Thursday, September 07, 2006

Rocky beaches & food

I wasn't sure anyone was reading, but I've been told that lots of you are travelling to Crete here by way of the travelogue, so I'll share my last few days of photos. Thanks for reassuring me with a comment or two--we all know how tiresome other people's holiday photos can be sometimes!

This is the beach right below the conference center. It's a rocky beach, but that didn't stop many people from enjoying it. The locals brought their infants to the rock pools, right at the water's edge, because the water was clear and shallow. The surf fishermen fished out on the rocks to the right. The brave conference goers (I was not one of them) swam out far beyond the rocks into the sea.

Kolymbari's beach, a kilometer down the road, was a "Pebble beach" --basically stones. It looks a lot like some of the beaches in the south of France, for comparison point. I saved myself the (short) walk and sunbathed in the mornings down near the rocks, and dunked myself in the shallow tidal pool to get cool. I didn't get much exercise doing this, but then, I also did not scrape myself up against the larger rocks farther out.

There are many beautiful sand beaches in Crete, like Paleohora or Matala, as I mentioned earlier...but the rocky shores were just as striking. European conferences often have an excursion built in as part of the event, and ours was to Paleohora. It was lovely swimming in the Libyan sea, fun seaside shopping (two pairs of gauzy cotton pants for me, at 14 Euro each) and a sort of touristy meal with Greek tourist music and dancing. This was the only low quality meal I had during my whole stay...but they were serving 140 people at once.

Every meal had lots of fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables. Salad accompanied every meal, with fruit for dessert. I promised to shoot lots of photos of food, but when you're eating at a long family-style table at a conference, it's hard to shoot photos inconspicuously. So, some suggestions for those travelling to Crete: The lamb is good. The octopus is good. Salata. Order that! There are all sorts of salads, and lots of luscious fruits, ripe off the trees. (I ate fresh figs and pears straight off the trees, and grapes were everywhere.) Order bottles of wine and ask the waiter for his suggestions. The house wine in the smaller carafe amounts isn't very good. Last suggestion: Read a Greek cookbook before you go, and learn the names of the foods (and the ingredients in them) that you'll like. It helped me enormously, because it appears that when we were at restaurants, the wait staff looked to me when it came to ordering. Apparently I look Greek, and the lady of the family orders for her spouse. Husband didn't complain once, I think I did ok.
I'll leave you with a photo of a gyro we got on the street in Rethimnon. This cost 2 Euro. We each ate one, it was a complete (and delicious) meal. It's kind of like what you can get in the USA, but it tasted better...street food always does.


Blogger Angela said...

Delicious and beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing Joanne. I'm hoping to get to Crete one day.

September 7, 2006 at 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been completely enraptured by your pictures and descriptions all week. My conferences need to start occuring in exotic locations. But then again, poor grad students can't always afford it...but maybe I could swing a one way ticket...

September 7, 2006 at 8:44 PM  

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