Despite smokers everywhere and our gross bathroom and disappointment in the lack of underwater life for snorkeling I would like to share the fond memories that Crete left with me.

Greek people love Italians…this I soon understood when they would give hugs to Claudio and talk about soccer all the time.When they would find out I was American they would be transparent in saying that Italy was better than the US and I soon learned to pretend to be Italian. One of my favorite Greeks was our waiter at Tholos in Chania. He kept sneaking shots of Raki and joking with us about his favorite team Lazio. He made good local food suggestions and this is when we first discovered Cretian Cuisine.

 

LOVE: 

RAKI– always offered at the end of the meal like an Italian Grappa only drinkable by yours truly.
NO SWEETS– they offer you fruit at the end of the meal like grapes or watermelon, again part of the whole deal.
OLIVE OIL– the whole gosh darn island is full of olive trees so of course they use their homemade olive oil for cooking EVERYTHING including calamari. When i would ask what type of oil they use they would laugh at my face and say what else! Olive oil!

 

HATE:

MEAT– being pseudo-vegetarian and not eating meat but fish… I was expecting more seafood. Instead it was all lamb and pork and goat on the menu! I guess it is more like the mountains than the sea….

Thinking about Raki reminds me of another favorite Greek we met in Kissamos, the VERY important town pharmacist. Don’t ask me how but we ended up with 4 Venetians, the Greek town pharmacist,  10,000 glasses of raki and a partridge in a pear tree. He was carrying out his night shift by sitting out front in shorts and a t-shirt drinking raki, and as the culture is very strongly attached to the tradition of offering drinks, our table with him was offered three rounds that we couldn’t refuse! Talk about a hard job! The most jolly interesting man I had met!

LOVED: Balos Beach, Falassarna Beach
HATED: THE WIND

LOVED: Paleohora town and its people, weather and beaches, nearby ELAFONISSI BEACH, vegetarian restaurant, 5 euro beach chairs and umbrella
HATED: Rain at the most beautiful beach elafonissi .. ouza .. a strong licorice aperitive drink which gave me terrible headaches.

LOVED: Rethymnon, drunk waiter at Kostos restaurant in Agia Galini
HATED: not hated but disappointed in the beaches of yoga paradise TRIOPETRA, HATED CITY OF HERAKLION..so much that we stayed in a hostel on a beach 10 minutes away!

 

All in all, Crete stole my heart…it seemed like being in southern Italy 50 years ago. Laid back, at times not so sophisticated, cheap, the real deal, olive trees, long windy roads, hospitable and unforgettable people and beaches comparable to the Caribbean! A great but exhausting experience!

 

 

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