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Living in Crete

Daniel Watson, aged 38 and his wife Sophie, 35 moved to the western side of Crete near to the city of Chania in 2003, ‘we moved from Sunderland because my wife was a mobile hairdresser and wanted a change in career and scenery,’ Daniel explains, ‘we heard on the television so many reports about Crete so we came on holiday here for a month fell in love and as soon as we got home we put the house on the market.’ Daniel and Sophie fell in love with their town for several reasons, ‘we love to walk and with the mountains and the Samaria Gorge and the lovely stretch along the Libyan Sea it is ideal’ says Sophie.


Daniel explains how they came up with Crete from the gamut of Greek Islands available, ‘another reason we choose Crete was because it is probably one of the most popular areas for expats and we didn’t want to be completely disconnected from Britain, it is always nice to have British company.’

Daniel and Sophie spend their days together running an English bakery ‘we home bake the English cakes and biscuits everyone misses.’ This is a complete change from hairdressing, Sophie recalls, ‘I always loved to bake, but when we lived in England I was working all the hours under the sun and by the time I finished work or at the weekend I was just too tired to even turn the oven on. Now I get to do my hobby as a job and spend time with Daniel. In England this wasn’t even a possibility as we both worked so hard.’ Daniel worked as an assistant baker in a large bakery in England and he always wanted to run his own business, but in the UK it was too expensive an option. In their spare time the Watsons enjoy walking, shopping, listening to Cretan folk music, eating out and spending quality time.

The village in which Daniel and Sophie live is quite big and very picturesque Sophie says, ‘it has a local supermarket called Lidl (yes that Lidl from back home), bars and a town hall where all local meetings and festivals take place, the village has a real community feel. Most of the surrounding villages have all year round services like ours, but the whole area is much quieter during the winter. With our business we rely on the local expat trade, which keeps us going. We are not here to make a fortune just to enjoy our time and keep in contact with the community.’


Living in Crete is a lot cheaper than living in the UK, Daniel explains, ‘we run a small car Fiat Punto and it doesn’t cost any more than twenty Euros a week and we are always running to the supermarket our food bills are also a lot cheaper because we tend to eat a lot of fresh local food.’ There are few things the couple miss about the UK Sophie says, ‘we obviously miss our family and friends but in materials there isn’t much, at first we missed English TV but we sorted that one out! There is a company here who specialise in English TV and they can get a satellite dish and receiver set up for a one off fee giving you a lot of free satellite channels, which show a lot of American films and series dramas. We have an internet connection, which we use to keep in regular contact with our friends and family.’

Property in Crete is also cheaper than the UK; an apartment is around 43,500 Euros but a luxury villa can cost around 703,500 Euros. Sophie describes their Cretan pad, ‘we decided to go for a small bungalow with two bedrooms, which would give us enough room to put people up in the summer. We didn’t need a palace. The bedrooms are medium sized and ours has an ensuite. The second bathroom is on the ground floor. The kitchen is a large size, which is perfect for the bakery. The garden is fairly large but manageable. The property only cost us 97,995 Euros. The  bungalow is situated 10 minutes from the local supermarket, cafes and restaurants, this is ideal as we are always running in and out of the town buying extra supplies for the bakery. We had a bungalow in Sunderland but it cost us nearly double in price, plus the garden was tiny because we never had any time to work on it.’

Sophie looks to the future with optimism, ‘anything can happen in the future but we know we are very happy here in Crete and have no plans at the moment to return to the UK. We have a new and different life and the only way it could improve is if my parents came out here and to be honest this is something that is becoming a strong possibility.’