Sunday, 29 June 2008

Week 12 , Hania Crete

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,

Week 12 means we have nearly been away 3 months. We are now back from the mainland of the Peloponnese after staying with our German friends Ralf and Titia and their 4 year old son Janni. We had an enjoyable time with them in their adorable holiday cottage, barely big enough for all of us but we did fit. They have a fabulous view over the Mediterranean as they are elevated perhaps 300m over looking Stoupa Beach. Water is a huge issue here, however millions of litres of water flow into the sea everyday from the craggy mountainous country side surrounding them. You can see an outlet where the water comes up from the ocean floor from the balcony of the house and can feel the cold and see as it mixes with the sea water as you swim.

We really had a good beach break at Stoupa as Janni was mad keen for the beach and was learning to swim.
The locals all play paddle ball, frisbee, volleyball and generally find the hottest spot they can and lie in it, well we hid in the shade as much as possible. We did a few trips around the local countryside including a trip to spectacular underground caves where you take a 1.5km boat ride through the caves, stunning. Also fire is a big threat here as well. During last year’s summer season one third of the
Peloponnese was burnt and as we arrived in the ferry, aircraft were busy scooping water to pour on fires already.

We Caught the same ferry back to Crete on the Wednesday back to Kissamos. We love it in Kissamos, mainly as it is not such a tourist town, and has a friendly village atmosphere. One night on the way back from the internet Cafe, we noticed a band setting up, so sat down at one of the many cafes surrounding the square. Not only did the musicians show up but a dozen dancers in traditional costume. It was a great night and I have made a video (see link). Kissamos also has the best museum we have seen so far in Crete and it is free. It has an amazing mozaic floor restoration and some of the roman ruins are within the building itself. We stayed 3 days in Kissamos and caught the bus to Hania yesterday.

Harnia is another thriving tourist capital as it has a beautiful Venetian harbour and a walled city. We visited the Navy museum today and its Navy week here in Hania so expect another video soon.
We are only staying 2 days and then on to the eastern end of the
Island, then on to Rhodes and then Turkey.

All the best for now

Ric & Louise

PS: I updated our Pisca Web album site with our Thailand photos

Latest videos:

Monday, 23 June 2008

Week 11 Stoupor, Greece

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,

We are now on the mainland of Greece in the Peloponnese, Its the middle finger of land that juts out towards Crete. We are staying on the western side of the peninsular about half way down. We started the week in Rethymno and moved to Kissamoss at the western end of the town where we got accommodation for 25 Euro a night so even cheaper again and we were staying right on the esplanade again there is a big difference in the number of tourists. The population is only about 8000 in the town and surrounding area. On the Wednesday we hired a car and did a bit of exploring down the west coast of the Island, when we return to Crete in a week or so we will look forward to doing some more travelling like this as you get to see more and get away from the crowds. Wednesday evening we had dinner and watched our ferry come into harbour. It only comes in once a week on the Wednesday and leaves Thursday morning.

The ferry journey from Kissamoss to Gythion on the mainland takes 8 hours but is a large enough to take cars and trucks and stops twice on the way to a couple of Islands. There is a bar and cafe onboard. We were met by Ralph when we arrived and he drove us the 80km or so back to the other side of the peninsular to a tiny town called Stoupor where he and Titia and their son Janni stay in their holiday house. Like the rest of Greece we have seen so far, it’s a beautiful place.

So since arriving here we have been beaching out every day as Janni just loves the beach. It’s been great to have some enforced rest time on our holiday and catching up with Ralph and Titia who we haven’t seen for 8 years. The Euro Cup is on at the moment so I have been forced to drink beer and watch football with Ralph while Louise & Titia drink wine and gaze out over beautiful harbours.

We catch the ferry back to Crete on Wednesday, so will be reporting on our hardships from there.

All the best till then.

Ric & Louise

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Week 11 Crete, Greece

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,

It has been another busy week, starting with our brief visit to London. We arrived at 6am after the 12 hour flight and headed off straight away to Buckingham Palace where we were in time for the changing of the guards. It’s quite a spectacle and worth seeing, I’ve put a video on Youtube. That evening we went out to see my Uncle Murray for dinner. Tuesday it was more sightseeing starting with the London Eye, the big ferris wheel overlooking the whole city. Murray joined us for the day as well as we wandered around town and visiting some quaint old English Pubs.

