Crete, a pleasant surprise #1

I was quietly sitting at home when I received an invitation to my Gcal to be ready to take off from Gatwick to an unknown destination just 10 days ahead. It happen my boyfriend prepared a surprise where I had to chase for clues until I realised we were going to Crete for a week. Great idea, lovely boyfriend!

Although I wouldn’t say no to most travel destinations, some are on my bucket list for a long time and some I wouldn’t consider until others are ticked off. Crete was one of those destinations. It sounded good but when it comes to the Greek Islands, Santorini was on the top of the list. And you know what? Not having a great expectation about a place can be a great thing! Crete is definitely a place to go back to, explore more, see more, try more foods and listen to more of its music and all the amazing things the island has to offer.
On our first day, after a not-so-good flight, we finally got to the hotel to be told that there has been a problem with our reservation and that we would have to be sent to a close by hotel for that first night. As way to apologise to us, they would upgrade us to All Inclusive and give us a room with a pool view. Although we weren’t particularly happy with this at first, it turned out to be a great thing!

I have never been a huge fan of resorts. Travelling seems much more real when you’re out there with all the other people, mingling with the locals, trying new foods and experiencing that new place with curious eyes. However, if all you want is to lay down for a couple of days, enjoy the sun and the sea and read a book, it is an option to consider. If you’re looking for a mix of these two things, this can still be a good choice as you’ll be able to experience the best of both worlds.

After a few days spent by the pool and sea, drinking cocktails and trying the amazing food the hotel offered, we rented a car so we could step outside and see the real Crete. We headed to the west side of the island through endless olive trees plantations, rough roads and huge mountains. After a couple of stops to have some refreshments, we got to Falasarna. And that is a magical place! Seen from above this is a weird and wonderful scenery: the brown mountains falling into an inviting light blue sea, a sandy beach and olive trees; lots of olive trees. On our way down to the beach we stopped at a caravan selling local produce: olive oil, honey and liquor. We would see these small stalls all along the way through those roads, sitting in improbable places where one might think nothing would ever happen and no one would ever stop. But we did and so did a group of German tourists with whom we would end up having a chat about the wonders of Greece and football.

Diving in this amazing sea was inevitable once we got to the beach. I must confess I was expecting it to be a bit warmer but it was good enough to stay in for a while. The beach wasn’t overcrowded and spending a couple of hours sticking my feet in the sand, eating a beach doughnut and enjoying the sun was nothing less than wonderful. In fact, my oldest memories include lying on the sand by the sea building sand castles, which we also did to see it destroyed by each wave hitting the shore.

Falasarna

Falasarna was one of the most enjoyable places we’ve been in Crete. If you, like me, are a beach person, there’s nothing there not to love it! But the day was going by and there were lots of places to go to yet so we hit the road again. Next destination: Elafonisi.

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Pack and go!

The New York Times has published the 52 places [+1] to go in 2014. As far as I am concerned my travel book this year won’t probably include any of those destinations and although I wouldn’t say no to any of them, some are on my bucket list for quite some time while others are not. Embarrassingly, I’ve only visited one of those places yet – Rotterdam. But if I had to pick a 2014 destination among all those, my choice would probably be… Seychelles. Have I mentioned how much beachsick (I have just invented that word) I am?

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I definitely need this!