Well the last 12 months in the Jock household have been annus horribilis (understatement) and I can't remember the last time Mrs Jock and I needed a holiday so badly (well I can but it was a few years ago) but just wow what an absolutely wonderful time we have had and just what the doctor ordered.
From arriving in Paleochora at around 11pm and laughing as every street we turned down to try and get to our usual parking area was closed off due to a musical festival down by the ferry quay so after taking out a taverna chair in a narrow street I decided to abandon the car outside a bakery where there was one spot to park before we made our way to our lovely apartments and a warm feeling of being home. To the wonderful relaxed atmosphere that you get in Paleochora which as I often say just has that end of the road feel to it.
To sitting in a lovely taverna on our first proper night enjoying fabulous food and wine whilst being very Cretan and having a great debate and setting the world to rights. To driving up the mountains with glorious scenery before reaching a roadblock that is a herd of goats, getting out of my car whilst throwing my arms outstretched and with a huge grin on my face shouting to the goat farmer "paradise........fantastic". He grinned at me before striding up smiling and we had a lovely chat and were laughing about what I called his Cretan Shepherd (Alsatian) and he laughed and said "no German but one of the good ones :-)".
To chilling out on gorgeous beaches whilst watching families play on the beach and in the sea (we have never seen so many toddlers and babies on a holiday and Paleochora certainly is a perfect base for a family holiday (likewise Falasarna for a family beach holiday) which was just a joy to watch and so heart warming to witness. To sitting in a tiny kafenion in a small village that now has a local population of just twenty and is two thousand feet up a mountain chatting (okay gesturing and pointing) to pappous and yia yia along with their son (who had broken his leg after being hit by a tourist whilst on his motorbike) as they proudly showed me their family photo's.
To lighting a candle in Agia Triada where we were able to wander round soaking up the atmosphere with only another couple of visitors in the whole monastery. Walking down to the ruins of Katholiko Moni and enjoying the solitude and tranquility of the former monastery (although I wish we had oxygen tanks for the way back up in the heat of the day haha.....but worth every step).
To arriving at Balos Beach and lagoon just after sunrise and walking along the beach and lagoon with only the goats for company was another truly special moment. Another was walking the full length of the Falasarna beaches early morning with only my footprints in the sand as any sign that anyone was on the beach. To diving through the waves on Falasarna beach pretending to be in my twenties again only to be wiped out by a huge wave the grinning and laughing as we all scrambled to our feet whilst trying to still look cool but failing miserably. To lighting a candle in Agia Sofia Cave and being lucky enough to arrive just as a coach party was leaving so we had the whole cave to ourselves to again just soak it all in, as well as admired the great views down the gorge.
To driving down the west coast with more gorgeous scenery and meeting Petroula who now has her own bar named after her as well as dogs, puppies, a cat and Manolis as friends (as well as everyone else who has the pleasure to meet her :-)). To visiting tiny villages that are steeped in history, full of characters and surrounded by spectacular scenery.
To sitting in the wonderful main street in Paleochora which is pedestrianised after 7pm and is just the perfect street to sit and watch the world go by, or by the ferry quay watching the sky over cape crocodile change colour and the ferry come home, or on the west side of the town whilst watching the gorgeous sunsets.
To meeting and spending time with a lovely forum regular and their partner with plenty of laughter and good conversation. To whoever arranged to have a little white feather flutter down as we enjoyed our last lunch in Paleochora, to the lovely meal we enjoyed in a lovely taverna near Chania with stunning views as we made our way to the airport and our flight home.
Yes we had the most wonderful holiday full of great food, wine, conversation, laughter, adventures, chill out time, magical scenery, delightful locals and so much more. It really was just what the doctor ordered, so with our minds healed all that is left to say is efharisto poli Kreta and until next time Yamas :-)
p.s. I could write so much more and as always apologies for any typo's but I just rattle away on the keyboard as I go along (one day I might be organised to make notes but I doubt it as I definitely prefer to just "go with the flow" :-))