Showing posts with label Elounda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elounda. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Travel Tip Tuesday: Do-It-Yourself Room Service

There is nothing we like better when traveling than to sip that first cup of morning coffee in bed or while sitting on the deck enjoying the view from our room.  Just grabbing a few more minutes of lazy relaxation is a perfect start to a day.

GreecePt12013 079

On our recent trip to Greece that’s how we pretty much started each day. At the Hotel Manessi in Poros, Greece we were up early to watch the waterfront come to life each morning – cup of coffee in hand.

Pt1Crete2013 074Most of the places we stayed in didn’t have room service options but they had something even better: a pot in which to boil water, cups, saucers and spoons.

We were at the Corelli Suites in Elounda, Crete when I took the photo below and to the right.

Pt1Crete2013 110

Not only was this do-it-yourself room service convenient, it also saved us a couple hundred dollars over the course of our month-long stay.

Sfakia2Amster2013 364Good coffee – no longer just the Nescafe powered stuff – can be found in upscale coffee bars throughout Greece. In the places we visited, the cost was about $2US a cup for coffee and  $3US for a cappuccino.

Don’t get me wrong, we did visit any number of those coffee houses for a java jolt in the afternoon, like the one pictured above in Heraklion, Crete, but morning was the time for ‘home brew’.

Doing Do-It-Yourself Room Service

We brought a pound of Starbucks ground coffee, the individual filter holder and filters in our suitcase.  As we used the coffee and filters, it made room in the suitcase for souvenirs like honey and spices. We did replenish the Starbucks (yes, Starbucks has come to some places in Greece) but bought a smaller quantity to use up before our return.

Arizona Spring 2012 147Note:  When we take road trips that begin in Kirkland, I always stick our hotpot and two cups into the car.  Two years ago, while staying at an upscale Vegas hotel, that didn’t offer in-room coffee, we saved having to dress and go to the coffee shop (where two coffees were $10US) by simply using our do-it-yourself room service pack.
Do you use do-it-yourself room service?  If so, what tips do you have for us on this Travel Tip Tuesday?  Please add a comment below or shoot us an email and we will make sure we publish them in a future post.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heaven ‘Scent’: Our Greek Orange Odyssey

Sometimes it was soft;  a feather tickling our noses with a hint of sweetness. . .
illusive and fleeting. . .
Sometimes the air was thick with the heavenly scent of 
~ orange blossoms ~

GreecePt12013 072

When we planned our Greek travels we didn’t realize that both  our destinations - the Peloponnese and Crete -- are two of the country’s major orange producing areas.  Greece, in fact,  is the European Union’s third largest orange producer, just behind Spain and Italy, respectively, and just above Portugal and Cyprus.

GreecePt12013 049Our Orange Odyssey began with the first whiff of the tiny, but pungent, blossoms on the island of Poros, a stone’s throw from the  Peloponnese. 

The Odyssey sent all our our senses into overdrive.  We saw, smelled, touched, and tasted oranges; from those tiny little white blossoms to the end product. (We drank orange juice by the gallons it seemed, sometimes each glass seemed gallon sized.)

GreecePt12013 065

Born and raised in Pacific Northwest agricultural areas, we are conditioned to think of fruit harvest as taking place in the fall.  In Greece, we learned, Valencia, the thin-skinned ‘summer orange’  is harvested between February and October with peak harvest falling in May – July. 

GreecePt12013 134While in Nafplion, that Venetian-style city in the Peloponnese, we bought a bag – filled with a dozen oranges for one euro ($1.30US) – from the display pictured below – one of many at the city’s  street market.

GreecePt12013 139

As we wound our way up and down, over and under the Peloponnese hillsides, we  traveled through the Laconia prefecture’s Evrotas River valley – one of the largest citrus growing regions in Greece.  Here we rolled down the car windows so we could enjoy the area’s aromatherapy.

PicMonkey Collage

Pt1Crete2013 083We continued our Orange Odyssey in Crete, where we restocked our citrus supply from this selection at Elounda’s street market.

Pt1Crete2013 149Elounda, on Crete’s northeastern shore, is where we spent several days revisiting favorite places. We ‘deck dined’  at our studio apartment feasting on breakfasts of Greek honey, fresh strawberries, home-canned cherries and, of course, oranges.

Pt1Crete2013 125

Sfakia2Amster2013 010In Hora Sfakia, on Crete’s southwestern coast, we watched the orange vendor as he parked his truck, announcing his arrival and product for sale using the horn mounted  on the cab.

Sfakia2Amster2013 011

His oranges were likely the ones that the owners of nearby Delfini’s Restaurant used in their display to lure tourists and visiting hikers – it worked on us each day of our stay.

Sfakia2Amster2013 047

That is our contribution to Travel Photo Thursday, an armchair travel event hosted by Budget Traveler’s Sandbox each week.  Head over there and take a few more trips  today. GreecePt12013 072 

Nancie McKinnon, a Canadian, who created both the BTS blog and the weekly photo event, lives and works in South Korea. . .she’s heading home to Halifax next week for a visit.

And guess what? 

She and I will meet for the first time ‘out of the blogosphere’ on Monday and you’ll never guess where. . .come back next week and I'll tell you!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crete: Sunday Morning at - not 'in' - Church

On a Sunday morning in Elounda, on Crete’s northeastern shore we were reminded that sometimes the message can be as powerful outside the church as inside . . .

