Sunday, January 20, 2008


Dear Friends,

When I had originally inquired about an apartment on Crete, I was directed to an older couple who used to rent apartments to American airmen stationed on Crete. This couple had an apartment in downtown Iraklion, which is exactly where I wanted to stay for my intended six month visit to Crete. I mailed them a letter on October 10, 2007, inquiring about the possibility of renting their apartment in Iraklion. When I had not received any response from them by the middle of December, I decided that I would need to make other arrangements for my accommodations on Crete. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate another apartment in downtown Iraklion, but I was able to secure an apartment in the small seaside village of Amoudara, which is located about six kilometers to the west of Iraklion. However, after the debacle over my attempt to obtain a visa for six months from the Greek government, I had to contact my landlord on Crete to see if he would be kind and gracious enough to change my reservations from a six month stay to a three month stay. Yesterday, January 19, I received an E-mail from my landlord, Mr. Mavrakis, who informed me that my apartment reservations had been changed to accommodate my three month stay on Crete. I have to say that I was just a little more than relieved! Wouldn't I have been in a terrible fix if I had landed on Crete with no place to stay? I don't know about you, but somehow I don't think that I want to be homeless on the streets of Crete....or anywhere else for that matter! LOL.

Anyway, who was it that said, "All's well that ends well"? Shakespeare?

I will continue to keep you abreast of my epic quest to return to there a movie in here somewhere?

Take care, stay well, and let me hear from you.

Your Friend and Fellow "Silent Warrior",

Bob (Midget, Bobby)


Entry for January 16, 2008

Dear Friends,

Well, here it is the middle of January 2008. I had just got accustomed to writing 2007 on my checks....and they had to up and change the year! Darn!

A lot has changed since my last entry on September 30, 2007. As many of you know, I was planning a six month trip to Crete...I had intended to leave the USA on March 31, 2008 and return to the USA on September 30, 2008. However, in order to stay in Greece for more than three months, one must first obtain a national visa from the Greek government. After contacting the Greek Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, I was advised by them that I would have to fill out the "official" application for a visa, provide evidence that I was in possession of a valid U.S. Passport, pay a visa processing fee, provide one color photo (passport size), provide documentation that I had sufficient health insurance coverage up to $50,000, get a physical examination and a notarized statement from my physician that I had no communicable diseases, provide a police background check conducted by the FBI indicating that I had no past criminal record, proof that I had a place to stay for the duration of my six month visit, copies of my bank statements for the most recent three months, a copy of my most recent W-2 form, proof that I had at least $2,000 a month income, and then bring all of that documentation and and present it personally before the Greek Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia to apply for the visa. I jumped through every hoop that was placed before me, dotted every "I", and crossed every "T". Then, just last week, when I was talking with a representative from the Greek Consulate in Atlanta, I was told that I would need to obtain a "visa number". When I inquired as how to obtain this "visa number", I was informed that I would need to travel to Greece to the perfecture (region) in which I would be staying, apply for the visa number there, then, return to the USA and present the "visa number" along with all other documentation before the Greek Consulate in Atlanta, and pay a visa fee in the approximate amount of $800! &*@%$#^&$!!! It seems that the only thing the Greek Consulate did not demand, was the scalp of my firstborn child! My friends, if you intend to return to Greece, please, do not plan to stay for more than three months...if you do, you will be confronted with the biggest bureaucratic nightmare that you could ever imagine!

As a result, I have had to alter my plans. I will not be staying for the intended six months; instead, I will be staying for three months. I have had to exchange my airline tickets and pay a penalty fee of $200, plus the difference between the price of tickets when I bought them and the price of the tickets now, plus a processing fee of $30, and an Express Mail fee of $25. I also had to contact my landlord on Crete to arrange for my reservations to be changed from April 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008, to May 1, 2008 through July 31, 2008. I am still awaiting confirmation from my landlord that my reservations have been changed.


Well, that is enough for tonight. I apologize if it sounds as if I have vented my anger and frustration in this forum....but who else could I possibly turn to....but my friends with whom I spent so much time on Crete?

In the future I will try to be more diligent about posting timely updates to my blog.

Your Friend and Fellow "Silent Warrior",

Bob (a.k.a. Midget, Bobby)


Entry for September 30, 2007

Dear Friends,

The date is September 30, 2007. I am making preparations for my trip to the Greek Island of Crete. I hope to depart the USA on March 31, 2008 and return September 30, 2008 - yes, I know...6 months! Before you can possibly understand what would possess a middle-aged man to travel to Crete for six months, I must first tell you a little about myself. As a young man in the U.S. Air Force, I was stationed with the 6931st. Security Group at Iraklion Air Station on Crete from December 10, 1968 until August 9, 1971. I was assigned to Charlie Flight. During that time something rather amazing happened to me...I fell in love. Yes, I know it's hard to believe that Bob (Midget) Armistead fell in love, but I did...but not like you think. I fell in love with a place, a people, their history, their culture, their customs, their language and their food. And ever since I left Crete on that hot August morning in 1971, I have had a desire to return. I now find myself in a position to fulfill that desire.

I am currently in the process of negotiating for an apartment in downtown Iraklion. I really don't care how small it is or how sparsely it might be furnished. The only real requirement is that it MUST have air-conditioning. If the apartment that I am trying to rent does not have air-conditioning, then I shall have no recourse but to seek another apartment. Fortunately, I do have a couple of other apartments that I have an option to rent - and they DO have air-conditioning, but they are a little ways outside of Iraklion. While I am there, it is my intent to purchase a bicycle to get around town, go to the local tavernas, go to the ancient Greek ruins, go to the tavernas, go to the market, go to the tavernas, go out to eat, go to the tavernas...well, you get the picture. Hmmm, I wonder if I could be charged with DUI while pedaling a bicycle? Maybe I can find someone to be the designated pedaler. Anyway, when I leave Crete in late September of 2008, I will seek out a child who lives in the not-so-well part of Iraklion and give the bicycle to him or her. I just hope that by that time it is not too banged up from my frequent trips to the tavernas. Ha. Ha. When I travel to other cities or villages on Crete, I will travel by their local bus system. I might also add that, while I will have my apartment for six months on Crete, I will not remain on Crete for the entire six months. I also intend to travel to Rhodes, Santorini, Samos, Mykonos, Spetses and perhaps additional islands as well.

I will also take my laptop computer with me as well as my digital camera. So, if I can find an Internet cafe or the equivalent, I should have no difficulty posting additional entries and photos. If you should find either my entries or my photos boring, then please go to E-Bay where you can bid on my dented-up bicycle - that ought to inject some excitement into your life! Ha. Ha.'s late and I'm getting a little squirrely, so I'll call it a night.

Your Friend and Fellow "Silent Warrior",

Bob (a.k.a. Bobby, Midget, Bicycle-Boy)

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