Crete 2019 Day 5: Fortezza

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The sea was much calmer today with only a slight breeze in the air. The day was very hot even at around ten in the morning. We decided to take a taxi rather than walk to the old town. Our target was the fortress (aka fortezza) and there was no point knackering ourselves out in the heat before we even got there.

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There’s some really good background information about the fortress on this Explore Crete web page, which I won’t repeat here. Admission was 4 Euro per adult which seemed fair since there are some great views but beyond a few buildings you can’t get into, a church and a cave you can, and a toilet you can if you have 5 cents, there’s not much else to see.

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An American kid was having a complete stroppy hissy-fit when we got there much to everyone, but especially his parents’, delight. Sure it was hot but there seemed little need for the amount of wailing that was happening. I admired the views and wondered how far down the drop was. Would a small child survive the fall? I thought not.

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We had a good wander around and had our photo taken by some friendly Belgians. Then we wandered back into the heart of the old town and got some much needed refreshments from a taverna next to the Rimondi Fountain and Platanos Square. It was built in 1626 by the Venetian governor of Rethymnon and is very much a tourist hotspot. But it’s hardly the Trevi Fountain. It looks partially derelict with water running out from three lions’ heads. I’ll include a photo in a later post.

The vanilla ice cream was too frozen so we enjoyed a couple of pistachio milkshakes instead. Then we walked around in circles looking for somewhere small to have lunch. We eventually settled on Tripio Katostari which is located at the bottom of one of the inclined ways up to the fortress. It just got to the point where it was too damn hot to walk any further. The toilet reeked and the food took ages to come despite the fact we were the only customers. The special salad wasn’t that special and Siggy’s fruit and yogurt had far more yogurt than fruit. Not great. We should have just stayed at the taverna where we had the milkshakes and put up with paying a bit more because of its location.

I can’t remember if we walked back to the hotel. I think we did, even though it was blooming hot. Back on the beach I finished reading Sharpe’s Waterloo and started Jon Ronson Out of the Ordinary. Lifeguards patrol on the promenade on a motorbike, on beach on a quad bike (bit annoying but obviously appreciated) and sit in a few tall look-out stations. There’s a metal cage thing on the beach with a sign that says it’s the location of a turtle nest and it’s not to be disturbed.

In the evening we visited Irini next door to Vatania for early drinks at around 19:30. The sun was setting at around 8:40 each day and so it was still hot and I squinted into the sun to watch a cruise ship in the distance on a much calmer bluer sea and the ferry to Santorini pass by. They both looked sedate but they were going at a fair clip.

They seem to play a lot of Phil Collins and Fleetwood Mac here, but like lime green VW Beetles I guess once your brain latches on to something you notice it more. Celebrity lookalikes included John Cleese. Orson Welles drove past in a jeep but the sighting was unconfirmed because Siggy didn’t see him. That’s the way it works. We both have to see the lookalike and agree that they do in fact look like whoever one of thinks it looks like.

I see the same romantic milky blue effect in the sea as the sun goes down that we saw in Santorini. Must be something to do with this part of the world.

When it was time to eat we thought we’d try Manolis Place next door to Bora Bora for a laugh. Manolis is a character with black curly hair and a big grey moustache looks like a Greek Maradona. He’s also a real person. We were served ouzo at start and tzakiki tomatoes and cucumber on a little plate.

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They had Mythos on draft and songbirds in cages. There was a random rabbit in a cage by the toilets too. I wondered if it was waiting to be made into a stifado. It was nice to sit, relax and watch the many colours of the sunset. It was better than some we’ve paid to go and see in Kos or Santorini.

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I ate a skepasti – a double pita sandwich like a gyros flattened out with oven chips and cheese in the sandwich and possibly cheese sauce instead of yoghurt. Shifting the gyros paradigm! Siggy ate a portion of pasticio made with penne pasta. We spotted big portions of baklava and katefi being served on another table but resisted the urge to order dessert. The toilets are some of the cleanest toilets I’ve seen so far.

More ouzo (slammed with Manolis himself) came with the bill plus a mini custard pie and lumps of honeydew and watermelon, and a sherbet drink. A rich spread of bill-freebies. If Manilos has an ouzo with every table they serve every night then he must have a liver as hard as a brick.

We then walked westwards and went to Cactus Beach for drinks. Siggy had sex on the beach and I had an Alfa Weiss which the waitress poured for me from the bottle. She apologised for the lack of head. Yes, that’s what she said.

We got crisps, fat cherries and melon with the drinks. There was a smoky mix of locals and tourists. We watched joggers run to a lamp post turn around and run back and repeat ad infinitum reminded me of a Blur song.

Feeling a bit drunk we finished the night with some more non-alcoholic cocktails at Kai.

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