i spent a year in rethymnon in 1987/1988. i taught english at the paragioudakis frontisterion and stayed in a rent room in the old part of the city. my reminiscinces are that although the place was lovely, the winter was pretty grim (wet & windy - just like my native brighton). i used to spend most of my time with the other ex-pats at the why not? bar, sunshine bar, sunset bar (round the city wall), and tasos restaurant on the front, stelios restaurant near the town hall, together with the occasional visit to plakias and georgiopolis. are any of these places still going? i loved it in the summer, and also the students i taught.
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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