Crete was neat. I had high expectations for Crete without knowing too much about it. I know they consider themselves unique among Greeks. It also has a reputation for it’s cuisine on top of the already famous Greek food. I’m not too sure why I was so attracted to this place. Perhaps just pure curiosity.
We arrived at the port of Heraklion (I’rak-lee-on), the capital of the Island. It had just finish raining so the air was warm and humid and the streets were an obsticle course of puddles and traffic. Crete is a large island and we decided to just focus on two places in the north east. Elounda (Elle-loon-duh) & Sitia (sit-tee-ah). After some sweet talking I got us a deal a rental car. Which didn’t turn out to be a deal at all. However, she did say we’d get a good deal on a hotel. It was already approx 9pm and we learned that our first town was a two hour drive away. So we spent the night in the worst hotel yet, with no special deal. In Heraklion: http://www.pasiphae-hotel.gr/
Making our way to Elounda was interesting to say the least. Driving in Greece is already, well, dangerous. Crete was no different. Passing and speeding your way along open highways and twisty mountain roads. We travelled east on the national freeway. The landscape didn’t help either, it was captivating. Tall mountains, deep gorges, coastal towns and sandy beaches. I didn’t even want to blink. Sold on Elounda by the lonely planet guide book, we didn’t notice exactly what would makes this a celebrity hotspot, the view was nice and the restaurants very good. Not sure what else, there is a bunch of resorts near by but we found a small hotel in town instead.
Up until now, I had been emailing someone about trying wake boarding. It was offered by a company on Elounda beach. I was having trouble getting responses via email so after going there, I was told that it is possible to still go, but he needed to make a phone call. He called someone and told me to wait for 5 minutes……. That was the last I heard from the guy. I was really disappointed. http://spinalonga-windsurf.com/waterski.html – don’t let the nice website fool you like it did me. They suck!
We also took a small tour across the bay to the former leper colony of Spinalonga. It was one of the last leper colonies in the world. Officially closing in 1957. The ruins and homes are still in good shape. The colony even became a full blown community complete with commerce.
Elounda was just ok. Ok small town, Ok beach. But the restaurants were very good. So that’s what we decided this town was about. Having a good meal. Then it was off to Sitia.
Sitia is a much bigger city than Elounda. We found a really nice hotel and was greeted by the owners who brought us some fresh figs. I’ve never enjoyed figs before but I ate pretty much the whole thing. They were SO good! Sitia had a really nice beach. And for October 10th still had warm water. Nice enough that our walk to the beach turned in to a sprint back to the hotel, changed in to our bathing suits and came back to catch the last few hours of afternoon sun. There isn’t much for attractions in Sitia, but after seeing the beach. We were good to keep laying in the sand and going for a swim. However, it is close to a famous Cretan beach known as Vai.
Vai beach is really attractive. It is on the coastal edge of the biggest palm grove forest in Crete. With only a few restaurants near the entrance and all the water sports you can imagine. It is a really popular place. And even this time of year had quite a few people on it. I was only laying in my beach chair for five minutes before I asked the guy at the water sports stand if I could try wakeboarding. “Of course you can” he said. But to fully explain how much fun I had. You’ll have to read my next post.