Well, summer is over, more or less. We still have regular sunny days, but we’re never sure of it anymore. That means that we have to take something warm and waterproof with us when we leave the house. The socks have also come out of the drawer at the beginning of this month. It’s a bit akward, not feeling the soles of my feet touching the inside of my shoes, but I’ll get used to it before the winter is over. My open-toe, open-heel slippers, which I have been wearing since May, have been put in the winter closet sometime late in October.
Last Sunday we drove to Vrouchás, half an hour north of Agios Nikólaos, to visit a British couple which has turned an old bakery into a guest house in a god-forlorn village which doesn’t even have a tavern, but which is bursting with authenticity. We knew about them thanks to a video tape that Frans had sent us, recorded from a program on (British) Channel Four, called “No Going Back”. The whole enterprise of settling there, basically unprepared, and dealing with the Greek bureacracy and the ways of Greek construction workers was what would be best described as a Cretan version of the 12 Stations of the Cross. Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. Literally everything. We thought they would appreciate some sympathy. We went unannounced. It took some time to find the place. They were not there. Bummer. The place looked nice though, and I guess if you’re looking for a quiet vacation with long walks in splendid nature and an evening rakí with the locals in one of the half-dozen kafeníons, you could chose worse places.
On the way back we stopped at a small taverna at the waterfront in Plaka, between Vrouchás en Eloúnda. We picked 2 fair sized fish, of about 350 kilogrammes each and whose name I have already forgotten, from the large selection of sea creatures which they kept on ice. All I knew about this particular type of fish is that the Cretans love to eat the head, it’s supposed to be the best part. I was going to try that too. I had seen it done, and when in Rome… Well, to make a long story short, let’s just say that I need to take some more lessons in the art of eating a fish head. The many cats that always hang around in tavernas seemed to like it though!
On our way back home we passed through Mália, which during the summer season is bustling with life. Now it was dead. Coming down through the mountains from Agios Nikólaos I had noticed that the temperature was rising, although it was past 6 o’clock already. When driving slowly through Mália I had to open the two side windows in the car to get some fresh air. The temperature had gone up to 33 degrees! At 6 PM! On November 14th! That’s more like the winters I came here for…