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ArchibaldKnox Posted on 19/02/2020 19:02 Edited On: 19/02/2020 19:05
FAO TAM re Greece

I spent 3 months on Crete in Spring 1980. It was virtually undeveloped. We returned about 5 years ago to find the island transformed.

Chania was a small working fishing port and all the restaurants that now line the harbour were small dingy warehouses with one tiny bar. The roads were indescribable and the local bus trips ultra-scary. Aghia Galini was the cutest tiny fishing village with two bars and a restaurant/guesthouse. Now it stretches way up the hill with big concrete hotels.

In 1980 Heraklion did not even approach the motorway that runs south of it; now the sprawl stretches miles beyond. The valley near Phaestos is covered with polytunnels now and all the little windmill waterpumps on the Lassithi plateau have gone, having been replaced by electric pumps.

But it's still a great place - the people are lovely. Heraklion Museum is as quaint as ever, with the added bonus that they now have a huge Minoan gold ring from a Bronze Age tomb near Knossos that had been found in 1928 but then kept by the local priest for decades.

And the stories about the Greek resistance to the German occupation from 1941-45 are both inspiring and chilling. There are many German soldiers who have never been found because the Cretans dropped their bodies down potholes in the limestone mountains.

I too liked the West part of Crete. The beach at Elafonissi is one of the best in the world with pink sand due to crushed shells in it. And the remote Milia eco-village in the western chestnut forests is a great experience - although the road into it is one of most unsettling in the world - especially if you are close to the unguarded edge on the right with a taxi driver determined to force his way past you on the inside cliff face.
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