How I Survived a Month on an Island - Crete, Greece
We departed from Athens early in the morning. And arrived on Crete around an hour later and my initial reaction was "Wow. I'm on the Greek mythology island." You know? Where the labyrinth and minotaur myths came from. I thought that my reaction would be more of a...
"HOW?! DID I GET HERE?!??!"
But considering the fact that we were even on a YEAR LONG TRAVELING THING, this trip is more of a wow than any place we've visited.
So the first time I saw the Aegean sea, was from the plane. It just looked like...water. But up close, I've never seen anything as blue or as vibrant. We stayed in Crete for a month. Fun fact. The first house had a really delicious water dispenser.
Part I - Gerani
There was a small 2km hike down to the beaches where we went 3 times during our week stay from our small town Gerani. On the right side of the cluster of rocks, is the beach where people can feel sand between their toes. (Until it gets too deep obviously.) Where the rocks are and beyond is where you can feel sea urchins sticking in your toes.
Eli and dad were really interested in collecting and eating these prickly creatures. (Dad especially.) They are prickly but the weight gets distributed on your hand so no. Holding them isn't painful.
But on the other side of the rocks, it isn't used as much for beach swimming. Instead, very careful swimming. There are some rocks underneath the water that aren't necessarily friendly or pleasant. And sitting "prettily" (if you get what I mean) on top of some of these rocks, are some nice looking sea urchins. An easier way of saying sea urchins. Are simply, "Uchies." or "Oochies." (Made up reference. Try not to google it)
There is access into a cave where I wanted to venture into with Myka. But the waves were really crashing and I wasn't sure my capability of swimming was strong enough. So I did some scouting for fish instead and Myka took Lucy on a hiking adventure.
We discovered a small cave up on rocks. That was where we ate, went to rest if we were feeling too "sunny." Beats putting your bad and your belongings in the sand if you ask me.
Now as far as eating was concerned, in our town, there was a lovely little bakery which opened every morning. Everything was sold out (the baking that I enjoyed at least) by noon. For our veggies and greens, we went into the larger city near us by bus.
We were also able to spend mother's day here. Note the twin's almost identical grins.
Part II - Heraklion
The next stay was in Heraklion. The capital of this huge island. This was the place where we spent Auntie Tia's birthday! Happy Birthday Auntie Tia! From this city, we were able to visit an old Venetian port. (World power back then haha.) And the old city of Knossos. You may also know this city as "The Labyrinth."
Yes this "Labyrinth" is the so-called remains of this maze. Restored and literally placed in places where it would look the nicest. All from the opinion of a guy named Evan. Not my awesome cousin Evan but this idiot Evan who believes that "this piece should fit here because it looks like it should." No really. Attempt to visit Knossos without a guide and all you would get out of it is how "Evan thought that it was here." And also the knowledge of going to where all the Labyrinth myths came from.
There was a large museum of Greek artifacts just found on this island alone and there were a lot of artifacts. Dating back to like the beginning of human existence, the prehistoric and bronze age. So way back.
Featuring Eli's giant nutella tub and me trying to catch up my blogs.
Don't forge Auntie Tia's birthday in Heraklion! Best of Birthday wishes!
Part III - Chania
We first arrived in Crete by plane in the Chania Airport (which actually was 15 mins away from the city itself.) So we stayed at 2 places in Chania. This first place was also just outside of the city center. Around 1km walk.
And this house in Chania, had no WiFi. Yes, I typed this right. NO WIFI. The connection that we did obtain, was through the restaurant across the street. It sucked and you would wait for 30 mins before loading a single instagram photo. We also remained at this house for a week. But it wasn't all terrible.
For example. If the WiFi sucked, just spent your time outside the house. Speaking of outside the house...we took a really amazing hike in Crete. But before talking about that, I shouldn't forget the beach day!
I don't like sand. Well I'm not saying that you should step on rocks and pebbles whenever to step inside the ocean.
But at the same time, it gets in places where you were sure, never made contact. Like behind your ears and other cracks. (*cough cough*) When you feel cold, the sand is always a great blanket when it feels like it's near burning temperature.
But once the fun is over. And returning home is next. My opinion of sand gets very low indeed. Very very very low. Almost like a burning hatred. (Dramatic.)
Part IV - Samaria Gorge (favourite.)
Despite the horribly difficult survival test inside our own apartment, mom arranged a hiking day to this gorge. It's one of the longest gorges in Europe with a distance of 16km as the eagle flies. And I'm not noting the elevation changes. So early in the morning, we walked to the bus station where we took a bus to the top of the gorge where we began the trek.
I actually just read, that apparently, you descended 3000ft into the gorge then you actually began from there. Follow the trail and the sound of water and you'll be good. There were a lot of tourists. Myka, Lucy, Eli and I passed a lot of people during the descent. I overheard these french ladies talking about us while we passed them. "They will tire quickly."
But rather, I felt even more energized. The scenery was really beautiful and lush. The Aegean sea was more of an aqua/green colour but this river was a cold icy blue combined with a splash of perisian green. When I hike, I like to roam. So when there were any rocks or potential "passages" I wouldn't hesitate to jump forth. (I am such a poete..)
