trip report: crete
After leaving Santorini, we actually headed back to Athens and caught a flight to Crete from there. Why? While there IS a boat that goes from one to the other, it leaves very late in the day, so we ended up saving many hours by actually doing the double-flight. Plus, the Korres store in the Athens airport is magical.
We got to Crete early in the morning and picked up a rental car at the airport, which was the model of Greek efficiency. By that I mean it took probably 10 times as long as it should have. So much for a #grexit.
(Sorry. That was so bad.)
While driving on vacation is not one of our favorite things to do, the island is the largest and most populous in Greece, so if you want to do any exploring outside of your hotel, it makes sense to get a car. And how else are you going to learn Greek pop songs?
Our original plan was to stop at Knossos on the way to the hotel and see the ruins, but the temperature was around 95 and neither of us really felt like wandering around in the blazing sun for hours. I had been once before as a teenager, too. So, after lunch on the water in Heraklion, we drove straight to our hotel, Elounda Mare, which was around an hour away, but a very easy drive. There's not too much to see on the way, to be honest, but there's hardly any traffic.
As you know, I LOVE Relais & Chateaux properties, and that's partially why we chose Elounda, but I'm not sure I'd stay here again. The private beach was what really sold us, and that was lovely, but the rooms and overall property could use a bit of updating. But hey, if you like that '70s vibe, you'll love it.
For dinner the first night, we drove the five minutes into Elounda Town (pictured above). It's incredibly charming, with tons of restaurants along the water and a few shops and bars along the main road. We ate at Ferryman Taverna, which I discovered through Trip Advisor and it was VERY delicious. I think it was probably our favorite meal in all of Crete; great service, unique dishes and a killer view. We sat outside along the water after sunset, so apologies in advance for this picture quality, but look at these sardines! I also had one of the best versions of shrimp saganaki I've ever had.
For the rest of the trip, we had no real agenda, other than usual of hunting down great meals and staring dreamily in each other's eyes. We also took ample advantage of the hotel's beach. The water was clear, warm, and peaceful.
For lunch on our first full day, we drove to Agios Nikolaos, another charming port town just about 10 minutes away. The hotel recommended Ble Katsarolakia for lunch, which was modern Cretan food, served tapas style. I very much enjoyed my halloumi.
On our way back, we stopped at Cretan Olive Oil Farm, where for like 10 euros a person, we learned how to make dolmades and tzatziki (and how to eat 10 pounds of each). They also had tomatoes drying in the sun ... like, legitimate sun-dried tomatoes. I love this island.
The rest of the trip was spent swimming, sleeping, reading and eating a lot of feta cheese. I'll leave you with this picture of another shrimp saganaki, from Vritomartes in Elounda.