Wine tasting at the Manousakis winery
Wine tasting at the Manousakis Winery Vatolakos The Manousakis Winery is the culmination of the dream and passion of founder Theodore Manousakis. Ted, as he is more frequently called, was born in Vatolakkos in 1943, and spent his early childhood years in the village until the age of 11. For reasons much beyond his control and much too complex for a young boy to understand, he left his home to find a better future in the far away “Promised Land”, America. Following his university education in the U.S., he entered business and was successful in a number of business endeavours including industrial security, real estate development, and hotels. Meanwhile, he assimilated in the great melting pot of the world, America, and nearly forgot his native language and Cretan traditions. Yet during the years away from his native village he always yearned to return home and find his roots; if not permanently, certainly more than as a mere visitor. Wine was a way of life in the village for as long as he could remember from his boyhood years. What a way to pay tribute to and honour the Cretan traditions and way of life, he thought. And, what a wonderful and civilized way to bring people together to enjoy the simple joys of life! The combination of nostalgia or “nostos”, as the ancient Greeks made reference, along with the perfect soil, sun, and weather conditions of Crete were the driving forces behind our first vineyards in the foothills above Vatolakkos. For Ted, the Manousakis Winery represents his roots; his yearning to return, his tradition, his heritage, and, above all, his family. Our logo with the three flowers called “Manousakia” in the Cretan dialect, (from which our name is derived), represents his three daughters. It is only fitting that the inspiration of this symbol is a blending of the beauty and exquisite fragrance of nature and the warmth and comfort of family! Ted Manousakis has his permanent home in Washington, D.C., but the winery remains a family-run business. His youngest daughter, Alexandra, moved to Chania in 2007 following studies at New York University, and now manages the Manousakis Winery. - See more at: http://nostoswines.com
Chania harbour Chania is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name and the second biggest town in Crete, with a population of 60.000 inhabitants. Chania is one of the nicest towns of Crete with wonderful houses, parks and squares. The old city has preserved the charm of the Venetian and Turkish periods. Entire Venetian, Turkish and Jewish quarters are saved, with many well preserved buildings in the narrow picturesque streets. On Leather Lane near the harbour selling all kinds and qualities of leather goods and a really interesting indoor covered market Chania Town is worth a visit just for the shopping. The harbour is beautiful with an old mosque providing interesting architecture. Museums from the Naval Museum to the Byzantine Museum there is something for everyone. Restaurants and Taverna`s Surround the harbour and Boats leave from here for 2-3hr trips and you can also catch a horse and buggy. Have a wonder around the back streets, they are mainly pedestrianised and the houses and shops are very Interesting and pretty, with little restaurants and Café`s tucked away in corners - very romantic.
This breath-taking lake is the only one in West Crete, home to some of Crete`s interesting birds and other wildlife and the brilliant aquamarine waters are a wonderful backdrop for a spot of lunch. Afterwards, you can rent pedaloes or a small boat for half an hour and row yourself around the lake, and work up an appetite for supper!
Boat trip to Gramvousa and Balos bay
From May to October, you can take daily cruises from Kissamos port to Gramvousa and Balos (42 km west of Chania), leaving in the morning and returning in the evening.Gramvousa (also called Tigani peninsula) has a castle on top of the island built by the Venetians to protect Crete from a Turkish occupation. It was one of the last unconquered bastions and it was the first area of Crete to be liberated from the Turks in 1825 (Turks were expelled from all the rest of Crete only by 1898). 3000 Cretan rebels were planning operations from Gramvousa.During this period of turmoil, the residents of the island started looting boats passing through, which gained the island its pirate reputation! The Gramvousa/Balos region is a protected biotope. There are 400 different plants on Gramvousa, 26 of them endemic to Crete. The Anthemis glaberrima (a type of daisy), the Allium platakisi (a wild onion) and the Silene litegripetala are found only in this area and are protected species. In the shallow parts of the sea, the Mediterranean plant Posidonia oceanica thrives, providing shelter for marine life. 98 bird species have been reported in the area. 20 of them are protected and 14 of them are threatened species (like the vulture Europe Gypaetusbarbatus). The Mediterranean seal (Monachus Monachus) and the Caretta Caretta turtle find shelter in this area.
Visit Agia Lake
Now called Agia lake it is actually an old reservoir and has walking paths around it and a couple of cafe`s Ornothologists may spot the glossy Ibis, the crane, the white stork and a variety of egrets and herons, as well as warblers and wagtails. For the dedicated bird-spotters; Crete is one of the last strongholds in Europe of the Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture – with a wingspan of almost 3 metres. There are 9 to 10 pairs on the island and they frequent higher altitudes.
The start of the gorge walk at Xsiloskala high on the Omalos plateau is approx 1 hr drive from Carob Tree cottage and Is a superb hike down the gorge to the sea on the South Coast.
Agia Irini Gorge
The start of the gorge is approx 1 hr from the house and the Irini gorge is far less strenuous than its big sister the Samaria gorge. It is about a 3 hour walk with the most amazing scenery and nature.
Boat trip from Platanias harbour
during the summer there are several boat trips around the island of theodori which is the home of the cretan wild goat the kri kri
Discover Scuba Diving
There are many oppurtunities to either try scuba diving for the first time or if you are experienced join a cave or wreck dive.
Greek cooking classes
Want to learn how to make the perfect mousaka? Why not join a half day cooking class
Various trips can be arranged with a very good guide and varying degrees of difficulty. Some the whole family can take part in
Elafonissi Island At the extreme south - west corner of Crete you will find the Elafonissi beach and the tiny islet of the same name. wade acreoss the shallow lagoon to the pink tinged shoreline of this remarkable island which is protected by the natura 2000 organisation. In high summer it does get very busy. Best to go as early as you can to beat the crowds!
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