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Why do so many houses seem unfinished?

This question addresses two issues: houses that look unfinished and houses that are unfinished and maybe have stood so for a long time.

In the first instance the houses may LOOK unfinished because iron bars stick on top of the roofs.

This is absolutely not to avoid paying property tax (as the legend has it) but to simplify the building of another floor in some distant future.

A house could also BE unfinished because the owners are waiting for finances to continue with the building.

Until a few years ago Greece had a very high inflation rate and it was wise to put any money you had into a house and build as money became available.

Although the inflation is now on par with the rest of Europe it seems that this habit is still surviving.

What are the Instructions for Safe Driving?

While travelling on the National Highway, if you spot a dead or wounded animal please contact emergency telephone 171 (Panafon network subscribers should dial 9-171).

If you are in regions out of Athens please call any of the following numbers: (210) 3235 307, (210) 3235 455, (210) 3235 465, (210) 3235 496, (210) 3235 513,(210) 3236 610, (210) 3236 608, (210) 3237 356.

Thank you for your sensitivity to keep the roads safe.

Have a pleasant trip.

Useful addresses for emergencies

If you are in trouble, do not hesitate to ask the Cretans for help or advice.

Most will be very willing to help: it is part of the still deeply ingrained traditional hospitality.

Emergency phone numbers

Police: 100

Tourist police: 2821073333 in Chania, 2825053450 ; 2825028156 in Rethymnon Fire brigade: 199 Ambulance: 166 (it could be a long wait if you are calling them from out of town)

Elpa: 10104 Elpa is the national car breakdown service, if you are a subscriber to a similar service in another country, you might be covered and wont have to pay any charges on presentation of your membership card.

If you are not sure, give it a try anyway. Many car rental companies have a contract with either Elpa or another rescue service.

Hospitals There are hospitals in the main cities.

Emergency treatment is provided but you might have to provide the details of your health insurance (wherever you are insured).

The hospital will recover their costs directly from them.Hospitals on Crete have a bad reputation because some of them are rather old and crowded.

The medical care, however, is MUCH better than what it is reputed to be.

Most of the doctors will speak one or more foreign languages. The university hospital in Heraklion is a teaching hospital and has an excellent reputation.

A number of smaller localities have health centres for less serious problems.

These are generally manned by a doctor and some nurses.

Doctors There are plenty of good doctors, most have done some of their training abroad and will speak one or more foreign languages fluently.

Most of the doctors are specialists.

The concept of a general practitioner is quite new and there are only very few.

You will need to pay the doctor for a visit (in general it is pretty reasonable) and arrange for a refund through your health insurance by yourself if you are entitled to it.

For some addresses go to doctors First rate dental care at a fraction of the price!

In times where most health insurance will only pay for the most basic dental care, it is worth thinking about having major dental work done here: you will probably save on what you would have spent on dental work in your country and have a holiday thrown in for free.

For some addresses go to dentists Pharmacies There is a surprisingly high number of them in cities. Pharmacies keep normal shop hours Monday to Friday.

They are closed on Saturday.

If you need a chemist on closing days or at night you can see which one is open (there are generally a couple in Chania, Rethymnon and more in Heraklion) in the list displayed in the window of every pharmacy. The list is in Greek however.

The best solution is probably to take a taxi to the nearest one, the taxi driver should know where it is.

An alternative is to find the open pharmacy \"http://www.chania.gr/emergency.jsp?lang=en&what=pharmacy\" (for Chania only).

Consulates and embassies Most are in Athens and the Greek National Tourist Office has a very \"http://www.gnto.gr/1/01/0111/ea0111000.html\" complete list on their site.

There are a few delegations in Heraklion: Germany 2810226288, Austria 2810222213, Switzerland 2810223379, United Kingdom 2810224012, Netherlands 2810346202, Denmark 2810240582.

Germany also has a honorary consulate in Agia Marina near Chania 2821068876 Police Not always that helpful, but there are exceptions.

Language is also often a problem Tourist police If you have any troubles with restaurants, hotels, taxis, get in touch with the tourist police.

Their job is to ensure that standards are maintained and that tourists do not get ripped-off.

It is still a rare thing on Crete but it unfortunately happens

Crete's Tourist TV Channel
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