Our first real holidays together happened in the middle of June. A friend looked after our dogs, sacrificing a whole week of her precious time, to instead engage with our rather difficult and furry housemates. We can’t give Blue (the Miniature Australian Shepherd, I talked about him in this post) to just anyone and since I moved to the UK, I lost my network of people who used to look after him. That makes going away rather difficult and is one of the reasons I haven’t been in Switzerland in a long time (that, and my eternal fear of flying).
The gf is half Greek (mother’s side), so I guess Crete was fitting. We rented an apartment with friends from Germany and a car and spent a week under the Greek sun. Unfortunately I have skin that burns within minutes, so I was buried underneath shirts and hats and sunglasses the entire week. I also dislike heat, but apparently in a relationship compromise is key. The other thing: I hate planes. It’s not that I’m a nervous flier. Or a bit scared. I’m downright terrified of the thing coming straight back down and engulfing me in a ball of flames. It’s irrational and it makes vacations far more stressful than they should be.
Our apartment was in Matala. The beaches surrounding us were gorgeous. We spent a lot of time reading and just enjoying the summer.
We visited Knossos and Phaistos. Knossos is (according to Wikipedia) the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is considered Europe’s oldest city. I’ve had mixed feelings about the ruins because of the man excavating the city in 1900. He was an English archaeologist and him and his team didn’t just excavate the palace, but they also partially restored it. Today it’s difficult to see what is original and what did Sir Arthur Evans think it looked like.
I preferred Phaistos. They did not tinker with Phaistos and the ruins look exactly the way they found them. I’m very interested in seeing what archaeologists think ruins looked like but rather on paper or on signs than them actually building back up the original ruins.
In Matala, where we stayed, they prepared for a festival and they were busy painting the streets when we arrived. It looked very inviting and joyous. In fact the whole town was very welcoming. The apartment was gorgeous. We had a dishwasher and a big kitchen. The AC worked. The only thing missing were shutters. I woke up at five in the morning quite regularly because of the sun.
The last day we spent in Heraklion and walked through the city for a bit. Unfortunately we had our luggage with us so we ended up reading near the sea for quite a bit. But first we went to the Museum of Archaeology. A very interesting museum filled with a ton of knowledge about Ancient Greece. A must see for anyone interested in the culture.
We did get told off for the following photo though.
Apparently they take offense when someone poses with a ridiculous lion? Because, even though the museum was half empty, and it was literally the only photo I took, we got a very loud, ‘NO POSING,’ shouted in our direction.
The countryside of Crete is pretty. Sadly we didn’t get to do the gorge of Samaria. For one it was far hotter than I would have liked it to be for a 17 kilometer walk and we were also a bit too far away for it to be possible without being up for almost 24 hours.
That of course means that we’ll have to go back at one point or another. Blue in the meantime managed to find a gap in the fence and ran off in the middle of the night to the horror of our friend. She did find him but I’m now worried he scarred her for life and she won’t want to dog-sit again.
Yes, yes, I was wearing hiking boots and the gf was wearing flipflops. Yes.
The next holiday will probably be another hiking holiday with the dogs in the UK. Maybe Scotland or the Peak District. Until then, back to work.