Host report by Jane Tullett
It was great to have so many regular refresher guests join us in Crete that this really felt like a week away with friends. In addition we had 12 new guests to refresher holidays join us, including the Chairman of Arena Travel (was James on his best behaviour? Answers on a postcard!) . We certainly had lots of laughs both in the bridge room and out, plus new friendships formed.
We were staying in the Pearl Beach and Aegean Pearl hotels just outside Rethymnon. Many of the guests regularly explored the old town, enjoying the traditional tavernas, shopping and enjoying the vista from the marina coffee shops. There is so much history, ancient and modern, plus Greek mythology surrounding this island, you cannot fail to find something to interest everyone.
We had two organised excursions to explore further afield. The first trip was a scenic tour taking us through the hills and gorges to the south of the island.
We visited the natural spring water lake at Kournas, waterfalls at Argyroupoli and then on to the Roman mosaic at Lappa, plus we sampled avocado juice and beauty products. The twisting mountain road provided breathtaking scenery on our journey to the monastery at Preveli prior to our lunch stop at the beach village of Plakias. On the homeward journey we drove through the stunning Kourtaliotiko Gorge, and watched the vultures circling overhead.
The second trip had more of a gastronomy theme, with tours of a local olive oil factory and then a family wine producer, who generously let us sample wine, raki and oil, plus provided an insightful tour of Greek life in their small folk museum.
The highlight of this trip was the lunch venue in the village of Kanevos at Illiomanolis taverna, who treated us to a traditional Cretan meal and free flowing wine and raki. We all left with very full tummies and happy faces.
In addition to enjoying the sunshine and beautiful scenery, we improved our bridge play with four interactive teaching seminars that James provided, which included the wriggle, unblocking and special scenarios.
As you can see from all the happy faces below, we all had a fantastic week and are looking forward to the next refreshers holiday.
“The thought of playing with real bridge players as opposed to my small group of beginners was rather daunting as I joined the Refreshers group in Crete. I need not have worried you were all very kind, patient and most noticeably there to enjoy yourselves. I enjoyed it enormously which is down to your good company and the excellent skills of James and Jane in cultivating a true spirit of conviviality. Thank you all and I look forward to joining you on a future holiday.”
– Declan Treanor, Chairman of Arena Travel