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Trip statistics so far:

TRIP STATISTICS so far:

20131231-220137.jpgNUMBER OF TRAIN TRIPS – 13 (Kunming – Dali, Xian – Beijing, Beijing – Ulanbaatar, Ulanbaatar – Irkutsk, Irkutsk – Omsk, Omsk – Ekaterinburg, Ekaterinburg – St Petersburg, St. Petersburg – Moscow, Moscow – Odessa, Odessa – Chisinau, Chisinau – Bucharest, Thessaloniki – Florina, Florina – Thessaloniki, Tangier – Marrakech, Marrakech – Casablanca)

imageNUMBER OF OVERNIGHTS IN TRAINS – 12 nights

NUMBER OF TRAIN HOURS – 227 hours

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NUMBER OF PLANE TRIPS – 7 (Darwin – Cairns, Cairns – Darwin, Darwin – Singapore, Singapore – Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur – Kunming, Lijiang – Xian, Thessaloniki – Heraklion, Heraklion – Athens, Athens – Madrid)

NUMBER OF PLANE HOURS – 23 hours

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NUMBER OF BUS TRIPS – 11 (Beijing – Great Wall, Great Wall – Beijing, Irkutsk – Lake Baikal, Lake Baikal – Irkutsk, Ruse – Stara Zagora – Plovdiv, Plovdiv – Thessaloniki, Agios Nikolaos Heraklion, Chiclana Cadiz, Chiclana – Tarifa)

NUMBER OF BUS HOURS – 35 hours

NUMBER OF TAXIS -14

NUMBER OF HIRE CARS – 4

imageNUMBER OF TUKTUKS- 1

imageNUMBER OF FERRIES – 5 (Lake Baikal Olkhon Island, Heraklion Santorini, Tarifa – Tangier)

imageNUMBER OF BOAT TRIPS – 4 (Lake Baikal, Lake Baikal fishing trip, Santorini – Volcano – Thirassi, Spinalonga Island)

NUMBER OF CONTINENTS – 4

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES – 13 (we count Tibet as a real country!)

NUMBER OF DIFFERENT TIME ZONES – 12

imageNUMBER OF ZOOS – 8 (Adelaide zoo, Perth zoo, Darwin wildlife park, Cairns tropical zoo, Singapore Zoo, Xian Panda Rescue centre, Ekaterinburg butterfly park and zoo, St Petersburg Zoopark)

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NUMBER OF WATER PARKS – 4 (Darwin, St. Petersburg, Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Hersonissos (Crete))

imageNUMBER OF DIFFERENT OCEANS/SEAS SWUM IN – Western Port Bay, Southern ocean, Indian Ocean, Coral Sea, Black Sea, Cretan Sea (on the north side of Crete), Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Libyan Sea (on the south side of Crete), Atlantic Ocean

imageNUMBER OF HOSTELS – 4

NUMBER OF GUEST HOUSES – 12

NUMBER OF AIRBNB APARTMENTS/HOUSES – 5

NUMBER OF HOTELS – 3

NUMBER OF HOME STAYS- 2

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NUMBER OF NIGHTS CAMPING – 34 (not including the ger in Mongolia as that was on beds in their permanent accommodation )

imageNumber of SERVAS – COUCHSURFING STAYS – 4

DAYS SO FAR – 278 (31-12-2013)

NUMBER OF Kms TRAVELLED BY OUR CAR IN OZ – 10156km

NUMBER OF DIFFERENT BEDS – 42

HIGHEST ALTITUDE – 4,200m (went up by chair lift from Dali in Yunnan, China)

LOWEST ALTITUDE – Sea level

HIGHEST COST OF ACCOMMODATION – $125 per night for 2 apartments in Granada, Spain followed by $100/ night for a 6 bed dorm in a small hostel in Irkutsk, Russia

LOWEST COST OF ACCOMMODATION – (other than free) – $42/night for two rooms in a Kunming guesthouse, China

LONGEST TIME WITH NO SHOWER – 8 days (Mongolia)

BEST MEAL

C – In Thessaloniki, having appetisers with Sandy at an ‘ouzeri’ (a place that sells ouzo and appetisers) with the most delicious ‘melt in your mouth’ calamari, wonderful bread, Greek salad and delicious walnut cake and ice cream to end with.

S – the barbecued calamari a described as the best calamari in Greece at an ouzeri in Thessaloniki as well as my favourite dessert was a sundae a groovy Beijing coffee shop near our hostel.

Y – The Thai Restraunt in Beijing near our hostel where we had spicy chicken, prawns in coconut sauce, Thai bread and rice and veggies. The potato gratin also at Teta Mirka’s house was amazing – I had four serves.

T – the night before my birthday in Darwin at our aunty Jenny and uncle Paul’s place with our cousins Lachie and Josh – we had pasticcis, party pies and sausage rolls and aunty Jenny got us a wonderful birthday cake – mine was cheesecake. Actually I loved all of Jenny and Paul’s meals in Darwin but my birthday one was the best.

K – Barramundi at Jen’s house there was lemon juice and veggies and at my birthday I had chicken snitzel – best snitzel I’ve ever had. Also I loved the nachos at the Mexican place for Tobes’ and Yas’ birthday in Darwin. I also have one more – My complete FAVOURITE – the fish we cooked on a stone BBQ at lake Baikal that we caught ourselves. It was incredible. And I have to mention the huge (so much) Nutella waffle I had with mum in Heraklion.

Z – Pasta with tuna sauce in the village with Papou Doni’s tomatoes and I loved Mihali’s milk in the village

E – Giros pita by the lake

WORST MEAL

C – The second day of our ger stay when we had veggies and Soya TVP with some sort of pasta but the whole meal and air and everything just smelt of mutton fat and I was feeling quite ill from it – after which I just got used to it and enjoyed the experience.

S – The first meal in Kunming where the smell just made me want to vomit and I put on a brave face for the kids and then we wised up and got some written instructions for other prospective food places.

Y – Our first noodle meal in China in Kunming cause it was spicy and very hot and we hadn’t learnt how to ask for less spicy yet and people were all looking at us.

T – In Beijing in a Chinese Restraunt near our hostel that everyone else loved but always put me in a bad mood – the food was lots of veggies and noodles and stuff like that.

K – On Jetstar flight from Darwin – Singapore we had rice and chicken it was so plain and yuk

Z – The spicy food in China

E – Reheated past tonight cause it didn’t have enough sauce

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TOTAL LAND KILOMETRES – 15,970km

TOTAL SEA KILOMETRES – 167 km

TOTAL AIR KILOMETRES – 10,635km

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Espana – parte segundo

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We spent Xmas in Chiclana de la Fontera, in the South of Spain, near Morocco, with my aunty Gigga Jenny, Aunty Vuina Sally and Uncle Chich George.

