In 1971 Chris James and two of his friends travelled around Europe in a van as part of their OE. They arrived in Athens with the intention of going to Crete. On the ferry to Crete they met three girls from New Zealand who they agreed to chaperone on their trip around Crete. After landing at Chania they travelled by bus to Paliochora where they all slept on the beach for three nights and enjoyed the generous hospitality of the locals who had a great respect for the efforts of the New Zealanders from World War II. A fisherman took them in his boat to the entrance of the Samaria Gorge. They walked up the Gorge spending a night in a village on the way. The next day they got a bus back to Chania and a ferry back to Athens where they went separate ways. Despite having a very enjoyable time together there was no further contact between the groups.
41 years later, a group from NZ got together to cycle Crete with Ralph and his team. On Day 3, after a splendid morning cycling, they got a ferry from Sfakia to Paliochora. As the ferry was pulling in to Paliochora, Chris mentioned to Helene Hudson that he had been here 41 years previously and had met three kiwi girls on the trip. Helene said that she had been here as well about that time and remembered that they had met up with a group of guys. They quickly established that, in an amazing coincidence, they had met all those years then and had travelled those five days together.
Old friendships were renewed and, despite a gap of 41 years, will now continue.
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