Τρίτη, 18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018

Greece among top choices for Russian tourists

Russian tourists are fourth in terms of arrivals in Greece

Despite the fact that the diplomatic row between Athens and Moscow went up a notch after the retaliatory expulsion of Greek diplomats by Moscow, the Russian Embassy in Greece “celebrated” the fact that Russian tourists chose Greece as one of their top destinations.

Russian tourists are fourth in terms of arrivals to Greece for 2017 after the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, and third in overnight stays after Germany and the United Kingdom.

It is worth noting that arrivals rose by 13.3% compared to last year, surpassing 5.7 million overnight stays.
(source:proto thema)

Tripadvisor: Acropolis Museum in top 6 Travelers Choice Awards for 2018

The Acropolis Museum was ahead of the Louvre in Paris

Move over, Mona Lisa, The Acropolis Museum in Athens was ranked sixth in TripAdvisor’s annual Travelers Choice Awards for 2018 for museums, just ahead of the famed Louvre in Paris.

Designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi and inaugurated in 2009 with the intention of getting the British Museum to return the stolen Parthenon Marbles – which didn’t happen – the building, says the review, “is as stunning as the treasures it houses,” despite some criticism for its already-aging and greying cement exterior.

The world’s best museum, according to the site, is another in Paris, the Musee d’Orsay, followed by New York’s National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and last year’s number one, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The British Museum in London was fourth and Madrid’s Prado was just ahead of the Acropolis Museum, a glass facade that faces the Acropolis and whose top floor holds space intended for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

After the Louvre, coming eighth was the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, followed by the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and in tenth was the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

read more at thenationalherald.com

Mediterranean Cooking: Watermelon spoon sweet

 By: Simoni Kafiri | | Desserts, Greek Classics, Mediterranean Cooking

Greeks make spoon sweets and offer them to guests as a symbol of hospitality along with a glass of cold water.
 What a sweet way to say “Welcome”!
Serves: for 2-3 medium jars Prep. time: 30′ + 20 hours waiting time Cooks in: 60′ Ready in: 1:30′

1 kg watermelon
1 kg sugar
500 g honey
2 cups water for the pot
2 geranium leaves
3 lemons, juiced + 2 tbsp juice for the pot

Step 1
Peel the rind and discard the outer green part. You only want the white part with a little flesh on it. Put flesh in a bowl and cover with water and lemon juice. Set aside for 2 hours.

Step 2
Drain in a colander and pat dry on a clean tea towel. Boil the water with sugar in a pot for 5-6 mins. Add watermelon and cook for 15 mins. Remove pan from heat and set aside for 18 hours.

Step 3
Next, add honey and simmer until syrup thickens, removing foam with a slotted spoon if necessary. 2 minutes before removing pan from heat add 2 tbsp lemon juice and geranium leaves.

Step 4
Remove pan from heat and allow spoon sweet to cool a little. Pour or ladle watermelon and syrup in warm, clean, sterilized jars. Fully-fill jars and seal straight away.

Photo George Drakopoulos Food styling Tina Webb

Greece no.1 in the 2018 “The Word’s Top 100”: CNT Awards

It also picked up the 1st spot in Best/Favourite Island category

Greece picked up a couple of first prizes in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller 21st Annual Reader’s Awards, which was held in London.

More specifically, Greece was awarded the top spot in the category “Best/Favourite Island”, while it was also awarded the 1st prize in the best category of the night “The Word’s Top 100”, where it received the readers’ overwhelming majority of votes (95.63%).

Greece also received the 2nd spot in the category Best/Favourite Countries.

(source: proto thema)

Σάββατο, 18 Αυγούστου 2018

Moni Preveli - the monastery of Preveli

Preveli is located on the South coast of Crete roughly at the same longitude as the city of Rethymnon. 

If you come from the North you will follow the road to Spili and branch off around 20 km from Rethymnon following a sign to Plakias and Preveli. 

Heading South you pass through the Kourtaliotiko gorge , a short but impressive gorge through which flows the river Kourtaliotis which is then joined by other streams to form the Megapotamos (literally the big river) which flows towards the sea through the palm forest of Preveli
This is one of the few rivers in Crete that flows all year around.

After the village of Asomatos turn left then 1.5km later left again. You will soon arrive at an impressive Turkish style bridge crossing the Megapotamos. It was built in 1850 for the monks of Preveli.

After the bridge the road ascends again and skirts around the ruined monastery of Kato Preveli. 
 Unfortunately it is fenced off and you cannot visit it but you can have a good view from the road.

The road keeps ascending and turns to the West (leaving a short branch heading South to Preveli beach and the palm forest). 
It passes a recent monument commemorating the resistance of the monks of Preveli to the German invaders in World War II and their help in evacuating Alllied soldiers to Egypt.

Another bend in the road lets Moni Preveli appear. The monastery is a famous place for visitors so it may be busy at times. In the summer it is open daily from 8.00 to 13.30 and 16.00 to 19.00 (bear in mind that these times could change).

The Museum 
A substantial number of icons is kept in the Monastery of Preveli. The icons compose interesting themes, covering a period from the first half of the 17th to the end of 19th century approximately, an era that the good tradition of Crete has been interrupted by the Turkish conquest.

The painters continue the tradition of the late Cretan school of painting, turning equally into account the austere orthodox tendency as well as the copper painting of the masters of the first half of 17th century in Rethymno and Chania, influenced by the western ones, mainly the Flemish.

The choices made in the selection of the various themes of the icons, indicates a good level of culture of the monks - who purchased these at the end of 19th century, considering the distance from the urban centers and the isolation of the area.
 (source: west-crete)

Κυριακή, 12 Αυγούστου 2018

Plakias Village, South Crete

Plakias Village, on the south coast - directly south of Rethymno about 30 km south of Rethimno small town. It is part of the municipal unit Foinikas. 

