would walk to a butcher shop about 4 km away towards Chania.  We had previously stopped there and the meat looked good but didn't buy any because we were on our way into Chania.  When we got there there didn't seem to be a lot of variety - but did buy some pork chops, chicken breast and kababs (mixture of ground beef, pork and lamb on wooden skewers)  From there we decided to go have some coffee and snacks.  Then it was off  to another grocery store that is on the bus route so we could catch the 2:00 to Tsikalaria back home.  By now we had walked 6km so ready for a bus to take us back! We needed a few things from a big grocery store so this worked out.

Once we were finished shopping we had about 20-30 mins to wait for the bus. As we are waiting it starts to rain, so we go back to the store and wait under an awning as it really started coming down! We figured we would have to stay here until we saw the bus then "run" across the parking lot to wave it down.  But as it turned out the rain subsided just before the bus came so we were able to wait at the curb and no running required! LOL!!  And once we got off the bus to walk the short distance to our house it was only sprinkling so got home without being soaked - since of course the umbrella was sitting in the house!  It was so clear this morning, but with the winds it didnt take long for the rain clouds to blow in.

And that just about ends another day for us :)

Walking towards Chania and the bitter oranges are starting to fall off the trees - but Dwayne doesn't want marmalade :( 

Love the different red plants for sale at the greenhouse :)

Friday, December 7, 2018

Crazy "siesta" times!

So on Thursday we did head to Chania to go to the Vodaphone office.  We left at 1pm and walked to the Souda to Chania bus route 2kms away since the Tsikalaria bus doesn't come until 2:30.  Dwayne mentioned that maybe the store would close at 2pm like many do until 5:30. But I thought no way would a store like that close. We waited at the bus stop for almost 30 mins before the bus arrived, so we arrived in Chania just before 2. We walked over to the Vodaphone store and walked in just to be told they were closing until 5:30!! Crazy that the only store in Chania would close mid afternoon.  Oh well we'll try the store in Souda tomorrow.

We then headed towards the westside of Chania where we haven't really visited yet.  This is the area that the locals go to to enjoy the beach during the summer. Guess it gets pretty busy, but today it is very windy and the waves are huge! Not a soul in the water LOL!! A few restaurants are open, and Vivian had said these are good ones to have a fish dinner at - not expensive like the ones surrounding Chania Harbour.  We'll have to come back another time and stop in for lunch.
Big waves today

The waves crash on the rocks and go right over the top
Huge swells
Small harbour before the beach area

Lights in the marina are attached to old doors - pretty cool idea 

This fisherman won't be going out today!

That weird boat with the round windows reminds me of the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A movie I saw back in elementary and scared the heck out of me! Think it was the HUGE OCTOPUS!

Guess they wont be back until next spring!

The Beach

Big waves have come up and deposited sand onto the road

This tree wont give up1
We head back towards the bus stop, we'll have to take the Souda bus back since its now 3:30.  On the way back we stop at a new grocery store we haven't visited before and find they have ice cream! So of course we buy it since we are heading home.  Shouldn't melt before we get home since it is a cool day.  As we walk towards the bus stop we see bus 13 coming down the street. We try to "run" to catch it but the stop is to far away :( Oh well the next one should come in 15 mins now that we are in the "rush hours"

Octopus anyone?

We sit beside a lady on the bus bench.  She smiles and is busy enjoying an orange. She then hands us each an orange to enjoy :)  Then gives us another two, which I put into my backpack for later.  When her bus arrives she leaves and says 'bye bye'. People here are very nice :)  Our bus arrived about 5 mins later.

We get off at the nearest stop to our place and walk the 2kms back. We get home just after 4:30 and the ice cream is still hard! LOL!!  Yeah! we have found another place to buy ice cream :)  Plus we walked a total of 8km today - so having some ice cream for a treat is OK :)

I cant believe how many oranges are wasted here! Do they know how much that many mandarin oranges would cost in Canada??

Of course the orange trees along the sidewalk are all bitter types! Why not plant sweet oranges so everyone can enjoy instead of the oranges just dropping onto the ground and rotting??? We found the same problem in Seville, Spain. Why plant bitter orange trees?
By 5:30 it's dark outside and I take out the frozen shrimp that we got free awhile back and let them thaw a bit in cold water before I do the cleaning.  What a job cleaning these shrimp!  Man they have long antennas!  Not often that I get shrimp with head on! So first I remove the head and then peel the shell off the rest of the body.  Some of these cleaned shrimp end up being smaller then my little finger! Oh course the kitties are at my feet meowing away hoping for little treats! I throw the really small shrimp and any broken bits down for them to enjoy. One of the kittens - Max really likes the shrimp but Fluffy isn't quite sure about it and kinda plays with it first. But soon learns that if he does that Max will be the one that gets in there and snags the treat! LOL!! Don't play with your food just eat it! LOL!!

After doing all that work I probably have about 8oz of shrimp left to cook up for dinner.  Really just enough for 1 one persons (me anyways :). I brown some butter and sliced garlic for awhile before tossing  in the shrimp.  Strange that once the shrimp cook these ones stay white instead of the  usual pink I'm use to seeing.  But they taste just as good :)  Might have to buy some BIG ones next time we are at the market and have a good feast one night.

Today before we headed out to Souda I decided to make some cookies :)  Christmas baking LOL!! I bought some toffee chips yesterday and other cookie ingredients incase I wanted to do so baking :)  But measuring is hard since I have no measuring spoons or cups.  Need to change cups to gms since I do have a food weigh scale. But I think I screwed up a bit on the salt since the cookies were a little to salty :0

That little capsule has vanilla flavouring in it! Think this was the first time since grade 7 that I had to mix everything with a wooden spoon!! No beaters in this kitchen 

We left at 1:00 and end up rushing to get to the Vodaphone store before 2. But we did get in and the clerk said we still have 1 GB of data left so we are good for the next month. The least we can buy is 10GB for 20E which is really cheap but I'll never use that much in a month! Not when we have internet at the house. But I think that once Dec 12th comes around I will loose any data not used since at that time its been a month since I bought the pkg. Guess we wait and see.

