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April 05, 2006

We have the keys

KeysWe met our landlord at our new apartment today as arranged, and are now the proud possessors of a new set of keys. And perhaps psychologically more importantly, we are the owners of an address for the first time since December 16th. Not that we actually know what it is yet.

Our trip didn't start without a hitch. We were just going down the stairs when, mindful of me leaving the house without my passport this morning, Claire asked "You do have the bus tickets, don't you?". Earlier in the day we had bought two bus tickets to use for our return journey from the apartment. Needless to say, I didn't have them on me, so returned to the flat. It was then that I discovered, thanks to the water gushing out of my bag, that I hadn't shut the water bottle properly. Pleasing.

When we did get started we didn't take a direct route to the apartment as we were looking for an electrical shop that had been recommended to us. In the end it took forty minutes to walk from central Hania to our new home. I think with a more direct route and less looking in shop windows we could shave at least ten minutes off that time.

We'd arrived about an hour before we were due at the flat, so we decided to explore our local area. There is a large supermarket just across the way from us, plus a bakery and another mini-market nearby. Oh, and a place selling pizza ovens and Captain Hook's Fishing supplies, which I suspect will be of less regular use.

UsonourbeachWe decided to walk down the main road a bit further out, and perhaps look for somewhere we could stop for a drink. There was a sign pointing to a taverna, so we took a side-turn down towards the sea. Having walked by some tethered goats, some holiday apartments, and a bit of scrubland we found ourselves on a lovely beach that was only five minutes walk from our new house. Nobody had thought to mention that when they described the property to us - we were overjoyed. It isn't the world's best beach, but it has a little cafe there, so we bought some beer and sat down under an umbrella to watch the waves roll in and the children playing in the sand.

It wasn't long before we were interrupted by a whole series of stray local dogs, and a couple of not-so-stray ones. There was a beautiful dog that looked a bit like a husky or a wolf, and he had odd eyes - one was a brilliant blue that was almost white, the other a deep brown. There was also a cute little brown dog with the cheekiest face who kept leaping up into our laps. I'm sure Claire will have adopted a local dog within days of us settling in!

We got back to the apartment for five and met our landlord - he then said "You must meet my wife", and it was only then we realised that they live above our flat. They made us feel very welcome with coffee and biscuits, and seemed very sweet and willing to help us settle in. It is a bit daunting - in the UK when you set home you know what you need to do and where to go. Here we don't know who the electricity company is, what local taxes we have to pay, and so forth. Claire said it felt very strange, having spent four months being very independent as travellers, to now suddenly find ourselves being very dependent on complete strangers.

The apartment seemed even better second time around, as this time we could take in the views from the balcony, and plan a bit more coherently where we would put things. We measured up for the cooker, fridge and washing machine, and decided which room we would sleep in. We also got a chance to go up to the roof of the building where there is a terrace with spectacular views - on one side the sea, on the other the mountains. We move in on Monday - that seems far too far away. There are some pictures of the apartment over on Flickr.

We caught the bus back to Hania, watched Smallville, and then treated ourselves to a celebratory dinner out at restaurant Konaki.

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