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They have those names at the start of their names because they mean aunt and uncle in Macedonian. Gigga Jenny is not a real word for an aunt but I couldn’t say ‘Thitsa’ (which means ‘loveable aunty’ in Greek) when I was little so I ended up calling her Gigga – now all the family call her that.

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We also had friends from Australia – one of them was a friend from Australia who we’ve seen many times – Millie Parkes – she was travelling around Europe and wanted to spend Xmas with us. Also her friend Darcy came to spend Xmas as well. Darcy is really really good at drawing – especially letters – she drew us some ‘Merry Christmas’ signs and it looked like it was printed. She also plays AFL women’s football and was very very good at catching. She taught me how to do dives when catching balls like in cricket and I got very good at it in just one day – we did it at the beach, so it was easier on the sand than on the hard dirt!
On Xmas Eve we had the best Xmas Eve you could imagine. We went ice skating in Chiclana. It was really really fun – I fell over a lot but I was really good at getting up once I fell and I became quite good at skating.

One funny thing was – it happened a couple of times too – when someone fell over and made a big noise I was concentrating on the ice but I would look up and then fall over myself. There was music that you could skate to and the blades were really cool. I was really fast at ice skating but I fell over lots so I need to do some practising.

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After ice skating we went and saw big Xmas lights and we even went to a cafe that we knew had WIFI. Even though the shop was closed (because it was Xmas Eve and the town was very quiet because the Spanish celebrate with a big meal on Xmas Eve with their families).

We went into the sheltered bit of the outside part of the cafe and they had left their WIFI on and we got to watch our email videos that Santa Claus sent (or Papa Noel in Spanish) – they were really fun to watch – the elves were so funny – one of them was so funny that when they were saying goodbye he would make himself look really strong and have a naughty laugh.

Everyone got on Santa’s nice list but I’m sure that Yasi and Kalika almost got on the naughty list. We were all given a thing to focus on to be even better kids – mine was to be nice to my brothers and sisters. We got home pretty late and we all got ready for bed.

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Before bed I put some milk out and a piece of cake and biscuits for Santa and some lettuce and tomatoes for the reindeers. I even wrote him a letter and he replied in mainly Greek!
There were so many questions that you want  to ask and we only get to ask him once a year – some of my questions that I wanted to ask him next year:

How do you get your elves and how many are there?
What do you do apart from watching your elves make presents all year round?
In your videos you show us a book about us and I want to ask if you have just a few things written down or if you have a book for every child with pages full of all you know about them.

I’ll have to try and remember to ask these things next year at Xmas.

On Xmas day I woke up pretty early. All the adults were given an 8.30am wake up call – we had give them a one minute warning call and then at 8.30am we shouted the place down saying 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1!
Everyone came down and we were excited that Santa had been – he wrote a letter (mostly in Greek) and said the chocolate cake was delicious and the reindeers loved the tomatoes and lettuce.

We opened our presents – my first present was some plain black jeans and I also got a pack of dominos and a scrabble card game. The other two presents were monopoly in Greek in a beautiful wooden box and I also got chess and backgammon game (in Greek it’s called Tavli) with the most beautiful bits of detail I have ever seen on wood.

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From my Vuina Sally & Chich George & Gigga Jenny I got an iPod case (but unfortunately it was the wrong generation and didn’t fit my iPod) and a onesie – a onesie is pyjamas in one piece and it had a skeleton print on it and it even glows in the dark – it’s so cool.
One time I was wearing it when the power went out and the onesie glowed and gee how it glowed – so bright. I also got a pencil case and a note pad from Mille and her mum Jeanette Parkes from Australia.

And I got the best things ever from mum and baba – a Barcelona FC T-shirt and shorts and my very own gel for my hair. Wasn’t a big packet but it will do as I only use it on special occasions like Xmas. After we opened our presents we called my Grandma & Pa in Australia – it was 7 pm at night there and I spoke to everyone and they also got one of the best presents I can ever imagine – my Grandma normally gives all the kids a big sack of presents but this time instead, my Pa and Grandma got everyone a pool table to use at Somers. They were even give a table tennis table from one of their friends. It was really exciting to hear their voices. I couldn’t believe that when we went to bed at 10pm on Xmas Eve they were already opening their presents.

We had breakfast really late – I called it brunch – we kind of had two brunch a – the first was at 10am and the 2nd was at about 11.30am. For first brunch we had fruit platter with croissants – chocolate and normal ones. 2nd brunch we had scrambled eggs, with salmon and bread and other yummy things.

We also had a very very late lunch – I called it ‘lunner’ cause we had it at 4.00pm.
For lunch we had lots of things like mushrooms with cheese on top, roasted potatoes, potato salad, rice, chicken, calamari, prawns, peppers. For drinks the adults had a Spanish alcohol drink called Sangria which tasted like cordial. We were allowed to have a little bit of  lemonade which was left dorm making the Sangria.

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For dessert we had lots of things – summer pudding, chocolate ripple cake, Italian Panattone, chocolate coated pears and of course chocolate coated strawberries. Zoi and Darcy made the chocolate coated strawberries. Everyone helped to cook on the day cause we did it all in stages.

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This is the first year that I made the summer pudding mostly on my own. Summer pudding is something we make every Xmas.

I played a couple of games of backgammon (Tavli). We played games and had lots of fun on Xmas day because it was raining outside. After dessert we all sat together and watched ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’. It was really funny – sometimes when Ian asked the brother how to say somethings in Greek he would teach him naughty words. Like at the lunch table he asked him how to say ‘thank you’ in Greek and the brother made him say ‘nice boobs’ to his mother. The other time the brother and cousin taught him to say ‘I have three testicles’ but he thought he was saying – ‘let’s go in to eat now’. So funny. The father was so funny when he was doing his speech at the wedding he said the family his daughter was marrying into was called Miller and that is short for ‘milo’ which means ‘apple’ in Greek. Their name is Portokalis which comes from the Greek word for ‘orange’. He said that ‘apples and oranges are different but at the end of the day we are all fruit’. It was funny.

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We also made up a play with my Uncle Chich – we called it ‘The night the Milikings saved Christmas’ set in Chiclana-Cadiz. We wrote the lines and scenes with my Chich. We had it planned for Xmas day but as I thought we were so busy that we actually did it on Boxing Day. Great fun -But that is another story told by another kid – bye for now.

By Tobes

On Boxing Day we went to Barossa beach which was about 5 mins by bus from the house we were staying at.

We played on the playground equipment which was right on the sand at the beach. The beach was on the Atlantic Ocean.

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We had a picnic lunch of sandwiches and leftovers from Christmas Day on the sand.
After lunch we played on the swing with my aunty Sally and uncle George – we were on the swings and got on sideways and swinging sideways and then the others had to run through without being caught – it was so much fun. I got caught lots of times. Sally was probably the best at it cause she was sneaky and got through.


