I love going new places. But I’m almost always sad when I have to leave them after such a short time.
Flying to Crete
On Friday, four of my friends and I went to the island of Crete.
Far left is Jordan, then Tori, Jessika, Alec and myself.
We flew from Thessaloniki to Chania. At the airport I was surprised going through security because, while I had to remove my jacket, and my friend had to remove his laptop, no one had to remove their shoes. I also didn’t have to remove my liquids from my bag.
The Adventures of Public Transit
After landing and exiting the airport, we discovered the difficulties of trying to fit five people into one taxi … so instead we proceeded to hop on a bus that we were fairly (only kind of) certain would take us in the direction we needed to go.
The bus was also a new experience. It was a charter bus, but functioned like a city bus by stopping at various bus stops along the way to pick up passengers.
Although I use the term ‘bus stop’ loosely, because as Jordan put it, “That’s not a bus stop, it’s a tree!”
The bus also dropped people off wherever they requested even if it was only a block past where the last person had gotten off. We, however, rode until we reached the bus station.
Getting Our Steps In
After arriving at the station, we decided to walk to the hotel. At the time we believed it was only about two miles. We were very wrong. (When we finally arrived at the hotel, George, the owner, informed us that we’d walked three and a half or more miles.)
“Getting our steps in!” became the theme of the weekend.
To Be or Not to Be Hot?
The first thing a couple of us wanted to do after finally getting into our room was shower … except hot water was only available from 6 PM to 11 PM. So we waited and at 6 PM discovered that there was no hot water!
Neither Tori nor I cared and both showered off the grime of the airport and a three plus mile hike. No one else was brave enough to find out what a cold shower in an even colder room feels like.
Aside from that minor fiasco, the hotel was actually very nice. We’d booked a four-person room because a five-person room was 100 euros more expensive. Since we’re all broke college kids, we pushed two of the beds together and were all very comfortable the entire three nights.
However, this also meant that we had to sneak Alec into the room because we didn’t want to get charged for having him. We then proceeded to pretend that he wasn’t sleeping there the entire weekend whenever we spoke to George. [Side note: there is no way George didn’t know what was going on, especially after we asked for an extra pillow and bike, but he played along with us even though we’re a bunch of dorks.] It still causes hysterical giggling every time we think about it.
Winter in Crete
If you check the date on this post, you’ll realize that we went to Crete in Febuary. Now, I’m from the Midwest. To me, winter means negative degree weather with several feet of snow and ice covering every inch of the sidewalk. It was in the upper sixties and seventies while we were in Crete (it poured in Thessaloniki).
Despite the wonderful weather, it was still winter in Crete. Meaning that everything was closed down. And I do mean everything: restaurants, hotels, even grocery stores!
We had a hard time figuring things out at first, and ended spending most of Saturday on the beach and hiking around the ridgeline. I can’t complain. It was chill and the views were incredible. It was the perfect way to relax and take it all in.
The Joys of Winter
Like everything else, the beach was practically shut down. We had it nearly to ourselves except for a few locals. I even dared to go swimming although I only lasted thirty minutes or so before having to get out because it was too chilly. (I also got spooked and thought I saw a shark, but it was actually my own shadow … so that happened.)
It was also pointed out to me that when I posted a picture of our pristine, quiet beach, that I had spelled the word wrong. I live on Beech Street … but apparently the word beach normally has an ‘A’ in it. Don’t bother looking for my typo, it was on Instagram and I already corrected it!
Old Venetian Harbour
Saturday night we gave in and took a couple of taxis to the city center of Chania. We walked around the harbor and took in the sights.
The next day we rented bikes from George and rode them back to the harbor around sunset. Before dinner, we walked to the end of the Old Venetian Harbour and saw the sunset at the base of the lighthouse.
Never before have I seen such a beautiful sunset.
Finding a place to eat dinner was an interesting experience. The restaurants basically pay people/the owners or managers to stand around and convince tourists to eat their fare. However, we were specifically looking for a place that served seafood for Jordan and me, but also served other food because Jessika is allergic to fish.
We eventually settled on a place and it was a good choice. Jordan and I split a Fisherman’s Platter that included some sort of fish fillet (swordfish maybe?), breaded little fish with the heads on them (I asked guy who talked us into eating at his restaurant how to eat the little fishies – you have to pull off the heads and then slit the fish open and remove the backbone), as well as fried shrimp, complete with heads and feet, calamari, and an octopus tentacle!
Overall, it was amazing.
Leaving Crete - the Saddest Part of Our Adventure
Monday morning George drove us back to the bus station. Leaving Crete was bitter sweet – I was sad to go but also excited to return to Thessaloniki to all of my new friends as well as a city that doesn’t rely solely on tourist season.
I’ll be back someday Crete – and that’s a promise.
Next Weekend: I’m spending the weekend in Thessaloniki!