2013 – Our Crete Adventure

Our Crete adventure began with one of those dreadful early evening flights. The kind that  because of the time difference between the UK and Greece arrive really late at night. Fortunately passport control at Heraklion Airport is pretty lax so we sailed through to the chaos at the baggage carousels pretty quickly. Typically three flights were crammed on to the only working carousel, so we had to fight through crowds of Polish body builders and Russian bodyguards to retrieve our bags, once of course baggage handling had finished whatever break they were on.

No trip to Greece is complete without pictures of cute kitty cats

No trip to Greece is complete without pictures of cute kitty cats

Having collected the bags it was out past the disinterested customs officials into the mad chaotic fury of the coach park, where eventually we found the bus to our hotel in Rethymno and then about an hour to the drop off from there.

Is it bedtime yet?

Is it bedtime yet?

Since we were the last drop off the sight of the hotel porter waiting with his trolley was more than welcome, but then as the coach pulled away into the darkness our hearts sank as he uttered the words: ‘There is a problem, the hotel is overbooked’

I want my mum

I want my mum

Fortunately it turned out that we did have rooms, so after he’d scraped us off the floor he explained that a party of Russians had turned up and they didn’t have rooms for them so things had then got a bit moody in reception which was why he was lurking outside ready to sneak us in up the fire escape and bypass the argybargy.

Think I might just lie down here for a moment

Think I might just lie down here for a moment

As it happened this was a bit of a blessing in disguise as it saved us from all the form filling and bureaucratic nonsense that normally accompanies a Greek hotel check in and we were soon ushered into our rooms. The local time was by then 2am and we had been on the road since 2pm London time. My brain does not do figures so I have no idea how long we had been travelling, but I was delighted to sink between the sheets for a well-earned kip.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ready to play in the sand when the Sun came up.

It's down here somewhere

It’s down here somewhere

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Feline Frolics

We have a friend with an indoor cat and we do worry that he does not get enough stimulation with only a small flat to patrol (the cat that is not our friend). So we bought the cat a DVD called Feline Frolics.  The DVD contains about an hour of footage of birds, rodents, cat toys and other cats. Naturally in the interests of consumer research we decided to try it with our resident feline Cleopatra first.

Ohhhh birdies

Ohhhh birdies

The DVD’s visuals and soundtrack have supposedly been enhanced to make the range of images and sounds more attractive to the feline senses.

A chuffin chaffinch

A chuffin chaffinch

Cleopatra certainly enjoyed the little birds

I love those mices

I love those mices

The images of mice, hamsters and bunnies went down well too.

I hates you

I hates you

When it comes to the other cats her reaction was more hostile, but after about fifteen minutes she seemed to get tired of watching the telly and hopped off the stool to get on with her favourite hobby.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sand Sparrows – Coral Bay Cyprus

Last week we were in Cyprus, very different to the sub-zero temperatures experienced in Tallinn just a few weeks before, but I still found some of these little chaps down at Coral Bay

Sparrows in the sand

Coral Bay is just a €1 bus ride from Paphos and was one of the best sandy beaches on the island until last winter’s violent storms washed much of the sand away.  Sunbeds are €2.50 a day and there is a cafeteria which will hopefully be open again sometime soon. There are also free to pee loos, which would be even better if someone could be bothered to change the lightbulbs in them!

The recession on top of hard winter has been unkind to the island, with a lot of familiar businesses, like the fish restaurant Chez Alex and the Othello Tavern, going to the wall since our last visit, but it was good to see that our favourite restaurant the Georgia Meze House and Chris the proprietor were still there, along with all of our friends at the Nereus Hotel.

Arthur our dedicated apartment moggy.

More on our Cypriot adventures later.

Cypriot Cats

We spent the last week in Cyprus. It was the first time that we had visited the island for about five or six years, after being fairly regular visitors when our daughter was younger and we wondered just how much it would have changed in the years following entry into the EU and joining the Euro.

More about how we arranged the trip and what we did later but for now here are some of the more privileged residents of our favourite hotel in Paphos.

Arthur

This is Arthur, photographed from our bedroom window. It’s not his real name I just thought he looked like the cat from the old Katomeat advert, he liked the sun umbrella outside our apartment, but soon got fed up when we didn’t allow him in, so he went next door.

Ginger

This lady joined us for breakfast, as you can see she’s no stranger to the breakfast table. She is also reputably the oldest of the cats at the Nereus Hotel having lived there for 19 years.

Kingcat

This fellow was christened Kingcat because of his regal manner. He is quite a ladies man as you can see from the picture below.

kitty Kingcat

This little fellow was born in the barbecue about five weeks ago, here he is with his mum and siblings, lucky it wasn’t going to be used.

Kingcat's wife and kitties

I think this must be one of mum’s sisters here with Blackjack enjoying the midday sunshine on the hotel steps.

Sister and Blackjack