So finally, after being in Athens for 2 days, island hopping from Mykonos to Santorini, spending 3 days on each island, we island hopped to Crete now. Man, were we tired! And we had four days ahead of us on Crete – spending 2 days in the capital, Heraklion, and then two days in Chania, on the west side of the island.
When we arrive at Crete, we had to walk all the way to our hotel – yes there were taxis, but we had not arranged any transport because apparently our hotel was nearby. Now in any other circumstance, the walk would have been easy-going, but we had luggage bags to carry (be mindful that mine had a silly metal handle and it was the smallest of them all, that was over stuffed, plus, the side handle to pick up the bag had torn while we were preparing to get off the boat – hilarious). I know for next time to use a different bag. Anyway, so we walked the way to the hotel, and we literally died. Mum was complaining her arms were sore, and my partner just kept walking along, and then we would stop, walk again, stop, walk again, okay, maybe another mini-break, and keep walking. Looking back, it was hilarious, but at the time, things started getting on our nerves.
We eventually made it to the hotel – after pulling the luggage bags up steep hills in the heat. Checked in our hotel, it was great at the Lato Boutique Hotel – very modern, and we handed our laundry over to be cleaned. But what was disappointing was that we were in the hub of the city. We had been living the cosmopolitan life on beaches and holiday scenes in Mykonos and Santorini – and now we were in the city. Wasn’t the purpose of a holiday was to escape ‘the rush’ and ‘city life’? That night, we went out to eat at the hotel’s nice restaurant on the roof, but we got turned down because it was full – these little things at Crete started accumulating and getting on our nerves. So we walked to the Bay, and ate at a restaurant there, and I’m sorry to say, at this restaurant, we had the worst food in Greece. The meat and protein were fine, but the dish sides of rice and pasta – not good and undercooked.
The next day, I had planned for us to go to The Palace of Knossos. This was another archaeological site I had studied in Year 11 at school when I was learning about Thera at Santorini and her connections at the time. We caught a bus to the site, and there were a lot of tourists, and I mean a lot. We lined up and waited to go inside – they had one of those ticket machines that scans the code on the ticket and your okay to go through. The tickets were mildly expensive, and once we were through we had the option to join groups with tourist guides – but that would cost extra. We decided to explore the site ourselves, and I was amazed – seeing it for the first time.
However, after reading a couple of the site’s maps and information stands, it bogged us down, and we wished we had the experience of a tour guide back at Delos and Santorini. So an English speaking guide saw mum and called us over – this was half way through his presentation, and mum spoke Greek to him and it was good. He had so much knowledge telling us about the site, its connections and what it meant. My partner and I wondered off a lot to take pictures away from the group, and then we would join back. At the end, the guide said to my mum, ‘I won’t charge the kids because they weren’t with us all the time.’ But, once we were leaving the site’s exit, he ran up to us and spoke to mum in Greek, trying to charge us extra, even though we joined the group half way through and we weren’t really involved. We found it to be rude, and yet understood why the guide had done it. But we had said no and left. Before we returned to our hotel, we picked up our laundry, and bam! – it had been dyed pink! Mum had bought a new beach dress and because it had not been washed before, it ruined the other clothes that were washed it. Another thing to get on our nerves. We then made our own lunch and caught a bus to a beach near Heraklion. It was beautiful, and the sand was yellow and sandy! Like Australia! Great to be reminded of home. That night, we were able to eat at the Hotel’s restaurant on the roof – and it was worth the wait, the food there was delicious and had interesting modern twists on Greek food. Thumbs up!
The next day, we caught a bus and travelled to Chania – it took 3 hours to get from the centre of the island to the west. We stayed at the Porto Del Colombo hotel that was at the Old Town – so many streets, twists and turns – the pathways were beautiful and the scenery at the port! We loved it there and did a lot of exploring of the old town – our hotel was even a traditional Venetian house, wooden floorboards, wooden furniture, wood everywhere! So different. We also walked the streets at night at the harbour – everyone comes out after 8pm, and there are so many restaurants along the harbour, and great food. We also had a Foot Spa Therapy, where you put your feet in a fish tank and all these tiny little fish come up to them and nibble off the dead skin – it tickled and it was fun!
Overall, we had a lot of ups and downs on Crete – would we change it, I don’t think so. But perhaps next time, instead of sticking to the Sun Island Tour’s suggestion of places to go, we would also add on Agios Nikolaios on the east side of the island, which has all the gorgeous beach resorts, and that cosmopolitan beach holiday we thought we would have on Crete. 4 days was not enough for an island that big. Even at Mykonos and Santorini – 3 days on each island is not enough. I suggest for any vacationer to stay a week on each island – more weeks if you can and enjoy the atmosphere.
My next post will be on our 4 Day Classical and Meteora Tour around Athens.
Till next time,