The adults had a coffee at the cafe while we still played at the beach as the sun was going down over the water. There were lots of big waves and there were people doing stand up paddling surfing. About 5pm we started to go home and packed our bags so we can leave in the morning. My aunty Sally and Chich (uncle George) made seafood and chorizo paella and mushroom risotto for dinner. It was delicious and we ate lots.

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After dinner we performed a play that we wrote with my Uncle Chich – it was called ‘The night the Milikings saved Xmas’. Mummy was the narrator- cause every great play needs a narrator. The story was that Santa (Papa Noël in Spanish) got stuck in the Atlantic Ocean which we pretended was the pool in the Chiclana house. Baba got a text message from Papa Noël cause we were so close that we might be able to help or Xmas would be ruined forever. We didn’t have a car to go to Cadiz (which was the palm trees near the pool) so magically there appeared a car in the driveway with the most beautiful angel – Sally. She drove the car with baba and all of the kids to Cadiz.

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On the way we saw two wise women with some signs hitch hiking and baba said – ‘ that’s a sign’, so we picked them up and they came with us to save Papa Noël. We didn’t know how to swim out to the ocean in the rough waters. The two wise ladies said they could help because they knew a special sea angel called ‘Gigga Maroni all fishy and bony’.

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She appeared from the water and helped but she couldn’t swim out alone so Sally and my baba helped her. They saved Papa Noël, the reindeers and the sleigh and all of the presents.

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The wise ladies gave special gifts to baba, Aunty Sally and Gigga for saving Papa Noël. Giggs’ prize was a gold card with a heart she would share with someone this year. Baba got a lifetime gift voucher to the Apple store and aunty Sally got everything she ever wanted (this is really true about what she wants) – an England visa, a new job and £100,000 gift voucher to the Selfridges department store. So we saved Christmas forever.
It was lots of fun.

In Granada we went to a very very old palace called La Alhambra and it was beautiful. There were lots of art and tiles on the walls. There were lots of gardens and footpaths and plants. It was a pretty cold and rainy day. There were lots of autumn leaves on the trees.

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In Granada the streets were old, small, slippery and quite wet, not many cars could go on them.

We had tapas a few times in Granada – like calamari, potatoes, prawns, bread and croquettes with a fish called bacalao.

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For Christmas I got some purple jeans, a Greek book called ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ in Greek – it’s the first book I read by myself in Greek, dominos and a red puffy vest. My Uncle Chich, Aunty Sally and Gigga gave me a pink bracelet and a One Direction T-shirt which I really like. Mummy and Baba gave me some peach trackydacks and a necklace beaded with my name in Greek. Millie and Jeanette gave me a pink sponge bag to keep my stuff in. It was a really good Christmas. We had a really late lunch but I enjoyed it.

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Millie and Darcy our friends were travelling in Europe and it was their first Christmas away from their family, so they came and had Xmas with us. It was really good having them there, they were fun to play with and I liked going ice skating with them.

By Yasi

Hello people

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I’ve got a Spain team tee shirt and I’ve got a Morocco country tee shirt. It’s not a team, it’s a flag tee shirt.

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My Lego was my favourite present, it’s a service station in a carry case, I can take it on buses and to cafés, it’s so fun. Our Santa sacks weren’t with us so we put 5 big sheets tied up for Santa to put things in, with our names. There was a letter for Santa, and Toby put milk out, I put cake out and Zoi put the nuts and Yasi put lettuce and Kalika put tomatoes out.

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Baba got a new man bag for Christmas so I asked for his old one.

In Australia it’s night time now. My favourite food in Spain was the yellow rice (insert seafood and chorizo paella) that Sally made, and chocolate croissants.

That’s enough, Hasta la vista baby!

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Αιμιλιος
Emilio
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1

Espana – parte primero

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When Gigga got to Crete I said to her ‘I will never let you go, I’m going to go everywhere with you’. I said that because I love her.

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When Lilliana and Fran came with their girls we played lots of hide and seek with them. They spoke a little bit of English but no Greek. We played at the park after lunch. We played special games like racing games. I was sad when they left because I wanted to play more.

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Santa came to our Spanish house. He brought me some a toy Lego pony and some big girl Lego in a carry box. I also got some purple cords. I also got some pink hair chalk that you can make your hair pink with. Christmas Day was really fun and lovely cause it was very good that we had our aunties Gigga and Sally and Chich and Mille and Darcy.

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Darcy and Millie did lots of drawings with me and I got to make chocolate strawberries with them. It was fun.

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Chich and Sally were lovely and kind. They gave us lollies when we picked them up from the bus station. Chich helped me a lot with ice skating and at the end I could do ice skating by myself with no holding on. Chich and Sally and Giggsie gave me a onesie jammies and it is very very warm.

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I liked Spain cause it was pretty and it was Christmas. There were lots of Christmas lights.

By Zoi

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We had to get up soooooooo early on the 18th of December because we had a very early flight to Athens and then we changed planes to go to Madrid. We had to get up at 4am because we had to get dressed and drive a hire-car to the Heraklion airport. The Heraklion airport is about 1 hour away from our house in Agios Nikolaos.

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Our flight was at 6.30am and we were all fighting over who was going to sit with our Gigga Jenny. Emilio and I got to sit next to her in the end. When we were above Athens, Emilio and I played a game – we had to have one guess of what place down below was the airport and we only got one guess. I was right.

When we arrived at Athens airport there was a very big runway and it was a while rolling along the runway till we stopped. The people didn’t do what I expected. I expected that they would clap like they did when we flew into Crete the first time.

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Then on the next plane to Madrid we had breakfast – we had cheese pie (tiropita) and yoghurt – in a second compartment of the yogurt container there was honey and if you wanted you could mix it in. There was also bread rolls with jam and butter.
There was only two of the vegetarian meals for the three adults so Mummy and Gigga got them and Baba had to have a normal one but there was no meat in it so he was happy. The vegetarian meal was a couple of veggies like cooked tomatoes and things like that with egg.
We landed into Madrid and then Mummy and Baba hired a car for us all to drive to Granada. It took 4 hours of driving to Granada – it was comfy cause it was a 7 seater and it was a brand new car – it was only driven from the factory 20 kms away. When we arrived in Granada it was still daylight but the sun was setting so it got dark.

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It was really difficult to park in Granada cause of all the small streets so went in a underground parking spot. Then we went to a place where we had to meet a man that showed us where our airbnb apartment was.

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He was really late coming to us but he had come before and gone cause we were later than we said.
While we were waiting for him we left Baba at the spot and we went to a tapas bar near there for some food. It was delcioso – (nostimo νόστιμο in Greek). We ate pasta, potatoes, mushrooms, croquettes with spinach, eggplant. When the man – Christian – came with Baba, he showed us a few places to go and then we went to bed cause it was pretty late.

