Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Adventures In Crete

I'm back on again today to blog about our stay in Crete. If you are just catching up, you can read about my going to Greece, here.
You will find out soon enough why I titled this Adventures In Crete.
After 4 days in Athens, we headed south to the Island of Crete.
 On the flight, my husband noticed that the flight attendant on the RIGHT was in the airline magazine and for fun he asked her if we could take a picture of her holding it, lucky for us she had a good sense of humor! 
These two flight attendants were so precious!

 The airport in Crete was just so tiny, and cumbersome. This little guy was taking a good rest.

 Gotta love on the animals. It would be so frustrating for me if my husband wasn't an animal lover like me:)

Ok, here's where the story gets good. This is where the word adventure comes in. This is our rental car. It is very small as you can see. And as you can also see, it is practically door to door with those other tiny cars. But what you don't see is that it's like that in the front of the car too :/
I kid you not you guys, it took me 25 minutes to get out of this so called parking lot! It was a manual (I hadn't driven a stick shift since HS)--and it showed! I mean we were hot, tired, and I was in pain. We were hungry and had to go potty. It didn't help that the Avis guy was rude-ish, and had bad breath.
It also didn't help that we had no idea how to get to our hotel. We only knew which freeway to hop on and which direction to go. 
After a little whip lash and some small swear words, we were on our way. 
If you ever drive in Crete, please call me first.
The drivers are CrAzY, or at least their skills are. My husband was worried about me making sure I went the speed limit, but if I had, I seriously do not think I would be typing this right now. I mean drivers were speeding like 20-30 over the limit, I can't read their signs, and what was a 2 way freeway, turned into 4 for the natives. I swear they almost took paint off my rental as they passed me. If I didn't straddle the white line on the side of me, I am convinced I would have died. That is what the "slow" drivers do, they straddle that white line to let others know they can pass them. Keep in mind we were on a cliff and the sea was to our left.
I was honestly terrified. A lot of dialog was happening between my husband and I and that's all I should say for now. It was a refining process of grace for the both of us, let's just say that:)
I was not prepared to drive in Crete, that is for sure. But this piece of the trip made it an adventure, even though I needed an hour to cool off and calm down once we got to our hotel. 
And let me tell ya, I adore the town we stayed in: Reythnemo
I am in love.
 When we parked, we saw this soccer field with, you guessed it, Graffiti. Although Crete didn't have near the Graffiti that Athens did. Those are Mulberry Trees. Rethymno was just a precious precious city. It is 16th Century and is a town of about 45,000. 

This little pooch greeted us on our way to our sweet hotel. 

 Our Hotel.

 The view from our window of our room, I was in awe. Some things are just so difficult to take in. This was one of those times.

The courtyard of our Hotel/view from our room. Again, another one of those times. (there was a yard full of citrus trees to the right)

Entrance to our Hotel

Our little patio

 Enjoying a walk on the cute little streets, and taking in all the color.

 Streets of Reythmno. There are no cars on the streets, you have to drive outside of the town. 

 I so wished we had fresh spices on the street like this where I lived. 

 There were kittens and cats everywhere in Greece. All three cities we visited, there were cats everywhere. These little guys were all snuggled together.

It was such a delight to wake up to breakfast at this hotel. And it was warm enough still to sit outside. This pastry was my favorite so far. I got my massive grub on for sure. And lots of butter, oh ya baby!

 I came across this courtyard or terrace of sorts. I still don't know what it is, but am trying to find out. It blew my mind; then again, that's not hard to do. Especially in Greece.

Don't these look like Jacks? Remember Jacks, you kids from the 80's???

How darling to find Forget Me Nots growing on the streets.

 So much rich vegetation here in Crete too. Lots still blooming. 

 I asked these guys if I could snap their picture. I was so happy they said sure.

Reythmno is on the water/beach, but it was down season, so there was no one on the beach at all, but we still wanted to check it out.
We stopped along the boardwalk at a busy cafe and had some cappuccino's. They were so tasty, but the best cappuccino is yet to come.
Notice the Palm Trees; such a mix of climate in Greece!

The simplest of pleasures: holding a coffee cup in your hand.

This little guy had his leg stuck in the gate. This is the day we decided to venture out into the mountains of Crete. This little adventure was not without meltdowns, peeing in the olive bushes and tears. But there was also lots of laughter. A mix of these things can be so good for the soul.
So the mountains seem pretty deserted but there are little villages spread throughout the mountains still, and it's those people that take care of the goats. They keep this gate up so their goats don't get loose. This little guy had other plans. And while we were driving on this tiny one car road (if someone is coming the other way you can't see them and if you do see them in time you have to pull over into the mountain to let them pass)I asked told my husband to get out and help him get free. My husband tried but was unable to get his leg loose, so luckily a townsman came by on his scooter and got him loose. After he got him loose, he picked him up and literally threw him 3 feet back to the other side; the goat landed on his side and struggled to get up, but sure enough....
He landed on all fours!
We had heard about this beautiful lake in the mountains, but because we were like the blind leading the blind, we had no idea we were going to find it. With some a heckofalot of determination and some back tracking, we found it! 
Lake Kournas, it was beautiful, so picturesque! Surrounded by mountains, the calm blue green water was so still.

The Taverns were like ghost towns due to the down season, but we found one that was open.
I loved the Greek red wine!

A famous Cretan Kitty

Street undies. Word.

