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Places to visit

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:42 pm
by louisejersey
I have a relative visiting in a few weeks who is very interested in the Invasion, and Crete's war history in general.
I know that most of the important things happened in the West, and that Souda Bay is well known for the history.
We have promised that we will bring him West (from Elounda, where they are staying), on a day trip to see some History
I am guessing that we will have about 4 hours in the area, and wondered if any of you could suggest the best places to go so that he can get the most from this trip.
Thanks in advance. Louise

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:54 pm
by Jean
Assuming that you are talking about WWII in 4 hours you can just about go to the Allied War Cemetery in Souda, the German cemetery above Maleme (where you can see the airport), pass though the square at Galatas. On your way (from or back to Elounda) make a detour to visit Imbros and have a quick look at the gorge from the road.
There is also a small war museum in Askyfou but not sure that you'd have the time.

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:02 pm
by footscapes
Preveli is well worth a visit on the south coast, but you'll be stretched to do it in your 4 hours. Almost directly due south of Rethymno, it would take about 50 - 60 minutes drive from the national road.

Site of beach evacuations, the monastery has a nice little museum and there is a spectacular memorial high above the coast.

Paul

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:39 am
by peebee
Jean wrote:On your way (from or back to Elounda) make a detour to visit Imbros and have a quick look at the gorge from the road.
There is also a small war museum in Askyfou but not sure that you'd have the time.

Well that would be over a 1 hour detour off the route to/ from Elounda, and that's without a stop to see anything.
The museum can be a hit or miss visit as I don't think it is always open but there is contact info here http://www.warmuseumaskifou.com/E_index.html.
If you did want to visit the area, you might want to consider an over night stop here https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/lefkoritis-resort.en-gb.html?aid=357006;label=gog235jc-hotel-XX-gr-lefkoritisNresort-unspec-gr-com-L%3Aen-O%3AwindowsS10-B%3Achrome-N%3AXX-S%3Abo-U%3AXX-H%3As;sid=782be8669966bb40bf6a2d7fe2279a26;dist=0&sb_price_type=total&type=total&

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:09 am
by bobscott
peebee wrote:
Jean wrote:On your way (from or back to Elounda) make a detour to visit Imbros and have a quick look at the gorge from the road.
There is also a small war museum in Askyfou but not sure that you'd have the time.

Well that would be over a 1 hour detour off the route to/ from Elounda, and that's without a stop to see anything.
The museum can be a hit or miss visit as I don't think it is always open but there is contact info here http://www.warmuseumaskifou.com/E_index.html.
If you did want to visit the area, you might want to consider an over night stop here https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/lefkoritis-resort.en-gb.html?aid=357006;label=gog235jc-hotel-XX-gr-lefkoritisNresort-unspec-gr-com-L%3Aen-O%3AwindowsS10-B%3Achrome-N%3AXX-S%3Abo-U%3AXX-H%3As;sid=782be8669966bb40bf6a2d7fe2279a26;dist=0&sb_price_type=total&type=total&


If the relative is 'very interested in the invasion' a 4-hour visit wouldn't be enough to do justice to what is available. Overnight as suggested above would be a good idea - a couple of nights even better. Souda, Maleme, Galatas, Imbros Gorge (especially if you walk it) , Sfakia, Preveli; all have a story to tell. Bob.

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:57 pm
by Maud
I would do Hania as one excursion, but there is another one much closer to you that I would also make time for.

I assume your relative will be familiar with the burning of the villages of the Amari Valley? Each village has a monument to those who were massacred. A good trip for your guests to do would be to drive through the Amari Valley from the north coast, then head east towards Ano Viannos. Just before you get to the village of Amiras (after Viannos), you will see the tiny church with all the 'brass candles' to the dead inside. Here you will also find the statues to the dead and all the plaques and information. The location is easy to miss, and if you get as far as Amiras travelling west to east you have gone too far.

You could then drive back north from Irapetra, - making the trip a circular tour.

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:39 pm
by moved 2 crete
A good start point is the Maleme area where it all kicked off, the air field that was the area that Germans wished to have as an air base from which they then could begin the domination of the whole of Crete as you pass along the coast road from Gerani nearing the military base at Tavronitis on your right is the runway for the airport as was, and then following on towards Tavronitis swinging right on the main road you will see the old bridge where the old main road was into Tavronitise, as the German paratroopers came down they were met with an onslaught of the locals armed with pitch forks and all manner of tools and old guns and the slaughter began that repulsed the first attempt, if you than go left up into the mountain area and stop at some of the small tavernas and kafenions and talk to some of the old men and their descendants they will tell of the awful atrocities that took place in their villages at the beginning of the invasion and throughout the rest of the occupation, then using your map follow the road to Therisso and the gorge, at the village the home place of Venizelos and his mothers village he was the maker of modern Greece, you will find the war museum and as well see the big guns used in WW11 good luck with your search, the cemetery in Souda was given by the Greeks but the cemetery at Maleme was not, it was land bought by the German Government for their dead fighters, you can make what you want of that ...