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I slept in an apartment with Gigga, Zoi and Toby and the others were next door. It is hard to find something big enough for us all.
The next day in Granada it was raining and it was pretty cold. We walked to the same restraunt again and we had breakfast omelettes and they had delcioso bread with the omelettes and we had hot chocolates but Yasi didn’t like hers, so we shared it. We went up the hill to the Alhambra – the old palace. We didn’t get really wet cause we had our rain jackets and it wasn’t very heavy rain.

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There was a path to walk on and there were lots of autumn trees with leaves falling down.

It was a big palace and they had lots of beautiful patterns in their walls and roofs and also the ground. There were lots of hedges in the gardens. They started building it 800 years ago when Spain was a part of Arabia.


After the Alhambra we went out for lunch to a tapas restraunt and had lots of little plates of things – like croquettes with fish, anchovies on bread, potatoes, cheese, green olives, tuna and calamari. On the way home we went to a special lookout called ‘Mirador San Nicholas’, where we could see the Alhambra. You could see the whole palace and it was a very good view. There was a band playing and there was big huge Christmas balls and we tried to balance on big huge humongous chains.

The day after we got to Chiclana we had some visitors. My mama and baba met an Itialian girl in Australia back in 1999 called Liliana. She moved to Spain after travelling met a Spanish man called Francisco. They had two daughters called Lucia and Ainara – and they came to visit us for the day from Malaga which was about 2 and 1/2 hours by driving.


First thing I did with the girls was to play Jenga which they brought over. It had a dice with colours and you had to pull out that colour. They would say them in English to me. They knew just a little bit of English, but I know less Spanish than they know English. We played hide and seek and catching the balls we had. The balls were falling in the pool a lot. No one swam that day except for Toby – the water was pretty cold but it was a really sunny day.
After a bit we went out for lunch to a Seafood restraunt. At the Restraunt we had chips as usual and calamari and prawns. It was very yummy. After we ate the kids started off to the park with mama and Lilliana. At the park we played on the swings and on the rides. We also climbed up to the roof of the little kids train.

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Then when we got back home we played hide n seek again and then we had some of the yummy cake that Lilliana brought with her. When it was getting dark they went back into their car and drove off back home. So they could get home and get ready because the next day Lilliana and Fran were going to go to New Zealand on a holiday and the girls were going with their grandparents and all their 14 cousins. Their grandparents live on the other side of Spain near Valencia. It was so much fun to meet them and I hope that they come and visit us in Australia.

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On Xmas Eve we went ice skating in Chiclana town which was about 1/2 hr walk from our house. I liked ice skating – it was the first time I ever went –  after the fifth time I fell I was crying and in the whole time we were there I fell over 19 times. Baba told me that the first time he went ice skating he fell over 10 times – he didn’t want me to beat him but I did! I got so much better at it by the end.

When we were walking home mama said the kids in Australia would be opening their presents now. It was still the night before Xmas for us.

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When we got home mama read us two chapters of ‘Famous five’ while we got ready for Santa (Papa Noël in Spanish) to come. It was 10 o’clock by the time we went to bed.
The next day was Xmas – we had to wait a bit for everyone to get up before we opened our presents. At 8.30am we got to shout the house down for the slow coaches to wake up. We said 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0!

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I got a keyboard with a pipe that attaches to it and fits in your mouth and you have to blow and play. I also got some red jeans and blue tight leggings (sort of like stockings but don’t go over your feet) and dominoes. My present from Chich and Sally and Gigga was a onesie which is so warm to sleep in. From mummy and baba I got a Mandala drawing kit and a necklace that says my name in Greek, which is ΚΑΛΙΚΑ. Also they gave me a Xmas bracelet. When Mille and Darcy were up Millie gave us our presents from Jeanette (Millie’s mum). I got a purse and a little diary. Then we had ages of time to play with our Christmas presents and build Zoi and Emilio’s Lego. Oh I also got some Lego from Santa. It is a space shuttle, a man and a planet that you can keep everything in together. We played almost the whole day because it was raining outside.

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For lunch we had potatoes and chicken, rice and calamari, prawns and so many other dishes. I ate so much cause it was delicious. It was a great Christmas.

On Boxing Day we performed a play.

By Kikibelle

Here I am sitting on another overnight train and I just love it. I have really missed them lots – it’s our 13th night in a train this year. The ride is from Tangier in Northern Morocco to Marrakech in Central Morocco near the Atlas Mountains. I have always dreamt of coming to the Atlas Mountains – and I love the movie – Kundun – about the Dalai Lama – which was filmed there.

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So far our Christmas trip to Spain has been a huge success. So lucky that we found cheap 100€ flights from Crete to Madrid back in August. When my sister decided to come over to Europe for Christmas and my brother and his wife Sally are living in London we thought that we would meet in the middle (sort of) and have a lovely family Christmas. We originally thought that we could fly into Madrid and then get trains to the south of Spain but when you multiply anything like a western train trip by 7 it becomes prohibitively expensive and after a long search on the net we managed to find a super budget car company that would let us get a car from the airport and then drop it off in Cadiz a few days later. It was all so much cheaper than the train.

When we drove out of the airport and ventured south it was quite dry and industrial for such a long way. Not the Spain I remembered from my magical trip here in 2000 with my cool Japanese friends Hiro and Chiya. We drove and drove through more and more drab dry land. Then it started to change to dry rocky hills. Then we get to Andalucia, with the Sierra Nevada mountain range and I was reminded of what I fell in love with back in 2000. We drove into the city of Granada (I won’t talk much about the nitty gritty of our trip as the kids have covered lots of that though I would like to share some of how it felt for me) – and I remembered just how beautiful it was – especially the Arabic influenced Albaicin area. We had booked our Christmas week long family accommodation in Chiclana de la Fontera near Cadiz though it started from the 20th of December. We flew out of Crete on the 18th cause of the incredibly cheap flights which finished for the year on that day. So we thought – what better way to spend two days acclimatising to Spain than in Granada.
One of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to – with it’s amazing thin streets in the Albaicin area, the Alhambra, the Arabic tea rooms and super tapas food. The first day it drizzled with rain in the morning and was quite misty but it gave the city a special charm as the autumn leaves fell off the trees in the light wind. Quite beautiful.

I went running at about 8am and it was still pitch black – I’m sure Spain is in the wrong time zone – it is on the same time zone as Italy though it is further west than much of the UK. Sunrise is super late. Not many street lights either so it was all quite mystical.

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I really loved Christmas – it was so nice to spend it with my sister Jenny and brother George and s-in-l Sally. It really made it feel like we brought home to Spain. Having our friends Millie and Darcy was the icing on the cake also. There was lots of fun and exciting things for the kids to do and amuse themselves with so many adults.