Starting to get flirty after a couple of glasses.

Running into this little herd was another highlight of the day. I was freaking out!
I had seen lots of sheep in my life and plenty in Switzerland, but we were never able to get this close to them.

After the Lake, we got lost. We had a village in mind to go to, but on the way we got lost. Getting lost typically isn't a good thing, especially when you are tired, have to pee, are in pain and hungry. Not a good combo. But we ran into this place called APTERA. It was an ancient city on a hill--it is 13th Century B.C. it is 125 meters above sea level, and was mainly destroyed during the 7th Century. Later in the 12th Century it was revived by Monks who used it for Monasteries. It was mind boggling to see. It was so eire--no one was around, except a few sheep here and there, dried vegetation and olive trees. We roamed around in amazement.

Right after our time in Aptera, all the things I listed about were getting worse. I had to pee so bad, I was so hungry, and I was so uncomfortable in my body. We both had started to shut down. It had been hours and hours in the mountains, just navigating on our own. We had some amazing treasures and surprises along the way and an overall wonderful, fun day, but I was done for. Right as I was about to pull over to sort of shut down, a heard of goats, I'm talking a herd, several different families came out of no where and started crossed the road, one after another, babies and all. It was such a gift from God because we drove by the same spot about 45 minutes later and there were none to be found, just the jingling of their bells were heard throughout the mountains. But just as they started passing by, I was down on an olive tree, relieving my bladder. 

As if that wasn't a long enough day already, I found myself back at the tattoo parlor. My husband was there the night before getting fresh ink. I had had a nudging to get one for about a year, and I guess being loopy from the long day, made it an easy transition to just do it. Can you believe it?!

'Beloved' is what my new tattoo says, or should I say 'Tat'! This tattoo parlor was incredible and the people were even better. We made new friends, and it was such a fun two nights with them. It was fun to hear about their backgrounds and their lives. If you ever go to Crete, and you want a tattoo, go to Skin Diggers in Rethymno.

The best dessert in the world. It was like fried dough with this delicious chocolate sauce poured over it. We inhaled it after our long day.

Here we are the next morning getting ready to leave for Santorini. I mean I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to get out of bed this day. But I persevered, because the next 3 days were to be absolutely chill and relaxing and quite beautiful, like we've never seen.

My least favorite things about Crete:
-the driving
-the avis guy
-the names or lack there of of street signs
-our rental car
-no toilet seats (none in athens either)

My favorite things about Crete:
-our hotel
-the sheep
-the tattoo lounge
-walking the sweet streets of Rethymno
-the lake
-the mountains
-the natives
-the shopping
-the unexpected

Santorini is next--it's like beauty you've never seen before. Thanks for following along and sharing our journey with me.


Ashley @ Luce said...

OMG! i feel like i went with you! thank you so much for sharing all those pictures, i seriously felt like i got to experience your trip and their culture! you look beautiful in all the pics and your hubby is handsome!!! beautiful couple. love the new tattoo, i have 2 already but i want one on my wrist too! how badly did it hurt??

beka said...

wow.....this whole post if flippin' awesome. beautiful..eventful....what experiences! love your new tat :) :)

chambanachik said...

Lovely! (Also, your coat is so cute!!)

Lauren said...

This all looks so beautiful! Wow. Your trip seems amazing. I'm loving the tattoo! You adventurous woman! x

Natalie said...

Loving all these photos! It's like I got a mini tour myself with this post =D

Tamera Beardsley said...

Gina, what a gift of sharing... your phenomenal post let others relive your amazing trip! Thank you so much, I so enjoyed 'the trip"!

You look ABSOLUTELY beautiful in the photos...there was some truly loving photography going on!

Erin said...

You take so many gorgeous pictures! I don't even kow where to start....Hello gorgeous architecture! Your hotel was so awesome! I grew up in a small town in the midwest called Crete and I kept thinking of that the whole time I was reading this post! You're too pretty!

Paislea Elyse said...

oh wow! how exciting. it sounds like a trip of a lifetime!!! you got a tattoo, there were cats everywhere... i couldn't ask for more!!!

ps. how could you resist NOT taking home about 500 of those little furry guys! they're way too cute!!

great blog! following!

allister bee blog

Sarah B. said...

I can't believe there were cats all over the city. That sounds so lovely! (My allergies would disagree though.) Such a cute picture of them all huddled together. I love that bold colored flower print dress you're wearing in the later pics. Such a cute look!

lowercase letters said...

what a beautiful hotel! i love the pictures of you standing in front of the door. so pretty.
i also love the tourquoise cape\shirt thing you are wearing in some of the other pictures:)

Jennifer @ Just A Girl said...

What an amazing trip! I love reading travel blogs, especially ones with such beautiful pictures! I am so glad I found you via link party, I am now following you. Can't wait for your next update and will be catching up on old ones. You guys are such a cute couple! ;o)

Merry Christmas!

Jennifer @ Just A Girl said...

Okay, I couldn't find your google follow button, but I added you to my blog roll page on my site. :o)

Chrissy said...

Wow, wonderful pics! I really want to go to Greece one day! Love your tat!!
Coming over from Scenic Glory and so glad I did! Love your blog! Looking forward to reading more! Hugs xxx

SymbioticLife said...

This is flipping epic and hilarious. Great adventure, great spirit to persevere, great pictures. It all boils down to love. What an amazing story for you two to be able to share.