A Cretan Christmas – 18th – 28th December 2011
Christmas in Crete sounded idyllic, in marked contrast to the previous winters in England. In the weeks before the flight the weather reports from Crete recorded temperatures in the high teens and no mention of rain. Would it last?
To be fair it lasted just over 24 hours – t-shirts and shorts were in evidence. Wild anemones swayed in a gentle breeze. The December sun was very pleasantly warm. Half of the clothing that weighed down our luggage would surely be redundant.
We were in error. Overnight the temperature dropped, the wind howled, and when it wasn’t raining, there were hailstones and thunder and lightning. The Cretan population retreated to the shelter of home and gazed with incredulous eyes as we set off on our rambles over exposed headlands where potentially stunning views were obscured by mist and rain – but there were some stunning rainbows!
You need no Greek to translate the question that Crete was asking – in one word “Why?” It’s difficult to answer – sometimes you walk for exercise, fresh air, to escape the claustrophobia of Christmas, perhaps, or to experience a country when the tourists have gone. We certainly saw Crete without the crowds. Few of the tavernas were open but Ramblers found some where hospitality was very warm and flavoured with Raki. On leaving our first hotel there were presents for all of us under the tree – bottles of wine from the family – no wonder Ramblers had used the hotel for over 30 years!