Thursday, September 16, 2010


On my last day in Crete I stayed in Chania. at the Best Western Hotel in Porto Venezione, built by Venetians in the 15th century. Taking a last walk along the shore I found the Maritime Museum which houses the replica of a Minoan galley, built and sailed by a group of enthusiasts, just to prove it could be done. There are exhibits of the drills and lathes used in the building of the Minoa, a photographic record of Cretanmaritime history. I spent two hours looking at it zall, bought a yachting cap for Richard.
And if anyone reading this blog is wondering about an affordable holiday in the Mediterranean I recommend Chania, with walks around old harbours, sea walls built nearlya thousand years ago cafes serving delicious food, and that tideless ocean withing metres.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I am not religious, apart from suspecting that each one of us creates God in our own image, or the image of what we would like to be. But I find the evidence for the existance of angels close to overwhelming, an angel being a person who appears at a crucial moment and gives help just because it is needed. Consider-
LOUTRO 2008, I was due to take the noon ferry to Sfakia and catch the bus to Chania but one ferry broke down and the other could not get into the harbour. Finally about 7 p.m., on its last run for the day, MV Daskalogianis manouvered into the bay and picked ua up. The ferry decks were crammed so I joined the dozens of people in the cargo bay. Standing next to me Doug and Rose from Arrowtown. when we reached Sfakia Doug carried my suitcase and Rose scurried ahead and located my bus for me before heading off to their tour bus. (Angels 1 & 2 )
CHANIA bus station, later, after a three hour bus ride I went to climb off the bus, only to find my right leg had gone to sleep, and I amde a most undignified exit. A group of people who had been on the ferry, having walked the Samaria gorge (28ks)
took over, rescued my luggage and steadied me.
'How much have you had to drink to-day?" asked a tall grey headed man with a Scottish accent. 'I mean water.'
His Mexican wife rummaged in her bag and produced a bottle of water. The group (nurses on holiday from Edinburgh) insisted on giving me their taxi. (angels 3-8}
I was booked into the Porto dela Colombo, a boutique hotel in the old town. The taxi could only take me to the bottom of the hill. The roadway upwards was jammed with tables full of late diners. So I hoisted my carry on bag and lugging my suitcase on wheels I set off up hill. It was hard going and I was beyond carying about how I looked, a silly old cow trudging up hill.
Then behind me I heard the patter of running feet, 'I'm going to be mugged,' I thought and kept trudging.
'Let me take your suitcase,' said a velvet covered male voice. He was a waiter at one of the restaurants, his mother had seen me trudging past and sent him to help me.
He carried both my bags up the hill and down the steps to my hotel. Without him I would have been stranded because the hotel was locked. a notice on the door, in Greek, gave instructions about opening the security box that held the keys. My rescuer got the door open, found the light switch, deposited my bag, shook hands and left. (angel 9 & 10 his mother counts as an angel).
Next morning I felt better, but my leg was still hurting when I went down to breakfast. Two other guests were in the room.
"What's wrong with your knee?" asked the man. I explained about the broken down ferry and the bus ride.
His wife handed me a card of pain killers. They were doctors from Brisbane in Crete for a conference. (angels 11 & 12)
At the end of that particular trip a man in Bangkok airport carried my overnight bag for me, then on arrival in Auckland organised my baggage collection and saw me safe on to the Christchrch plane. He showed me the plans he was brining from Mogolia so that he could build a genuine yurt.(anhgel 13 and I refuse to be superstitious.)

Then this year I boarded the bus in Kissamos, very disgruntled that Greek bureaucracy had ruined my plans for another month in Crete. Sitting in the seat next to me a middle aged Greek lady. We conversed with nods and gestures and my minimal Greek and her limited English. At Chania she walked a half kilometre to the taxi rank, carrying my big bag and found a taxi driver who spoke good English. She smiled, wished me Adiosa and vanished. angel 14.

So although I am not religious I do believe in angels, they are people who, when they see a need, give help without expecting recompense. Being an angel is a quality of mind, not a matter of feathered wings and haloes.