I love Spiros and Greek Dentists
Thursday, 9th June 2016
Spiros is the dockmaster in Chania. He is wonderful, quite the nicest and most helpful we have yet met. Young, fit, completely bald, but utterly charming!
But first, Kleftiko was fabulous, great stacks of rock amidst turquoise water, great for snorkelling, diving and climbing. Good choice (although a bit rolly overnight) for an early start and passage to Crete. A nice crossing of 70nm and we arrived in Chania at 6pm and managed to claim the last spot with a laid line (meaning we did not have to use our anchor, risking getting it caught on chains and rubble on the bottom), aided by a very helpful neighbouring German catamaran.
But I digress. Chania next morning, over breakfast, Wendy crunches something, that turns out to be a filling making an escape. This is no small filling, but one with two screws, one of which is still embedded in said filling. Tooth feels very ragged, in fact can't talk, because any movement lacerates poor tongue. Too much information, I know. Clearly needing to do something, we head for Spiros. He has already welcomed us, given us maps, shown us where important things like markets, laundries and interesting sites are. Now could he please show us where good Dentists are. He clucks sympathetically, makes a phone call, rattling off in superfast Greek and arranges for W to be seen by Dr Giorgos Ligoxigakis - they will call us to tell us when. Shown on the map, we wander in that general direction, visiting the covered market on the way. Having arrived at the surgery without being called yet, we decided to go up and camp in the office nevertheless. The assistant and Dentist are kindness themselves, fit me in between other appointments and did a very thorough repair job to last me through to July when I can see my own at home. The cause of the lacerations was the remaining screw embedded in my tooth had bent itself over - he couldn't extract it, so got the Dremel out and cut it off. And now I am part boat - he fibreglassed the old filling that I had saved back in and spent considerable time ensuring all was smooth with no rough bits. Instant relief. I do love Spiros and Greek Dentists!
Contrary to Pilot Book warnings, we have thoroughly enjoyed Chania. It was a thriving Venetian port, has been through the usual history of Greek periods, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman rule, all the while remaining uniquely and strongly Cretan. They are tough people and their terrain can be also. Chania itself is a really bustling place, the old town and harbour area full of tall Venetian houses, beautiful stone old docks and warehouses, and harbour defences. There was a music festival just finishing when we arrived. There is a thriving spread out newer town, shops and crafts and local artistic activity everywhere. We are moored just opposite a café / restaurant that specialises in live music - every night a different group, but all are local and the music is traditional Cretan. Mixture of traditional folk and Portuguese-like Fado, all accompanied by traditional instruments like the Lyra (3-stringed pear-shaped violin-type) and the Laouta (a sort of mandolin). It has been very good, we have enjoyed sitting on the boat in the evenings listening. And it is a civilised place, the music stops at midnight, there is no thumping heavy metal and it is not a haven for loud, drunken louts!
We have stayed longer than planned, due in part to the tooth saga, and also to avoid some strong winds and rough seas. We hired a car for the day yesterday, to drive west and all down the coast to Elafonissi Beach, apparently one of the "top 15" beaches in the world. It was certainly picturesque, shallow and sheltered due to being surrounded by reefs, with fine sand the fringes of which were pink (garnet?). We travelled then back inland, up into the Lefka Ori (the White Mountains), crossing diagonally eastwards three ranges to then work north back up to Chania. The highest peak is over 2,500m high - we reached about 1,000m. The area we were in was wooded, with lots of chestnut trees, rampant and colourful oleander and Dragon Arums with long tongues and a foul smell when in flower! We reached the fringes of the Samaria National park (no roads in the park, just wilderness) near the Elini Gorge. We stopped to walk a kilometre or so down into the gorge - just to get the feel of it. This one is a mere 7km long. The famous Samaria Gorge accessible from the next ridge over is a different matter. It is an 17 km vertical descent / hike down through the Gorge and wilderness to the sea below - the only way back being a boat trip, then bus back up. You have to clock in with a ranger if solo, or do a guided trip. If a guided trip, it's a 6am start from Chania and return by about 8pm. I would love to do it one day!
The wind has eased today, by tomorrow the seas will also have done, and we'll start working our way east - first stop Rethymno. Not only Spiros and Gr Dentists, we also love Crete!