Pt1Crete2013 180 

The small Church of Agios Loukas (Saint Luke)  hadn’t changed since we last visited three years ago. From Elounda, we’d crossed a narrow causeway to Kolokytha Peninsula, where it sits on a knoll overlooking the turquoise waters of Mirabella Bay. 

On this morning, as had been the case on our previous visit, we were alone – our arrival announced only by the birds whom we’d disturbed.

Pt1Crete2013 176

The bell rested in its tower, ready to call the faithful.

Pt1Crete2013 175

Pt1Crete2013 179

The intricately carved and polished wooden doors were locked, but it really didn’t matter . . .

Pt1Crete2013 178

. . .because sometimes you don’t need to be in a church . . .

Pt1Crete2013 170

Pt1Crete2013 169

Thanks for spending a moment or two with us in Greece. Hope to see you back here soon! It's Travel Photo Thursday. Head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox and do a bit more armchair traveling.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chasing Windmills ~ Travels in Crete

“It is not what we have, but what we enjoy
that constitutes our  abundance.”

                     ~Epicurus, born 341 BCE (80 years after Plato)

 crete2013 057

Our Grecian travels moved from the Peloponnese to Crete this week and we  found ourselves back in Elounda, on Crete’s northeastern shore.

Crete2013 027

It hadn’t been our plan, but then when you travel without a plan, anything is possible. So here we are again in Corelli Studios – our third visit to these well-placed vacation studios.

Crete2013 028

And when you travel with a flex schedule (and in off-season) you can pretty much pick the number of nights you stay after you arrive. We’d decided to stay two nights, but our host, Gianni, told us we should stay three. So we did. But with a view deck  like this for 40-euros a night, it didn’t take much convincing. We have a peek-a-boo view of the island of Spinalonga, the long-ago leper colony made famous in English writer Victoria Hislop’s novel, The Island.

Crete2013 044

What we are finding most difficult on this trip is deciding when to leave a place.  We’ve found several spots where we would be most happy to settle in for several months – not just days; Elounda is high among them.
But we’ve reached the point in the travels where we do have a sort of timetable. 

We will be returning to Maria’s pension in  Loutro for Easter (next weekend) and with our old friends at Stavros’s Hotel in Chora Sfakia for three nights before that.  We want to visit Georgios (my bead making friend on Crete’s south coast) and must try out a small place called Plakia. . .all of which means, we must leave this wonderful spot tomorrow. . .

I had wondered during our 24-hour air travel day – somewhat briefly, but still had pondered -- whether this desire of mine to come to Greece for a birthday present might prove to be a disappointment. Could I have let my fondness for this country grow in the memories of previous trips? Was I still seeking those Greek windmills from Walt Disney’s Moonspinners – a movie dating back to my childhood?

Crete2013 042 Doubts disappeared days ago. . .I can assure you this is proving to be the best gift imaginable!

Springtime in Greece is even more spectacular than was autumn.  The warmth of this Mediterranean sun is surpassed only by the warmth of the people we’ve met along the way.

And you know what? I am finding  those Hayley Mills/Eli Wallach movie windmills everywhere we go. . . this one is just across the street! 

crete2013 068

Monday, October 12, 2009


It is our last full day in Elounda, tomorrow we head to Iraklio (Heraklion) the port city where we will return our rental car, and spend a night near the harbor so we can catch the early morning ferry to Santorini, the connector island for ferries coming and going to Crete. We think we will spend a couple nights there -- everyone says we should -- and then probably head to Naxos, Paros or Hydra en route to Athens. We've tabled Rhodes (I think!) for this trip.

The weather forecast up north is for some clouds and temperatures in the 70's, cooler than our 80's and 90's here and cloudless skies.

We've lucked out with our accommodations - they've been cheap, clean, well equipped and v ery comfortable and have provided great views such as this one we see each morning before the sun peeks over those hills.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kalespera from Elounda

It is afternoon in Elounda (e-loon-da) on the north coast of Crete and it is in the 90's today. We finished our travels along Crete's southern coast yesterday morning and a quick 39 kilometer drive later we were back on the north coast. My last message to many of you was that we planned to head for the hills. . .of course, the winds changed direction again right after I wrote that and we continued our drive along the south coast stopping in charming seaside villages, walking spectacular lengths of sandy beaches and watching waves crash against sheer rock cliffs in other places. The scenery is so everchanging and startling that our vocabulary of late has been,"Oh Wow!" or "Look!" and our heads swiveling like periscopes.

What is amazing to us is that we have both a sea and mountain view no matter where we have been on this island. And the views just never stop.

We planned a an overnight stay in Elounda and have again fallen to a place's charms and have extended for at least three nights, perhaps more and will do day trips from here for a few days anyway.

Taking the recommendation of Lonely Planets guidebook we stopped at Corali Studios ( and lucked out with a no-show guest having left a beautiful waterfront studio for us to rent - again at a mere 40E per night. We have a view of Spinalonga Island - one of my 'novel' destinations, the bay and down the coastline.

A beautiful pool area is behind our complex and it is time to head there. . .more on Spinalonga later.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...