And of course our walk is never complete without a stop for a coffee and treat :)

Dwayne's HUGE donut and my petite chocolate covered croissant with vanilla filling - and freddo cappuccino :) ALL so yummy!

Christmas decorations at the cafe/bakery

The roots of this tree just ooze over the curb like lava 

Found a beautiful rose on our walk home

Yes I picked the rose plus some wild nasturtium flowers for the table

Max is so funny, Dwayne works on the single bed he uses as a couch, and Max has to sit on his legs!
For supper I thawed out or dethawed ..... some of the leftover moussaka and boy was it ever good second time round! :)  Glad we still have one more serving in the freezer.

Now I don't want to hear about anyone going outside today singing "Baby Its Cold Outside" LOL!!  Enjoy your weekend :)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

At least it's not snowing!

Since my last post we've just been hanging around. Sunday afternoon it cleared up so we walked to the local store and loaded up with vegetables since we missed the Saturday market in Chania.  And since Dwayne fixed the grocery buggy with some super glue, I think it will work, as long as we don't bump it to hard on the stairs coming up to the house!  The store here in Tsikalaria has a nice selection of vegetables and the price seems good.

Monday it was rainy and windy so ended up inside for the day. These past few weeks have been a little wet. Mostly in the mornings and then it clears up in the afternoon.  When we were having lunch with Vivien and Chris they mentioned how nice the weather was last winter, but then the year before that they had snow in Chania! So we should be happy just to get rain once in awhile. Even though when we were driving up to the Botanical Gardens we could see snow on the tops of the mountains further inland. But I didnt get a picture :(  Once we get the car I will be able to get that picture.

I worked on our expenses once Vivien told us what the power cost was for Nov - 62E - $95C (.23/kwh).  Which I find kinda high since we seldom use the heater! But we do have to run the dehumidifier every night for about an hour to remove the dampness in the bedroom.
Our Nov expenses:  Rent  $900C  Food/car rental/etc $2142  Power $95  Total  $3137C  Which is still less then we normally spend in Canada :)

Tuesday started out nice and sunny. So quickly did 2 loads of laundry and then we headed to Souda since we were getting Cabin Fever!!LOL!!  We figured we would pick up a few groceries, I needed some flour and yeast to try and make baguettes on a rainy day,  and then have pizza for lunch at our favourite place.  Great day for a walk. Ended up walking 7kms.
Our favourite pizza place

For dinner I had spiced lamb kababs which I made into patties for easier grilling, and made Dwayne roasted lemon potatoes and our usual greek salad :)
Wednesday I got my chance to make baguettes since it was drizzling out.  But after all that time working on the dough, the 2 loaves I made didnt really work out :(  Think it was to cold in the house for the yeast to work properly. Oh well it was fun.  Also had a hard time trying to get the oven up to 400F- seems the pan of water I had to put into the oven for a crispy crust was screwing up the temp.  Well now I will slice up the baguettes and make crackers to enjoy with our olive tapenade :)  I also made another pot of vegetable soup and pizza dough. Since the baguettes didnt really work out I decided to make pizza for supper instead of the planned soup and baguettes :)

The pizza dough worked out fine because I was able to put in on top of the oven while the baguettes were baking so it was nice and warm.  But I just split the dough in 2 and it should have been into 4 dough rounds because the pizza was pretty thick. And since I just had a drip tray from the grill to use as a pizza pan (no cookie sheets here) I was limited to how far I could stretch the dough out. But it all tasted good in the end.  It was a good way to pass a rainy day.

Didnt get airy and light 

Left over piece thick crust pizza 

my pizza pan

One of 2 thin crust pizzas that I will freeze for later
sliced baguettes real thin and ready to bake
Ahhhh crackers :) 

I picked this avocado about 2 weeks ago on our walk and it is finally ripe! Was rock hard - like the ones you buy in Edmonton :)  Now guacamole and crackers!!
Today it is windy but no rain, and surprisingly it is nice out - about 14C. So should be going out today since I have to check on my cell service for the remaining time we are here. I think it expires on Dec 7th.  If its cheap enough I'll renew because I need the google map and when we have the rental car. I can use without data but it is not as accurate. And google maps can only be used with data.  Oh well will check it out later today.

I've added a couple of extras on the blog, maps of where we have travelled.  They are a little large for the site, but I cant figure out how to make them smaller.  Still working on :)

Hope everyone back in Alberta are getting through all the snow of the past few days.

Here are some pics of the plants and flowers that even in the rain and cool weather still keep blooming :)

Neighbours lemon tree

Ours :(  I'll have to climb up to get that ripe one!!

This bougainvillea use to hang over the trellis upstairs until it got trimmed back. Because of high winds the tree could be blown up and over and making a real mess on the patio.  It looked soooo beautiful before the trim!

Hibiscus is still blooming

Flower on the plumeria tree

Morning glory climbing around the fence

Mandevilla vine still looking good

This Oleander bush will be blooming soon

African daisies (Osteospermum) LOVE this flower 

Hibiscus - one ready to bloom and the other finished  Lots of blooms still to come - but think it would like a little more sunshine :) 

Neighbours impatiens 

The neighbours other plants along the walkway

Fun at a small Christmas craft sale

On Friday Vivien emailed me saying that the weather looked good for Saturday so if we wanted to join them at the craft sale we were welcome....