So after the descent, we trek through sparse forests and eventually the ground levels down to the same altitude as the river. After a bit of that, around 1/3 into the tour and 3 hours of hiking, we begin to see ruins and old buildings.
Remain of Byzantine churches and Venetian castles. Until 1962, families lived between the soaring walls of the gorge. After the area was converted into a national park, everyone had to leave. Well if i saw tourists passing by my door and peeping inside my windows, I wouldn't mind of leave.
Then after a trek uphill we finally reached the top of the ridge where we stopped to eat our lunch. Where these nosy mountain goats attempted to have some of our fuel of life and survival. And after eating, Myka and I went first to the 'Iron Gates.' Where the real entrance of the gorge began.
This was probably the longest stretch of the hike and the most enjoyable. Here, the rocks were more larger and more widely spaced but not so that I would completely fail to reach the next one.
The river ran down the gorge, making it possible that some times we had to cross it. But I enjoyed more of a challenge and purposely missed the trail and follow along the same side of the river. Opposite of the trail. Of course I couldn't walk there forever so I scouted some more difficult ways to get through on the other side.
Enjoy this gallery of expertly shot photos.
If you ever have a chance of visiting Crete. Go hike the samaria gorge. And we almost missed our ride on the last ferry back to Chania. Good thing we didn't miss it because we would've had to stay overnight in the town which was 2km from the gorge's exit.
Part V - Malene
This next stay was a little more complicated to confirm because our other place was doubled booked. Then we had two really last minute choices to chose from (the day after the gorge) and mom made it work out. I have no clue how exactly she did it but #supermom. We did a family vote on the two. My vote won! But happens that I chose the wrong choice. Oops.
The house looks amazing. But the person who rented it out to us. Is probably the most nit-picking person I've ever met. "Don't wear sunscreen when you go into the pool because it will clog up the pool."
"When you splash around, make sure to fill it up to the millimeter of ounces of water masse and to the very atoms of the pool water and H2O."
"If you break or scratch any of the plates you have to pay for them. They are made of real gold." So I asked her why would she use gold plated plates? She replied, "Because I want you all to feel like princesses."
And she came by almost everyday to check on us. I felt like I could almost never settle down. But the pool was an excellent addition. Even if it was very very very small, we definitely maximized our time in our bathing suits.
Our house was also near the beach. In contrast to the cove we found in Gerani. This was a rocky beach. On the days when the sky didn't look like they were about to throw angry lightning bolts, we collected beautiful rocks. But the "clouds of doom" made the water look especially dangerous.
Not exactly what we were used to when the water we've experienced in Crete was blue/green and cerulean blue. Instead, this water was...well...BROWN.
Here are a few shots I've got from my bedroom window in Malene.
Part VI - Chania
We came back to Chania for a second time. And this stay was probably one of the better ones. The WiFi was amazing. They had a fully stocked kitchen with these delicious cheese pastries in a basket waiting for us. More importantly. Waiting for my mouth. The location was perfect. Not so much for the beach (but i believe that we had enough of that.)
Since this was also the last stop in Greece before moving on and into another country, we decided to give up some of our belongings. For me, I had a funeral of goodbye for my pens and we tried to exchange our books. That didn't work but we did gain some space in our Samsonite luggage.
These are all the pens I had to say goodbye to. I didn't feel just as sentimental with the parting of the books above,
Well we've been on this island for a month and still haven't gone on any boat tours. So yes. This time, we went on a boat trip. Not just any boat trip. We went on Captain Nick's boat trip! Nick is a sailor who works for the tourist industry and has been doing it for 20 years. Of course not in the wintery season. But you'd think he'd get tired of doing a tour (sometimes multiple) for every single day.
So for a short bit during the beginning, whoever wanted, they could have a chance to steer the boat. I had a little voie in my head telling me to just go at it towards the waves. Then I thought... Let's not kill anyone.
After that, we drove the boat back around to see remains from an old German airplane in WWII. That was now lying at the bottom of the ocean in disconnected sections. Then after that, we went goat watching while Nick circled around this island. Trying to spot at least 1 out of the 200 goats that inhabited the island.
After that, we jumped from the boat and swam to shore with our flippers and snorkeling gear. And it was so much fun. There is surprisingly a huge amount and variety of fish in even the smallest corner of the reef. Mom and Auntie Tia managed to swim! Without any training or earlier experience with water!
And this time, no phones died in the process!
There was this one time when Eli and his Icelandic friend named Christopher found an octopus beneath some of the shallow rocks and told Captain Nick. He just laughed weakly and gave them a thumbs up.
But even though his enthusiasm was there, you could clearly tell that doing this for over 20 years for every single day would eventually tire you out.
So that's all for the long awaited Crete blog.!
And as I had mentioned before, this is also the last of my Greece blogs. Unless of course, if I decide to return to Greece after college. But before I begin that adventure... I should probably get started with 'notre aventure française.'
Stay tuned! I won't be gone for long! BYE!