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Greece > Expat Experiences

Greece

Malcolm and Pauline Parkes, Drapanos - Crete

Published Wednesday July 04, 2012 (19:29:39)
Malcolm and  Pauline Parkes
Malcolm and Pauline Parkes

My name is Malcolm Parkes and my wife is Pauline and we used to live in Dudley, in the West Midlands. Or as Lenny Henry would say “Dudlay” as he comes from there as well. I worked for Dudley council for 32 years, first as a decorator then as an asbestos removal operative and my wife worked as a cleaning supervisor for 20 years.

I retired aged 60 as if you are a member of the pension scheme and you have paid contributions for more than 5 years you can retire on a pension any time aged 60 or over my wife had to retire prematurely as she had to have a hip replacement operation. It was always our dream to live out our twilight years in the sun, and when my wife’s mother died we put her house and ours up for sale and we bought a little 2 bed roomed bungalow up the mountain in Drapanos and we moved to Crete in May 2011.

Although our bungalow is a lot smaller than our previous house in the UK we deliberately downsized so my wife does all the house work in half an hour and I cook all our meals.

We did not face any major challenges in our move to Crete as I’d researched all the pros and cons before moving. I searched lots of estate agents sites and chose one in Kalyves called Alpha Omega. I contacted them by e-mail when I was in the UK and we then came on an all in inclusive holiday but with no intention of returning to the UK. I arranged for Helen, from the estate agents to be pick us up at or hotel to view the property we had chosen and the property we wished to rent, until the purchase was completed.

I would like to say Helen was very efficient and professional in arranging everything. We then paid 60 euros for the power of attorney and because we paid cash we owned our new home in four weeks and we did not even have to sign for the deeds. We received the deeds through the post here.

There are many expats in Drapanos they out number the natives but some property owners live here while some use the properties as holiday homes and some just rent out for holiday lets. Our relationship with the locals is on a cordial basis as we do not speak Greek, but they tolerate our ignorance.

Where we live is like paradise we live three quarters of the way up a small mountain and our village has 3 tavernas and one small shop. When we moved here my wife had reservations about being too isolated but now we both love the peace and tranquillity.

The only thing I dislike about living in Crete is the public transport is a joke. There are only 2 buses a day during school term and when the schools are on holidays only one bus a day we also find shopping expensive here as there are only 3 big supermarkets A&B, LIDDL and CARREFOURE so there is no competition as in the UK.

We find we have to do 10-12 shops to complete our shopping where as in the UK 2-3. The Greek sliced bread not only looks and tastes like sawdust it’s not big enough to make a decent sarnie, so we tend to buy frozen imported bread like Kingsmill.

It’s worth noting that white and electrical goods are 25-50 percent more expensive than the UK!

In the restaurants the Greek food on the whole tends to be fresh and tasty but most good restaurants cater for the international diner.

All Brits thinking about moving here stop thinking about it and do it as property here is far cheaper than the UK! When we came we were worried about joining IKA and getting our residency permit and we nearly went back to the UK. However, when we did it we realised how easy it was and we were worrying over nothing. If anyone needs any advice contact me and I’m only too willing to help if I can.

We are living in paradise and we are here until we die.


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