Sunday, 6 September 2015

Back in Crete for a week near Rethymnon

Julia Apartment in Platanes, about 5 km east of Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

I am back in Crete for a week, and staying near Rethymnon, the Venetian and university town that I have known since the 1980s.

I arrived late last night [5 September 2015] on a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Chania Airport, and it was a 40 km journey to Julia Apartments in the village of Platanes, where I am staying for the rest of the week.

Platanes is about 5 or 6 km east of Rethymnon and just 300 metres walking distance from the long sandy beach that stretches in lengths east of Rethymnon.

Twenty years ago, Platanes was an unremarkable suburb of Rethymnon on the old Rethymnon-Iraklio road. But it has grown and developed over the last two decades, and there is a number of luxury hotels here too, including El Greco and Creta Palace, were built in the area, along with the usual Greek rent rooms and pensions in the centre of the resort.

There is a variety of shops, bars and tavernas right on my doorstep, and I am told some have Greek and Cretan dancing several times a week.

Nearby are many pretty, traditional villages such as Adele, and Arkadi with its historically important monastery is 17 km to the south.

Julia Apartments is family-run complex, run by Vassilis Vogiatzis, his wife Brenda from Scotland, their daughters and his nother. There is a pool, a poolside bar and a restaurant, all set in a blossomed garden, along with a children’s playground.

The apartments look out onto the garden or the mountain, and the studios have a kitchenette with dining area, fridge, cooking hobs and a flat-screen TV.

This is an interesting time to be back in Greece, which is the middle of an election campaign, a bleak economic crisis, and at the centre of the disturbing crisis involving refugees fleeing from Syria through Turkey to the Greek islands.

During the coming week, I also hope to visit one or two monasteries or convents, see some archaeological sites I have not yet visited, go for walks on the beach, and perhaps swim in the waters of the Mediterranean, which is still warm at this time of year. Despite the early onset of autumn in Ireland and England, and the rains of the past week, the temperatures here are still in the 30s during the day.

Julia Apartments offers free WiFi, so I hope to keep in touch over the coming week.

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