The sun really does shine all day, look as we may for clouds and even the odd spell of moisture in the air I don't think it's a possibility.
We wake early most mornings and as you open up the shutters it seems as though the sun has been up for hours waiting for you. But it's still only 5.30 and there's very little action and so there should be as I'm sure the road was still abuzz around 3 to 4am this morning. The temperature sits around 27 to 32 degrees most days only dropping 5 degrees at night so long balmy evening are definitely the case.
We find habits are soon carved out as to make the most of the temps and the countryside. We''re up early breakfasting on delicious fresh local fruit. Nectarines, apricots and peaches tasting just like we enjoyed as children in NZ, they've been on the tree long enough to ripen properly and are sweet and juicy. Add to this a large dollop of delicious local Greek yogurt, no honey needed although the Greek honey is quite something with all variety of herbs the bees have access to, and a good serving of raw muesli. Sit out on the balcony and enjoy the freshness of the morning air because its not going to last very long. So let's decide where we shall walk today?
Either head up into the hills, through the villages and amongst the wonderful gnarly old olive trees or down hill through town and onto the wonderful coastline. That stunning clear blue sea is as glorious as we'd hoped and attracts the eager beavers who want the perfect spot for the day and have sent their scouts out to book the beach chairs and umbrellas. It's only 7.30am and here they are bikini clad, or even less, umbrellas up, oiled, greased and committed to soaking up as many rays as is humanly possible. Hope they still look that good at the end of the day.
We can't quite believe the serious sun baking that goes on, and what's worse is that they seem to be strutting around in the evening glowing like a lightbulb and proud of it. Perhaps it's their secret method of curing the Mosquitos because surely they must sizzle when they hit the skin rather than bite them.
The evening walks up in the hills are a little more relaxed and a whole lot more social than the early mornings. Even the sound of the goats bells can be heard, perhaps being Greek goats they eat late and sleep late too and the hum of those two stroke engined scooters constantly remind us we're in tourist country.
The three villages just up the road behind us Piskopiano , Koutouloufari and Chersonisos are truly delightful with local Cretan hospitality. Pretty closed and quiet during the day but evenings they come alive with all the restaurants, tavernas and small shops opening out onto the road and centre square. The blue and white tables and chairs are delightful with that clean crisp feel and definitely a Greek thing. Monday night we timed it well and enjoyed warching a local dance troupe perform in the square, entertaining the diners. What a wonderful sight, so much energy and enthusiasm, gosh those men can leap so high.
Making our way past the taverna's is a feat in itself, as they are touting for business and will do their level best to woo you in, always with the smoothness and sincerity of a best friend inviting you for a drink!
We found a delightful restaurant aptly named 'Davids Vegera' in Piskopiano, this was courtesy some other patrons at the apartments who had found this place years ago. Again another lovely family run outfit with the nicest of staff and the most delicious, ridiculously cheap meal. Even a 500mls jug of the local house wine was surprisingly nice at only €2.00!! By 7pm the queue is out on the street so we were incredibly lucky to get straight in as there's certainly no touting for business needed here, but we did come a few hours earlier than most locals.
An early morning ride to Heraklion on a local bus was a fun way to see a bit more of the island and check out a working city with a bustling port, rather than just the tourist haven.
The ruins of Knososs, known as the oldest city in Europe, are only five kilometres away on the slopes of the Kefalas mountain. This ancient city of Crete once covered an area of over two hectares with a population of 80,000. The luxurious palace was made up of 1,500 rooms throughout five storeys, large cobble-stoned courtyards, theatres, workshops, etc. and interestingly was well designed by architects to use the natural light and also insured it was cool in summer and warm in winter.
But today the site was very hot, crowded and touristy and this is by 9.30 in the morning so we were thankful we hadn't booked some kind of tour and just had to be satisfied with a good wander around and a few photographs.
Our last two days here and we've almost reached the tipping point. The temps have been glorious, stinking hot during the day and the evenings balmy, just beckoning a lovely long cold drink out on the balcony or slow sipping at a Taverna. But for the last couple of days there's been a very hot wind off the Sahara, similiar to a good nor'west at home. Its been up in the mid 30's and tonight only down to 27oC and time to call for immediate action. No more windows open to enjoy that hint of breeze accompanied by the ever hungry Greek mosquitoes. We give in to the air con!!!