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One of my highlights of our Spain trip was the visit from our wonderful friends Lilliana, Fran and their daughters Lucia and Ainara. They drive 2 and 1/2 hours from their home in Malaga to visit us in Chiclana and our kids just loved playing with their daughters. They even took us out for a fabulous seafood lunch. And all this was the day before they were driving to the other side of the country (Spain is the second biggest country in Europe) to drop off their girls to grandparents before they flew to NZ for a trip. Pretty amazing!

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Sandy and I met Lilliana about 50kms outside of Kunnunnara when we were hitchhiking out of El Questro station and she and an Israeli friend picked us up. She visited us in Melbourne, then I visited her and Fran in Madrid in 2000, and now reconnected again after 13 years. Wonderful people.

Another highlight would definitely have to be our day trip to Cadiz and a glorious – albeit cold swim in the ocean. Impossible to get to a new ocean/sea and not at least have a dip!

Fish and chips by the beach was also very ‘Australian’ in Spain!

We have stayed in quite a few Airbnb places over the last few months and have never had any issues really – some of the places were even better than they looked in the pictures. Not the Chiclana property unfortunately! Quite comical now looking back at it. Firstly it was so hard to find as we didn’t have wifi or maps on our phones. The street we eventually found but was split into two and there were so many one way streets that it was difficult to get to the right side. The house was owned by a woman called Giovanna, but the maintenance guy who looks after it was Miguel who didn’t know a word of English so when I called him to ask further directions he was trying to type in what I was saying to Google translate but it was all very comical. We found him in the end. He was really lovely and friendly and someway we managed to communicate – and he was quite apologetic about the house which wasn’t his fault at all.

Now the house – where do I start? Firstly there were no towels – we would’ve brought our own (actually we wouldn’t have, cause we only had cabin baggage – once you add checked baggage x7 it’s not a cheap trip anymore!) if we were told but we haven’t stayed in an Airbnb place that didn’t supply them before. Secondly there was only a small pot to cook enough rice for about 3 people – even though we booked a 10 person house! Miguel saved the day with the towels and cooking pots …….. And if only the house issues ended there! There was only enough hot water for 1 (or possibly 2 if it was quick) to have a shower. Since it was winter- and despite being T-shirt weather in the daytime sun – pretty hard to have cold showers!

Furthermore the biggest issue probably was the power – if more than two stove elements were on then the power cut out. If the washing machine was on with anything else the power cut out. There were only 2 wall heaters that worked (in a 5 bedroom house) and two little blower heaters …….but……. If they were all on the power cut out, if they were on with the toaster, the power cut out. Actually if the toaster was on with anything else the power cut out. It was a bit late to try to look for something else so we made do – it was almost comical in the end. Oh – I almost forgot – the oven didn’t work at all – just the grill element! It made cooking Christmas lunch interesting! We did it in lots of shifts and it was actually fabulous cause it was raining for most of the day (though stopped when we had to use the BBQ) and it meant we had an inside day with lots of game playing and cooking – we had 2 breakfasts, lunch at 4pm and then dessert at 6pm. One of my best Christmases really.

By Baba Miliking

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Our Gorge-ous long Weekend

On Friday…….

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We went to a gorge and we stayed a night in the gorge camping. After brekky the next morning mama and baba let me wander by myself – I went up a mountain and had a wonderful view of the Libyan sea. Once I was on the top of the cliff there were a few places where you could climb down. I tried 3-4 ways to climb down before I found a way to do it safely. It was very fun – along the walk I saw a goat with a kid. It was very cute. The walk as really awesome. I thought I was doing a good job by myself – like i almost climbed down a few ways but then changed my mind cause it wasn’t safe. I was trying to explore safely and I did. I was having such fun by myself and I only thought once or twice abut the others worrying but I thought they would go to the beach and try to spot me. Mum and the others were worrying about me a bit apparently and when they saw me at the beach they said ‘Toby Toby where have you been?’ And I had to tell them my story. Here are some of my photos:

I told them all about it and said that I had to take them back that way so baba said that “it would be a good place for a Xmas photo” – he went back to the tent to get the Xmas hats. While we were waiting for him to get back we went looking for a few rocks. We found some awesome rocks, green, pink, brown, with stripes, all sorts of colours. Then after we did a bit of searching we found some good rocks to climb on and we went climbing. There are a few good pictures of us climbing.

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But before baba could get back it started to rain pretty heavily so we took shelter and decided what to do. We thought we would go to the campsite and go into the little church. So we ran back, got our bags and went into the church and waited for the rain to die down a bit. Luckily we packed up our campsite before we went exploring. So we walked back to our car and decided to go to another gorge walk before visiting Antoni’s (my Baba’s Bowen friend) parents for the night.
But that is also another story.

By Tobes

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When we camped after we put the tents up we went climbing really high.
I liked seeing the goats when we were leaving the campsite.

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I  liked Matsala gorge but sometimes we fell over cause there are lots of loose rocks and it was steep.

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I walked on a big long log with mummy to a little rock island. Our feet got a tiny bit wet.
I collected lots of rocks or about 30 rocks.
We had bikkies and roll ups for brekky cause we couldn’t cook – just cold food.

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I slept in the green tent with mummy Emilio and Yasi – I was supposed to sleep in the gear shed part with mum but I squished in between Yasi and Emilio – I took Yasi’s sleep mat cause mine was wet and Yasi had to sleep on little thin blankets. We didn’t have a tent pole in the gear shed because we forgot it at home because we stuck it behind our wall map so it wouldn’t bend and we forgot. Mummy used a big stick instead.

By Zoi

AGIOFARANGO – THE GORGE OF THE SAINTS

AGIOFARANGO gorge is not only an excursion through rocky crags that leads to the sea, it also apparently has mystical powers because over the centuries it has been chosen by hermits for their spiritual headquarters. I wonder if that was the reason that as soon as it was dark (just before 6pm) and pretty much pitch black since there was just a thin crescent moon, the kids thought it was a bit scary and wanted to leave. The weather closed in and it was very windy and noisy at night. Pretty spooky in a very ‘golly this is amazing’ kind of way.
By Baba Miliking

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We went to a gorge – my baba’s friend told us about it. The gate was so small that Baba couldn’t fit through with his big pack. There was a church and a fire pit. There were nice lovely rocks – we climbed on them. We started doing the tents and then we had a little play and then we went onto the beach for a walk and then it became night time.
The next morning we packed up and we did some climbing on rocks and we went to the beach.

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The big kids were climbing dangerous rocks. Toby asked us if we can go for a walk but we didn’t so he went by himself. Then we went looking for him and and found him at the beach. It started to rain so we found a rock and hid under it.

