Thursday, 10 June 2021

Greece Is The Word

ARRIVED in Crete early in the afternoon, Greek time, having caught a 7.25am flight with Tui from Gatwick airport.
Checking in and boarding the plane at Gatwick were straightforward, the only differences being that you had to present a QR code showing you had filled in the Greek equivalent of a passenger locator form and, in my case, proof of having been doubly vaccinated against covid.
At the Crete end you go through customs as normal, but then have to show a (friendly) Greek policeman your passenger locator QR and, again in my case, proof of having been doubly vaccinated.
I found at both ends it was convenient to have the NHS passport-vaccine letter as otherwise it would have got a little messy juggling downloads on my smartphone.
You can get to the hotel for the Amateur Chess Organization's championships, the Fodele Beach Resort, by taking two buses and a 400metre walk.
The resort recommends getting a taxi, which I did. It cost 50 euros, so anyone thinking of playing here later in the year might want to try to team up with other participants.
Seaview from the resort

Another seaview
The resort has four restaurants - main, Greek, Italian and all-day - and two cocktail bars along with a beach club and snack bar.
The deal for chess players is all-inclusive, which is going to be quite a challenge for me, but I started off well today by having a late lunch of a light Greek salad with two small bread rolls.
I then headed off into the interior, the resort being decidedly isolated from the rest of the island.
Along the way I came across the following structure, which will be familiar to anyone who has travelled much in Greece.
Roadside shrine
These shrines are erected to mark the spot where a loved one perished, or to give thanks to a saint for a miraculous-seeming escape from a similar result.
Opposite the shrine were what appeared to be two more of the same ilk.
Double trouble?
However I soon realised the 'shrine' on the right of the photo is actually a letter-box, or something similar.
A little further long the road was a third shrine.
Another tribute to Greek piety, if not Greek driving skills
The object of my walk was to reach the old village of Fodele, which is reckoned to be the birthplace of the painter El Greco (not to be confused with the Italian-born chess player of the same name).
The village of Fodele is about 1.5miles from the resort of the same name, and there I met two UK couples who happen to frequently holiday in the village.
One of the men told me that he and his wife usually book their taxi online, paying 35 euros for a considerably longer journey than the one I took - a tip worth remembering.

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