Mediterranean cruise October 2016.  

This post I wrote several days ago but wifi is terrible…….if I can send this at all. If you want to see pictures you will have to get them from Facebook.

Here I am back on the Mediterranean again.  This time I am traveling with my good friend Linda Bedard.  Again  we are sailing on the Oceania Riviera.  We upgraded from an inside to consierge balcony.  Marble bathroom with full-sized bathtub plus a seperate shower.  What a treat!

Our day has been extremely stressful.  When we got to the airport in Victoria for a flight leaving at 5:25 am, there was also a flight leaving at 6.  Because the lines were so chock-a-block full, we didn’t make it to check-in in time.  They had closed the gates so to speak.  Both Linda and I had tried to check in the night before but the system would not allow us to.  Anyway, one lovely lady employee (one was a total hag) got us rebooked on one leaving at 7 (we were supposed to be catching the 7 o’clock out of Vancouver.  So…..that one got changed to 8.  That was stressful but alas the gate we had to go to get our connection, was very close by.  From there we were to fly to Toronto.  The connection time to the next flight ……to Athens, was supposed to be only an hour and a half but we circled the airport for god knows how long.  Have you been to Toronto and have to make a connection to an international flight?  We must have made our quota for steps taken in that mad dash to get to our gate.  But we made it…..but not with much time to spare…..on the original flight we were to take.  Phew!!!  

We arrived in Athens….what a breeze going through customs…….just rubber stamped and we were on our way.  The man that was to deliver us to the ship was there holdin up a sign saying “Gail Grand”…….oh well I knew it had to be me.  After all nine of us that I was responsible for collecting were altogether, we drove through some really poor uncared for residential areas of Athens and Pireaus to our ship.  We arrive there about 11am and were very shortly on board and were being fed in the Terrace Cafe.  Yeah….it certainly was nice to get great food after the less than ideal crap that Air Canada served us.

Kalimerra means good morning….our tour is to Lassithi Plateau.  Crete is 5th largest in Mediterranean.    To monestary of the Virgin Mary….from 14th century.   Island of 3000 villages.  It is compulsory to join armed forces at 18 or after studies are completed.  It is surrounded by sixty islands…..uninhabinetted.  Lots of wild goats……they plant oleanders which are poisonous, along highway to prevent accidents (the goats won’t go near them).  One protected islet they have placed wild goats to save them. Since there is no water on these islands, they have to bring water to them……..every other day.  55% of population is in agriculture, the rest are in tourism.  There are 35 million olive trees.  Extra virgin Olive oil is number one export, wine is second.  Oldest olive tree is 3000 years old but many are 500 years old.  Family of four consumes 300 litres of olive oil…..good for the heart. 

The eastern section is sinking with the east is rising.  Some earthquakes but not severe.  Sea squill plant are planned to protect the houses from earthquakes.  300 endemic plants on Crete.  

5000 orthodox churches on Crete. Priests are allowed to marry but must be married before becoming priest….and only once.  If the wife dies, they still cannot remarry. 

Goats wear bells but sheep don’t but so the owners paint their butts.

The Lassithi Plateauis 2400′ above sea level,  mountains are up to 8000′.  There are 21 villages on the plateau.  The 100 or so windmills in the plateau are used for irrigation, the derelict rock ones on the hills were used to grind barley, grains.

5 kilo of olives make only 1 litre of olive oil. 

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