Winter Wonderland!

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Winter has come to Crete!

We should have known because there was snow on Thripti Mountain when Sheila and Rosie walked up to the village of the same name on Sunday.

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Then on Tuesday, we took Rosie to the Airport. Other than the fact that her flight was at 06.40, this should have been a fairly routine 75 minute journey but little did we know when we set out at 04.00 just what lay in store.

The weather had been appalling for the previous 36 hours with more or less continuous lightening and thunder storms, heavy rain showers and strong winds, so it was no surprise when it started to rain as soon as we left Kavousi.

Fine – we can cope with that but after leaving Agios Nikolaos, the main road heads up through the northern edge of the Dikti Mountains and as we approached Neapoli, the rain turned to snow and before long, there was an inch or so of the white stuff covering the road. Fortunately there was a car in front of us which made a track of sorts but as the road got steeper, it was touch and go if we would make it. However, finally, we made the tunnel at the top and set out on the descent.

Usually, this is a fast section of road but on Tuesday, it was a slow sliding crawl and the lying snow just continued right down to sea level. This is unheard of here! But it was real and we were beginning to wonder if we would make the flight. Luckily, we took the old coast road and soon the snow had disappeared and after a while we got back on to the New Road and ended up at the Airport in Heraklion with time to spare.

End of story? No, we had to get home. They say fortune favours the brave, so after a short discussion we set out on the return leg. Guess what – by the time we hit the mountains, the snow had eased and the lying snow was melting. We were home by 07.15, went back to bed and slept for four hours!

Not the end of the story though because it started to snow here in Kavousi later in the day (see the roof of our wood shed below) – not a lot but the hills around are covered with somewhat more than a dusting and elsewhere in central and eastern Crete there is more snow than they have had in the last ten years – or so we are told!

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Yesterday, we ventured out to take some pics in temperatures more like Aberdeenshire than the Mediterranean, with me wearing my fleece lined hillwalking trousers!

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And the sea was rough too!

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Lucky we have the new wood burner. The wood pile is going down rapidly though.

What this meant however was that my name day was largely forgotten yesterday. Greeks tend to celebrate their ονομαστική (name day) rather than their γενέθλια (birthday) and January 7 is St John’s Day, so everyone called Γιαννης (and female equivalents) celebrate. I got a phone call from our hairdresser but no cake and presents. However, our neighbours, Maria and Nikos have just been round with a freshly baked cake. Apparently It was too cold for them to go out yesterday and by the way, we have just had yet another earthquake – only small but noticeable.

Off to the kafenion in the Plateia this evening to have a belated celebration and to keep warm!

John

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8 thoughts on “Winter Wonderland!

  1. Jill Shuker

    Hello John and Sheila

    I really love reading your blog, so would be a little sorry if you decide to stop writing it; so here is one vote for you to continue. I love the photos, the stories of family life and the philosophising too, and would miss it, if you stopped. Richard can’t read it off his email, so I always pass it on to him, and he does read it, so there is another ‘silent’ reader you could count. I am not aware of how difficult it is to write the blog so apologies if you are looking to give it up!

    wishing you both a very Happy new year, we would love to see you if you could fit in a visit to us when you are in the UK. We are so close to Gatwick, could you stay for a night at the beginning or end of your visit?

    love
    Jill

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  2. Mairi Marlborough

    Super photos and glad your journey was safe – expect the Cretans aren’t geared up with gritters like we are – just as well you got your car sorted – that would have been a nightmare. We are awaiting a storm tonight – loads of warnings on the news. I usually find when we are so well warned then it’s usually a bit of an anti climax and am hoping this’ll be the case tonight xx

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  3. John Turner

    Despite the title of your blog, I struggle to note any hardship arising after a few cm of snow. If anything you appear to have managed an even cushier lifestyle ?

    I’ll also add my vote to keeping the blog please.

    Finally Happy New Year !

    John

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  4. kritsayvonne

    Thanks for another great post. When we are ‘at home’ in Crete, we live opposite you in Kritsa, and love gazing across at the Thripti Mountains. I’ve only ever seen them with a light dusting of snow on top, so really enjoyed your photos. Your airport trip sounded very scary! While I’ve no wish to see snow on the main roads, I’m looking forward to walks near mountain snow at the end of next week. Very best wishes, Yvonne x

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  5. Veronica Willins

    Can’t believe this story of your trip to the airport after reading your last blog!! Such a change in the weather in a short space of time!!You really are living dangerously at the moment but no choice really as you had to get Rosie to the plane on time! Such a harrowing journey it must have been and so early in the morning! Luckily the return seems to have been better but no wonder you went back to bed – I think I would have been there for 24 hrs and mostly in shock!!
    Again the pictures are beautiful and such a contrast to the previous ones- hard to believe!!
    Hope that you enjoyed your “name day” eventually, John and had lots of “saki” to heat you up internally!! The stress from Tennis Championship Finals palls in comparison, Sheila!!
    Take care, God Bless,
    Veronica xxoo

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  6. pondbug

    the weather seems a bit topsy turvy – we’ve not had any snow to speak of here in Aberdeenshire – hardly even enough frost to sweeten up my parsnips!

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