Last weekend, we ventured on our last overseas family vacation for 2012. This time we went to Crete. We decided on a whim to buy airline tickets because the prices were so low. It only seemed fair to visit another island, rich with its own unique culture. Having not read a single word in our Lonely Planet guidebook, I only knew that Crete was Greece’s largest island. Prof, our travel planner extraordinaire, read the guide and prepared a general itinerary of things to do over the weekend.
The flight to Crete went off without a hitch, despite reports of Cyprus Airways, a government-run airline, facing bankruptcy. Once we stepped off the plane, we walked straight on the tarmac, then onto a bus that drove us to the terminal. It felt exactly like we were thrown onto a movie set from the 50s or 60s.
Everything seemed older and slower. Even the metal trolleys were rusting from wear and tear. Either the terminal didn’t have a/c or no one decided to turn it on that day. Only a single glass paned automatic door stood between loved ones and passengers waiting in the baggage claim area.
We met an Australian visiting Crete for a few days on holiday. Coincidentally, he also happened to know an Australian scholar in Prof’s field. Prof knew the other scholar in Australia, which made for a nice conversation as we all waited painstakingly for our luggage to arrive.
After waiting for the rental car, Prof found that driving back on the right side of a two-lane road took a bit of an adjustment. He quickly found his bearings and proceeded to find our hotel accommodations for the weekend.
We arrived pretty late in the evening, but the kids managed to muster up some last bit of energy to run around the hotel lobby. As Prof checked us in, the kids were giggling and looking through the floor-to-ceiling glass window. When Linus suddenly turned left, he ran straight into the glass door. I don’t know why he thought he had to learn his lesson two times over, but two loud thuds were heard as far as the other side of the lobby. Hotel guests and staff stopped to see what caused the noise followed by an awe how sad moment. If you could just imagine the Windex commercial from 2006….oh, our poor Linus.
After settling in our room, we enjoyed a simple buffet meal at the hotel. On our way out of the restaurant, we noticed a small group of shop vendors were selling Cretan handmade goods in the breezeway. We stopped to take a peak at some of their handiwork. Prof struck up a a nice conversation with some of the local vendors. They were pleasantly surprised to talk to Prof in Greek. One female vendor got so excited, she spoke at lightning speed, at which point Prof had to politely ask her to slow down a bit. They were so kind and friendly. We usually don’t buy many souvenirs or trinkets on our trips, but the warm hospitality and conversations with each of the vendors easily transitioned into buying a couple of signature local handmade products.
The evening was well past the kids’ bedtime, and they fell fast asleep in their crisp, clean white duvet covered linens. Sleeping on newer spring mattresses was also a nice change of pace compared to our 20+ year old mattresses in our furnished apartment in Cyprus. We slept soundly in our beautiful hotel room to get an early start the next day.
Come back on Monday to read about our full day of visiting interesting sites and local towns around Crete. I will share something new about the way we see archeological site excavations.
If you want to catch up on our other overseas excursions, you can check them out here.