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Then we tried to run quickly and get to the church. The church was good because there was a picture of Jesus. He was holding a sign.
Then we waited and started walking and came to a town to get some water then we went on a other cliff gorge walk. We had to come to town to get water because there was not enough water in the well and the rope was just a bit too short at the gorge where we camped.

By Moocha

On Friday morning we had the day off because it was our town’s name day and there was no school. So we went on a drive to a gorge.

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First we went to a town called Ierapetra in the south of Crete. We looked at an old Venetian fort and played at a playground. There were children protesting in the town but not sure why.
So we drove on around a very windy road and stopped at a beach for lunch. We had sandwiches and dips. We played with the rocks on the beach. Mum and Baba went swimming.
Then we set off to the gorge – most of the way we read a book we’ve become addicted to (Famous Five) – we took turns reading – we finished the 2nd book just as we got to the gate of the gorge. It was very bumpy on the road when it became a dirt road.
We parked our car and got our things out and set off to the campsite near the church. The was a church in the gorge – it was pretty nice.

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The first night we lit a fire and had a quick walk down to the beach. We had some supper – we had bread and cheese and tomatoes and tuna and nuts – not the most exciting but it was still nice. Then we went to our tent cause it started to get very cold and dark and started raining. A big wind storm blew in and made lots of noise and freaky sounds so some of us got a little bit scared.

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It was still very early and got dark by 6pm so we cuddled up in the tent and watched a movie. Zoi’s bed got soaked before we fell asleep so she bunked in with me and Emilio in the small covered part of the tent and Zoi stole my mattress so I had to sleep on two thin blankets while they had the good mats. They are rollers so they kicked lots and I couldn’t sleep cause of the wind storm.

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Morning came at last, we had breakfast and went rock climbing. We went for a walk down to the beach and after a little while playing in the rocks we took cover under some rocks and ran to the church were we put our bags.

By Yasi

On Saturday after our gorge walks we went to Antoni’s parents’ house.

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Antoni is a friend of Baba’s. His parents’ names are Louisa and Stelio.
We got there about 4.30pm and it was still light – they have little puppies about 4 -5 weeks old. There were three puppies and one had a brown coat, with lots of wool. Another one was black and white with very fluffy fur. The last one was white and black with a big black patch on one of his eyes. Like a pirate dog. It didn’t have much fur – just short.


We were allowed to hold them and take the dogs inside (the mother wasn’t too happy with us). They had a huge Christmas tree inside – our Xmas tree is nothing compared to it. We played with the puppies until dinner. For dinner we had souvlaki and chips and salad. It was served the way a restraunt would do it and it tasted even better than lots of restraunts. Louisa was so pleased that we gobbled everything up. One of Stelio’s brothers-in-law and his nephew came for dinner as well. They were called Mano and Christos.
After we ate we went to get the dogs again for another little play. After a while they got a bit too tired to play so we put them back where they slept. They slept in some hay in a little barn sort of thing.

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In there they had some rabbits. One had some little bunnies and one had three day old bunnies they were only about 5 cms. You could barely see them cause they were snuggled up with wool.
We did some drawing before bed. They were pleased with our drawings, I drew a Xmas tree with presents underneath and Santa holding his sack. Toby drew a horse. After that I drew a horse as well but it was galloping, (I’m not as good as Toby at horses but I’m getting better).
Then we went to bed. In the morning we got dressed and after that we obviously wanted to go get the puppies. And we did…….
There was some fights over who was holding each one. It was hard to find them at first cause they were hiding in the hay.

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Then Stelio showed us the geese and the chooks and I got to go in and get an egg that was just layed. It had so much poo everywhere.
Later on we went for a drive to a dam and there was not too much water in it because it hasn’t rained much this year.

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We went up to a village that Stelio knew some people it was called Skourvoula. We went into the little kafenio and we had to leave the puppies in the car. We got a soda each at the kafenio, Baba got a frappe as usual and mummy got a soda too. One of Stelio’s friends yelled out that he would pay for us all. That’s called ‘ego kernau’ which means ‘I’m shouting (or paying)’
Stelio bought every adult in the kafenio a raki which was vey nice of him. Raki is a very strong alcoholic drink so mum just a had a sip cause she doesn’t like it and she was driving.

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When we got back Toby learned how to play Tavli which is like Backgammon and then lunch was nearly ready. We had rice and chicken soup – it reminded us of our Yiayia’s (Baba’s mum) soups.

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I had some of what the adults were having also which was so delicious. It was chips and fish – yummy. Louisa is a wonderful cook. We got lots of things to take home like fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and cake and biscuits and lots of other things. We had a lovely time at their house. I have to end it here cause it’s dinner time. Goodnight everyone!

By Kikibelle

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Grandma and Pa visit us in Crete (Part 2)

I was so excited when I got a text from my mother-in-law Jill, saying they might come and visit us in a few weeks. It was all so spontaneous! Suddenly they were here and 9 days just went so fast.

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We all just loved sharing some of our new Cretan life with them. Walking kids to school, going to our favourite cafés, market mornings, slow dinners at yummy restraunts and having three nights in Chania.
We picked Chania because we knew Ross was interested in Australian War history and Chania was close to Souda Bay where the biggest Commonwealth War Cemetery is, so it was the place we chose to take them. So glad we did – lots of hotels in Crete have now closed for winter because the main tourist season is over – though my friend Antonis helped me find one that was right near the old Venetian wall, close to restraunts and able to accommodate 4 adults with five kids. It was such a great few days away – brilliant place. The kids have talked much about it. Though I must say the sunsets were so impressive.

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Every single meal was so amazingly delicious, Ross and I quickly found out that Amstel was much nicer beer than Mythos and Fix beer even better, especially when it was super cold. Jill and I worked out that the best Irish coffee (in Crete) was at the music cafe right next to their hotel! Every restaurant we went to always brings out some sort of ‘free’ dessert and of course ‘raki’ to drink.

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Jill thought it tasted a bit like petrol and one of the kids asked her ‘how do you know what petrol tastes like.’ Though Ross preferred beer, we got used to a final raki toast to the night. Especially when Amy and Oliver arrived – Amy was a great raki skuller, and it was so great to see them both as well – marvelling at how much warmer it was to London.

All in all – one of the best memories for me was watching how all five kids soaked up the grandparent energy, had wonderful conversations with them and glowed in their company.

It meant so much to the kids and Sandy and I that Jill & Ross made the journey all the way from Australia. They’re lots of fun and they’re brilliant grandparents.

By Christos

When my Grandma and Pa came up to see us we went to Chania and we stayed in the old town. It had lots of history about Crete. We walked along a Venetian wall and went to a war cemetery.
We also went to a top view cafe.

