RE: what's it like now?
I must have made a fleeting visit to Rethymnon around 1988 - maybe a year later. I have been back for slightly longer stays the last 2 years. Although I thought the old town still seemed pretty much the same when I went back, when I looked at my very old snaps, I did see a change: I was surprised how crumbling and decrepit some of the houses looked in my old pics compared to the kind of still-crumbling-but-deliberately-so look they have now. They still look charming but there's definitely been a restoration programme. There are many more upmarket jewellery type shops and even more olive wood, leather, sponges, herbs shops than ever. Fewer craftmens at work though - I remembered visiting craft studios in the past - couldn't find many on my last trip. There are some great places to go to drink and eat - more and more seem to be opening, but I don't recognise any of the names you mention, except there was a sunset taverna I saw below the fortezza, overlooking the sea - it looked nice but we didn't eat there. But knowing Crete those places are still there.
Georgiopolis has totally changed - you'd be amazed if you saw it now. It has got really developed - but it still seemed a pretty place on my last visit and I think it would still be a good base for a holiday out of the height of the season. I've got a very old pic of it on my Crete front page, the kafenion is completely unrecognisable now. Plakias doesn't seem to have changed quite so much - though more rooms/tavernas/supermarkets. I don't really know it well, though but I passed through this year.
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