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:36 am
by Mixos
Many years ago we visited the German War Cemetery at Maleme and as we walked round we passed an old man standing by one of the graves. He turned and spoke to us in German so I had to apologise in English for not understanding what he was saying. "Oh, you are English," he said, grasping my hand. "Thank you for coming." I found it quite emotional and I often wondered if the old boy was visiting a friend. The German cemetery is quite different to the Allied cemetery at Souda Bay, with its row upon row of white stones overlooking the water. In Maleme, the grave stones lie flat with the cemetery on a hill with a slight incline facing (if my memory serves me right) north towards the old airfield and parachute drop zone.

I recommend Alan Clark's book "The Fall of Crete," published in the 60s and "The Cretan Runner" by Georgos Psychoundakis, as two first class examples of the many books written about the war in Crete, for a better understanding of what happened and why. And I agree with others that you can't cram in too much in one visit. The Chania area is a long old drive from Elounda, Louise, especially in the summer, so you'd be better off making it a two-day trip with a night away in the middle (if you can find accommodation.) Maud's circular tour suggestion closer to Elounda is a good one as well. Jean mentions the little museum at Askyfou. If it's the one I'm thinking of (in the mountains towards Omalos?) the old man there had an extraordinary collection of guns, munitions, tin helmets etc. He also took a bit of a shine to my wife and refused to let us leave until we'd consumed far too much of his raki.

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:00 pm
by Kilkis
Mixos wrote:...Jean mentions the little museum at Askyfou. If it's the one I'm thinking of (in the mountains towards Omalos?) ...


Askyfou is on the road from Vryses to Chora Sfakion, Mixos, about half way between the two.

Warwick

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:23 pm
by Maud
The original 'war museum' in Askyfou was run by an elderly chap over 40 years ago Mixos. I doubt if he is still going, but one never knows with these old Cretans!

Some years later another neighbour opened one. - World War Three nearly broke out! I have never visited the second one, and it has been about 18 since I went back to the original place. - The old chap was still there then.....with his elderly wife still dispensing hard boiled fruit sweets, and replenishing the raki bottle, - whilst her husband continued to fill the raki glasses!

I am not sure you will get there on a day trip to Chania Louise, (it is way off your route), but do stop and check the museum is open if you go in that direction.

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:12 pm
by filippos
Maud wrote:The original 'war museum' in Askyfou was run by an elderly chap over 40 years ago Mixos. I doubt if he is still going, but one never knows with these old Cretans!

I was at the museum almost exactly two years ago and was being operated by, I believe, the old man's son and his granddaughter (the old man's not the son's). As far as the girl was concerned I think it was her summer holiday job but, of course, she was immensely knowledgeable about the displayed objects and the history of the period from which they dated. Her father was garrulously enthusiastic and we spent a bit longer there than we'd planned.

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:39 pm
by Maud
Thanks for the up-date Filippos. I am glad to hear the place is still going! I have got some good photos of us there over the years .....but not as good as the ones you have just added to the other thread! - Thank you again for your excellent 'study' of Crete and all things Cretan!

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:03 am
by Peter W
Mixos recommended reading for those interested in the WW2 invasion of Crete and the period of the German occupation is excellent, Anthony Beevor providing detail and critical analysis of the invasion and the allied resistance whilst the brilliant 'Cretan Runner' by George Psychoundakis provides a rare Cretan perspective of the events of that period. Ironically George Psychoundakis spent the last years of his working life as caretaker at the German war cemetery at Maleme. There is plenty of other reading on the subject and although I am no great admirer of Patrick Leigh Fermor's wartime activities on Crete his posthumously published 'Abducting a General: the Kreipe operation' provides an insight into the SOE operation on the island.

Peter

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:52 am
by louisejersey
Thank You everyone for your contributions. A wealth of information for me to look through. Cheers.

Re: Places to visit

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:37 am
by Maud
I actually had a signed copy of George Psychoundakis's book The Cretan Runner. I bought it in the days when he was still working at the cemetery. We visited with a friend who was a Commander in the Greek navy and knew George, so I took the book with me and obtained his signature. Sadly I loaned the book to someone in the U.K. and it was never returned! When I asked them about it they couldn't find it any longer.....and thought it had been donated to a jumble sale! I have another copy now.....but it will never be the same!

Some other good reading. - Crete 1942 The Battle at Sea by David A Thomas.
The Villa Ariadne by Dilys Powell. iSBN 969 226 044

And for the walkers amongst you...Challenging Crete by Claude Pasquini. ISBN 960 226 449 6