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Then the next day, Amy and Oliver came to Crete and they came to Chania. We went along the wall again with Amy and Oliver and Grandma and pa – Chania was fun.

After a couple of days at Chania we went back to Agios Nikolaos.

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Amy and Oliver stayed one more night at Chania then they came to Agios Nikolaos too. The day after we got back to home we went to see a wreck of a castle. Amy and Oliver met us there. At Knossos castle many years ago (about 4000 years ago) it was all together but now it has fallen apart.

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When we were in Chania I went out for a drink with my Pa and Baba. They had beer and I had a lemonade. My Pa said – “when you’re older always drink beer and not wine”. I said why – and he said “cause there’s less alcohol and you can’t get as silly as if you drink wine or those sugary drinks”.
He said that lots of drinks always have a nose on it. They told me to smell the beers and tell them what he nose was. It was very funny and a fun time with Pa.

One night we went out for dinner in Chania with Grandma and Pa. I was teaching my Grandma how to say ‘ohi’ (όχι) which means no. I have a habit of picking up the Cretan accent when I speak Greek, so I was actually teaching her how to say it with a Cretan accent which is like ‘oshi’ instead.
Oops! It so was funny – partly my fault but we had a good laugh. Here’s the video of it:

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It was very fun having Grandma and Pa over in Crete. I miss them so much.
By Yasi

Aha - we caught Pa with a man bag

Aha – we caught Pa with a man bag

Grandma and Pa arrived in Crete on the 19th of November. They flew from Melbourne to Doha and then to Athens and then to Heraklion. It took them 32 hours door to door. We picked them up at Heraklion airport in a car that we rented. It takes one hour from Agios Nikolaos where we’re living to Heraklion – one of the big cities.

After a few days, on the 21st of November we went to Chania. Chania is on the other side of Crete. The four parts of Crete are Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion and Lassithi. We live in Lassithi and Chania is in Chania province. The drive to Chania was long – it took about three and a half hours.

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We stopped in Rethymno, the city which is in Rethymno province. We had lunch at a cafe called Store 311 which Baba had been to before. He went with our friend Desley which you’ve heard about in other blogs and a Bowen friend called Antonis. He thought it was great that’s why we went there.

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When we got to Chania, it was in the afternoon and it was raining and we dropped off our things and got some warmer clothes – our hotel was called PortoVeneziano – that means Venetian port in Italian. I went to cafe with Pa, mummy, baba, Zoi, Emilio and Yasi. Toby and grandma watched tv trying to get some cricket news. There was some English TV.
At the cafe I got a hot chocolate – so there was no way I could have gotten cold. When we got home we got ready to go out for dinner. It was a delicious traditional Cretan Restraunt but there was no fish because Cretans don’t traditionally have much fish – they love meat. I loved the potatoes they were a bit lemony flavoured.

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The next day we went for a walk on the Venetian port wall and it lead to a castle 3/4 of the way and at the end there was a lighthouse. We loved to climb the rocks around it.

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After that we went to Souda Bay by car to the war Cemetery. We walked around the cemetery and there were thousands of people from lots of different countries that helped Crete in the 1941.
There were the countries of Australia, NZ, England, Wales, Scotland, South Africa, India, there weren’t Greek graves there but of course they were definitely in the war.

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After the Cemetery we went to a leader’s grave – his name is Venezelos – it didn’t really look like a grave – it was just a flat place to stand on and a star in the middle above where he was buried. When he was the prime minster of Greece, Crete wasn’t part of Greece and he made it a part of Greece in 1912.

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Then we went to a cafe called ‘Koukouvagia’ which means owl in Greek. Baba had already been there with Desley and Antonis when they travelled in Crete for a few days. The cafe had delicious food and it had a fantastic view over Chania.
We had a bit of a rest in our rooms for a bit – Toby and I were sharing a room with Grandma and Pa so we went back and played Yahtzee and Monopoly deal – it was cool. That night we had dinner close by so we could go to bed a bit earlier.

I am so glad that my Grandma and Pa came to visit us and I miss them so so so very much.

By Kikibelle

A few more happenings:

I asked Jill if she could take a photo of Pa and I with my iPhone – possibly the first time she held an iPhone. Well I handed it to her and the outcome was 122 photos – not sure how that happened but she could give the paparazzi a run for their money – here’s some of the pix:

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Couldn’t resist this photo -possibly the first time Jill held a beer – maybe next time we’ll get her to taste it.😄

Christos

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Grandma and Pa visit us in Crete (Part 1)

Mum and dad texted about 6 weeks ago and said – how busy are you in mid November? We rang shortly after and mum explained that after speaking to Toby on the phone, they realised that it made more sense to visit us now than possibly an April 2014 visit. Then they ‘could picture us for the next six months, rather than see what we were talking about all this time just as we planned to leave’.

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So time moved swiftly and we all bubbled in excitement as their anticipated arrival grew closer. That is, until for me, I began to get anxious and worried that they liked it, or that the weather was good, or that the kids colds cleared up etc…
It’s funny how no matter how happy you are somewhere, a visit from mum and dad can get the nerves flowing. I confided this of course with Christos and also our good friends here, Nicky, Dara and Val…
It was a relief to hear that these ups and downs in emotions upon planned visits from parents appear quite normal; still experienced by these gals after more than a decade or two. ‘And wait til they go, then you grieve for weeks too’.
Well, nerves aside the thoughts flow through ones head; I don’t need my parents approval I’m loving this, are the kids really okay or am I blind to some glaringly obvious signs?

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And you know what, after the worry and hope for good weather, worry about passing on a cold, etc…. We all had the very best of times. Our kids glowed in mum and dad’s company. The big kids in particular didn’t stop talking, we just enjoyed. The weather was awesome, they came to see all the kids activities; from soccer to swimming, athletics, to Kiki’s girls guides fashion parade. We had fabulous meals at home, and out… We had coffees and shop wanders, great hotels on our trip to the other end of Crete, and here in Agios Nikolaos….

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All in all it was just perfect. And when I sat still meditating in the days leading up to mum and dad’s arrival I knew deep down that I didn’t need to worry, and the kids colds cleared enough when I stopped fussing, and mum bought her own asthmatic cough with her anyway… And in the days since, yes I have been sad at their leaving… It was both too short, but really just perfect for them. Good to go on a high note.
I have been sad; it is hard to explain why; we’ll be back in less than a year. Mum and dad are strong.
Perhaps it is a new phase, perhaps the honeymoon phase of Crete is over and the everyday reality of life around us is starting to show. Winter is definitely harder, no income for many in a tourist town when the tourists go. Not many olives to harvest; the season was unsettled and many trees did not take fruit or are riddled with bugs- a concern for the Greek economy as olive oil from Crete is a huge export. Many people are hungry here. The government has responded by announcing free internet for all- some with humour are suggesting even an Apple computer won’t feed a family for long.