A big crescent bay holding a fine beach between two immense wind tunnels, the gorges fo Selia and Kourtaliiotiko.

This is quite a busy tourist destination, but has a unique feel, which appeals to some who normally choose to stay in smaller, quieter places. Beautiful surrounding countryside, fine walks and gorges. 

Plakias is surrounded by mountains to the north and the Libyan Sea to the south. The name in Greek means "flat" but the approach and coastline are quite mountainous and dramatic.

Small hotels and many beachfront restaurants & cafes. The large crescent bay of sandy beach and the harbour provide a varied and yet not too busy destination.

Frangokastello and Sfakia is a pleasant twisting and scenic short drive. Above Plakias, Myrthios, affords gorgeous views of the bay, coastline and sea.

The gorges of Prevelli (and the monastery), Kourtaliotis and Kotsifos are easily visited.In addition visit the mountain village of Spili, Preveli Monastery and Preveli beach and the wonderful villages in the hills on the road to Sfakia.

The name in Greek means "flat", because the town stands on an alluvial fan of material that has washed down the Kotsifou gorge directly to the north.

This material has formed along the sea's edge into a long, fine, gold-hued sand beach, which shelves very gradually out into the bay, making it quite safe for swimming and hence, for family holidays.

The history 

Initially just a fishing jetty and a few houses, Plakias developed during the last few decades into a tourist resort. The first official mention of Plakias was in 1961, when it was recorded in a census as the permanent home of six fishermen.

The recorded history of surrounding mountain villages like Myrthios and Sellia goes back to the 10th century, when the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas (961 AD) built roads and bridges in order to link those villages, and there are some fragments of wall remaining from a fortified area on a hill top just northeast of the present main town .

The local area is geographically suitable for a settlement, having plenty of agricultural space, and there may well have been a settlement there since Minoan times .

How to get there 

In summer there are six buses a day from Rethymno (€3.50, one hour). Have a look at Buses timetable.  Some of these buses go via Preveli Monastery. The Plakias bus stop is on the seafront taxi rank .

It’s possible to get to Agia Galini from Plakias by catching a Rethymno bus to the Koxare junction (referred to as Bale on timetables) and waiting for a bus to Agia Galini. The bus stop has a timetable. Or we recommend that you should rent a car in order to discover better the area.

Parking along the main town road is difficult in high season, but visitors should note that there is a large, free parking area just east of the main town .

There are plenty of places to eat along the sea front with the biggest cluster of tavernas at the west end.

What to see & do 

Beaches. Plakias has a 1300 metre long sandy beach and there are several other beaches within walking distance (Souda, Damnoni, Ammoudi and Skiinaria). The south-eastern end of the beach, near the Kakomouri headland, is used by nudists.

Damnoni beach is worth visit out of high season, despite being dominated by the giant Hapimag tourist complex.

To the weast is Souda, a quiet beach with a couple of tavernas and further west is the Polyrizos-Koraka beach.

And of course the well-known palm-studded beach of Preverli whiich gets very busy in Summer, therefore the remote and peaceful Agia Fotini, Ligres, Triopetra, and Agios Pavlos are perfect for stress-free escapes surrounded by photogenic splendour and popular with yoga and meditation groups. An area where there is no  megaresort to distort the idyllic ambience, just a few lone tavernas with modest rooms.
 Strong summer winds are common on these beaches. 

To the east (8 km) is the historic Monastery of Preveli, which may have been founded as early as the 10th century CE. Due to its isolated position, it has played an important role in Cretan revolts against occupying forces such as the Nazis in World War II. 

Hiking. There are plenty of walks locally, and bolder walkers will enjoy the high green country beyond the coastal mountain range north of town . Mountain biking and cycle touring are other local attractions. There are well-worn walking paths to the scenic village of Selia, Moni Finika, Lefkogia and a lovely walk along the Kourtaliotiko Gorge to Moni Preveli. An easy 30-minute uphill path to Myrthios Village begins just before the youth hostel.

Diving. Several diving operators run shore and boat dives to nearby rocky bays, caves and canyons, as well as all manner of courses. 

Birdwatching. Lots of bird species, migratory and other, build their nests and lay their eggs near the coast. On Nature’s path to the north of Plakias, both Kotsifos and Kourtaliotis gorges shelter rare and endangered species like the “Royal Eagle” or “Eleonora’s Falcon”.

Nature lovers. The herbs in the area are worldwide known for their variety and their healing power. Plants like the Cretan Tulip, the Cretan Saffron and many more are part of a unique ecosystem in this area. 

Villages. Visit the small postcard-pretty villages draped across the hillside above Plakias, one of them is Mirthios with a couple of excellent tavernas, both with bay-view terraces.
(source: crete travel)

Πέμπτη, 9 Αυγούστου 2018

New Review on Tripadvisor: "Perfect Holiday"

"Plakias Suites is perfect place for quite, relaxing holidays. 

It was our 3rd visit and again was absolutely without any problems. 

We can recommend to all of you, who would like to enjoy beautiful sandy beach, fantastic service of Eleni and Gorge and very nice apartments. 

Apartments are very well maintained, clean, spacious and we absolutely love our terrace. 

Big advantage is also possibility to use free of charge beach umbrellas. 

Suites are just short walk from the centre, where you can find a lot of tavernas, shops etc….definitely will come back again!"
Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
See here: TripAdvisor
 Plakiassuites: Ranked #1 of 51 Speciality Lodging in Plakias, Retyhymno - Crete!
  109 Reviews Certificate of Excellence