My writing includes my personal travel experiences, destination, history, and cultural information.
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands and I had the privilege of spending time there recently. My heritage is Greek and I have been to Greece 11 times but, this was my first time in Crete and it was fabulous! I am already planning a return trip in the Spring as a piggyback to my trip to Egypt. The loose plan at this point is to spend nine days in Egypt and then spend Easter in Crete. Of course, this plan is pending pandemic travel restrictions.
The plan was to spend three days in Heraklion, rent a car, drive to Chania and spend two days there and then return to Heraklion and spend another two days before returning to Albania. Flying out of Tirana, Albania with a layover in Athens, we arrived in Crete close to midnight. With all the pandemic restrictions, pretty much everything was closed at Eleftherios Venizelo, Athens International Airport, and by the time we landed and then arrived at the hotel in Heraklion, we were starving! A quick bite to eat at a restaurant close to the hotel, off to bed, and explore Heraklion the next day.
Heraklion is a very walkable city and our hotel was one block off the pedestrian district and three blocks from the Mediterranean Sea. Score!!!
We left the hotel on foot, bright and early, heading towards the pedestrian district and Lions Fountain Square. This was turning out to be a fabulous day when I stumbled into a Starbucks! White Chocolate Mocha and off to Rocca a Mare Fortress to enjoy the morning.
As you can see from the pictures, the weather was beautiful! We met up with a friend for lunch and enjoyed a typical Cretan meal: fish and seafood, lamb meat, vegetables, cheese, and fruits that had been grown on the island, and a fabulous dessert. Lots of small plates, lots of food, lots of wine! Aubergine is a favorite on the island, but not for me. One of the best things about travel is the food. I love learning about local cuisine.
After lunch, shopping was worked into the plan...had to walk off the calories from that enormous lunch. Living in Albania is great, but the shopping is not so great. So, when I travel, I always have a list of things that I haven't been able to obtain in my Albanian home. Sometimes, the things on my list are simple, like on the trip to Heraklion; baking powder, measuring spoons, and white (yes, just plain white) sheets. I can't find the words to explain the thrill of finding measuring spoons! It's the simple things in life, sometimes that give us the greatest joy! Every time I use those measuring spoons, I think of Heraklion and the joy of finding those spoons, in of all a places, a key makers shop!
Day Two in Heraklion was more of the same; just wandering and enjoying the city. We ate lunch seaside and were lucky enough to have bouzouki players a few meters away. It was great! A glorious day. It was fabulous to wander the streets and see people enjoying life. This wasn't really a sightseeing trip for us. It was more of just a getaway with no particular plan in mind. Over the summer, we had been on a road trip through mainland Greece (another story), we had been to Italy, Spain, Sardinia (another story), and back to Athens for a week (another story). We just wanted to be away and relax and that's exactly what we did.
Driving to Chania was an adventure all in itself. We had this rental car, a Fiat. I'm told the Fiat nickname is "F@*#ing Italian Automobile Technology" and after that road trip, I believe it! The road between Heraklion and Chania is mountainous. This little clown car had no power. There were times when I thought we would have to get out and push the car up the mountain! The silver lining was that we made up time on the downhill! And we were on our way to see our very good friends D & V, who are American ex-pats living in Chania!
We had such a great time with D & V. We drank, we ate, we drank some more! Catching up with friends is the best, isn't it? We solved all the world's problems and the next night in Chania, we did the same thing again! As I said before, this trip was about getting away to do nothing. And, Crete is the place to do it. Don't misunderstand, there are lots of things to do in Crete, plenty of sightseeing, great beaches, shopping, and restaurants. Please click the links above for Heraklion and Chania to get an idea of how glorious this Mediterranean island really is!
All in all, Crete was wonderful. And I'm anxious to go back in April. Easter in Crete will be fabulous. As I said, I'm a Greek girl but I have never spent an Easter in Greece, so this promises to be really exciting and another tick off the ole bucket list!
Until Next time, friends, remember, "To Travel is to Live!!"
© 2022 Dee Nicolou Serkin