Wednesday we were on an afternoon flight to Iraklois, the capital of Crete. Arriving at about 9 and getting settled in to the hotel, we ventured out to dinner at about 11pm, most of the restaurants were only warming up as it is still considered early in Greece. In the light of day the beauty of the location revealed itself, a truly stunning place, every ally and street is a postcard setting, from the harbour town fort to the top of the city walls. Thursday we just walked around taking photos and drinking it in. It’s been a bit of a culture shock as we have come from Bangkok to London and now Greece within a week. We feel a little drab as the locals look so stunningly dressed. On the Friday we visited Knossos which is a palace from the Minoic Civilization dating back 2000 BC. Unfortunately some English git arrived in about 1900 or so and concreted everything he could see. So it was a bit of a disappointment, but worth seeing all the same.

Saturday, we caught the bus 80km to the west to another town called Rethymno where we found a hotel room overlooking the Mediterranean and a group of Restaurants with a balcony for only 35 Euros a night, half the price of Iraklio and twice the view. The old city here is even more scenic. There is also a large fort overlooking the town that we visited today. We were a bit worried about money when we first arrived, but we realise that if we stick to the smaller towns it will be cheaper.

We are staying 3 days here and then moving on to Kissamos, a small town on the far western end of the Island on Wednesday, so we can catch a ferry to the mainland on Thursday. We are going to visit some German friends who have a holiday house in Kalamata. So far the plan is to stay a week there and then come back to Crete.

PS: I have posted some more video on Youtube:

All the best for now

Ric & Louise

Monday, 9 June 2008

Week 10 Bangkok London

Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,

Wednesday we left Koh Phangan at 7 in the morning and it took a ferry a bus a mini van the aircraft and a taxi, as well as 12 hours to get to Bangkok. However we ended up in a creepy rundown hotel in the seedy side of Bangkok that we found in the Lonely Planet book. We booked it over the internet but you just never can tell. Needless to say we found a new hotel and moved into a more respectable hotel in the seedy side of town. We squeezed in a day of sight seeing and went to the floating market, The Tiger Temple and the River Kwai in one day, a 13 hour marathon and we got to see one of the , but it was worth it.

We fly out of Bangkok on Sunday 9th June, just after midnight. We have spent 3 nights here and have done our shopping and some sight seeing as well and ready for the next part of our trip to start.

I started writing this email as we were waiting for our midnight flight, however I got cut short and now finishing it on Monday afternoon about 4pm local time, the computer and body clock is telling me its 10pm, its 1am back home in Australia and I’ve only had a few hours sleep really, but we did see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace today, but I’ll have to watch the rerun on video as I’m now just so tired. Such is travel.

Not having much luck with the internet connections in asia, I have 4 videos plus our Thailand photos to upload but no luck so far.

latest youtube video is

Will report more next week from Crete in Greece.

All the best

Ric & Louise

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Week 9 Koh Phangan, Thailand

Dear Ethel, family and friends,

The 1st of June means that we have been away for two months today. We are still enjoying our relaxed stay on Koh Phangan. At the beginning of we borrowed Richard’s motor bike and spent 3 days at Haad Chalok Lam, which is an attractive fishing village in the north of the Island. You could almost feel like you were the only tourist at this time of year, although we stayed in the very nice Chaloklam Bay Resort.

On our return to civilisation at Thongsala we decided to stay at Charm Beach Resort, where all of Richard’s friends and family come to stay and Mr and Mrs Charming are well, charming. They also have a lovely pool, and hammocks. We have been keeping up the eating standards by eating at John’s a couple of nights, a Japanese last night. We are off to John’s again for the traditional Sunday roast lunch.

Not really much to report this week as we have been in serious relaxation mode. I did go to the Thai boxing on Friday night. I had never been before and it was a good night of entertainment. I posted a video on YouTube, so make sure to check it out.

(warning: violent entertainment for all the family) "to quote the promotion"

We are leaving paradise behind on Wednesday and travelling up to Bangkok for a few night before we head off to London. Not long now.

All the best for now

Ric & Louise