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But days of sunshine are still stunning. The sea is still startlingly still some mornings and ferociously windy on others. My swim is always a pleasure as I dive in and glide through the cool liquid. My skin not always as welcome of the temperature drop as my mind is of the moment of exhilaration I feel.
Parents are precious. I worried about their arrival, I revelled in their presence and now I am grateful, so very grateful for the huge effort they made to visit us in our ‘home’. It was beyond my happiest imaginings. Enjoy the kids stories, I loved watching them evolve. Grandparents are priceless.
Love Mama Miliking

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We went on a big, big walk with Grandma and Pa – along the old fort wall in Chania. We climbed lots and lots of rocks around the lighthouse. It is one of our favourite things ever.

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imagePa wakes up every time really early and waits for us in front of his hotel to drop us off at school. It was fun to walk with Pa. Grandma and Pa picked me up everyday that they were here.

We went to lots of restraunts with them -my favourite one was the first night at a Restraunt called Chrysafillis – I liked the food and I payed the bill and we were playing spying on the adults and the man asked ‘Pos se lene? and I said ‘Me lene Emilio’ that means ‘what’s your name?’ and ‘my name is Emilio’ – and I got to keep the bill. And I liked the cafe called ‘Ano Kato’ cause it had hot chocolates and dessert.

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At our hotel I always walked up the stairs and not the lift because one day in Russia I got stuck in a lift with Kalika. I go one lifts with doors sometimes now but I like going up the stairs cause I always win when I race the lift.

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Right here we are – back to Grandma and Pa – Grandma and Pa have gone back to Australia now. I miss them lots because they left. My Gigga is coming soon.

By Moochie

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On the 19/11/13 my Grandma Jill and Pa Ross came all the way from Melbourne Australia!

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We went to Chania with them and we stayed in a nice hotel with an amazing breakfast, I had 4 sausages, 4 pieces of bacon and 2 sunny side up eggs with 1 or 2 glasses of fresh orange juice (everyday). It was amazing.

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On the second day at about 10 in the morning we walked to the lighthouse – it was very rocky and even my grandma did it – she went only half way but even still it was very rocky.
On the same day at about 11am we went to the Commonwealth War Cemetary near Chania in a place called Souda Bay. All the dead people there were from the Cretan War in WW2 in 1941. Australia, England, Greece and Sth Africa and some other countries were trying to protect Crete against the Germans. If Australia and the other countries didn’t help in the war Greece would’ve been half German. We found about seven people that died on my exact birth day 62 years before I was born. We found a little cross at the front of one of them that had only been delivered ten days before we went one Remembrance Day.

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The youngest person we found was only the age of 16 yrs old. He was a private. The oldest one we found was an Indian or Sth African and he was 62 and he was a donkey man – a donkey man is like a person who collects all the dead or wounded and brings them to the place where they are either buried or treated. He was like the famous donkey man ‘Simpson and his donkey’.


I liked walking around with Pa and him telling me all the levels of the army in war. When he was younger he was in the army. On Anzac day lots of times we go to Somers near Flinders in Victoria, Australia and I march with Pa and he lets me wear one of his medals that he got when he was in the army – I like marching with him at Flinders.
That day we waited for grandma and pa and our friends – Amy and Oliver – Amy is an American from Arkansas and Oliver is from England. They both live in England together now. They came late on the Friday night.

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That night we had a glorious dinner of veal, chicken and pork, chips and salads and various things like that. We always have lots of meat with Grandma and Pa. I even tried to draw a horse during the meal – I gave it to Grandma and Pa and it was a picture of Phar Lap galloping. He’s my favourite horse. For those of you that don’t know what veal is, it is beef that is from a cow that is under two years old before it was killed.
That night after dinner I went out with Yasi, my Pa and mum to a little bar that my grandpa went to the night before. It was funny because we saw a dog there that liked us. When we got there he was lying down on the best seat of the outside part of the restraunt under the heater and my pa asked the waiter if the dog wants us to buy a beer for him. The waiter said ‘no no no he’s not our dog’ and drove him out. It was really funny cause the dog kept being driven out but he would just go to the next entrance and come in and keep teasing the waiter.

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There was also a cat that wasn’t driven out that was sitting on another seat – when we were almost about to leave there was another cat that joined it.
Pa taught us some lessons about drinking beer – he taught us the nose – so whenever he had a beer he got us to smell it and see if we can work out the nose of it. Also the wine as well.
He even got us to pour the beer and make it frothy. We were really good at it.
Next day we were excited about seeing Oliver and Amy and we went up to their room twice and even kicked the door but they wouldn’t wake up – we didn’t see them till after the market.

After that we went to a museum about the Navy and Cretan war and also about ships in Crete even as far back as the Minoans. It was called the Maritime Museum. I really liked it – one of the cool things is they even showed you how they made wooden ships in those days. They used wood cause they only thought wood would float I think.
The way they made these wooden ships is they cut down big trees and cut the branches off then put the logs in water, once they soaked for a bit they took them indoors or something like that and they would be able to bend the wood. So they would get as much wood as possible and tie it together – soon enough you have a wooden ship.

Another fascinating thing was there was even a kind of copy of a drivers place in a ship. It was really weird cause there was telephones everywhere and they showed some kind of telescope video camera. We liked having a muck around in there – there were so many interesting things. There was even a copy of an old Italian bullet.
Pa also told me that the best medals that you can get is the Victorian cross and the royal cross I think.

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It was really good having Grandma and Pa visiting and staying in Chania – we had some really really good lunches and dinners there as well.

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On the way, the best cafe was store 311 in Rethymno. It has the most amazing things like burgers with chips and omelettes and smoked ham sandwiches and when you get a beer sometimes they even give you a little bowl of crisp chips. Having Grandma, Pa, Oliver and Amy over was really really fun and exciting – we even went to an old archeological site that was dug up from under the ground – it was called Knossos palace but that is another story. Goodbye for now. I will tell you about Knossos later.
But Tobes

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Grandma and Pa were very nice and I liked picking them up the airport and I liked going out for dinner with them lots of times.

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We stayed in a hotel with Grandma and Pa in Chania. It was a very beautiful hotel like new and I liked going on the Great Wall near there – just on the other side.

I liked playing on the Great Wall like running up the wall and finding paths on the rocks. The lighthouse was fun.

My favourite dinner was the first night in Agios Nikolaos cause it just was. Oh my favourite thing to eat was the lamb and the calamari and potatoes.

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imageI liked having Grandma and Pa pick me up from school and we always had a treat on the way home. It was also fun when they came to watch me play gymnastiki which is like athletics and my swimming class.

We bought some Xmas things and decorated our house in the morning. It was so much fun.

I miss and I love my Grandma and pa.

By Zoi