Five days in Crete, Greece, at the Blue Palace Resort was heavenly. Finally, the proper holiday that was planned months ago had finally arrived. September was so full of fun I couldn’t even stand it, with some of our faves visiting from San Francisco, then having THE BEST time in Dubrovnik and capping off the month with a quick Copenhagen adventure. By October, I was exhausted. Being an expat comes with this territory, you only have so much time to see all of the amazing things that Europe has to offer, often for less of a price tag than a nice dinner ($120 to go to Copenhagen simply can’t be passed on). There is no alternative, you must take advantage and power through. This experience is incredible and sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s real. But, it occasionally becomes a bit taxing (not expecting any sympathy here!).
The hubs thinks I’m absurd when I argue the variation between a “holiday” and a “trip.” Mr. Webster agrees that the two are, in fact, different. He defines a holiday as “a period of exemption or relief” and a trip as “a short journey for a particular purpose.”*
This jaunt over to Crete was really a period of relief from virtually everything. In preparations for “trips,” there are hours of research, itineraries with extensive options of things to do, see and places to eat (obviously), and customized Google maps designed to help experience as much of the visited city as possible in usually a mere 36 hours. This time, there was none of that, just a stack of books, swim suits and suntan lotion.
Here’s how it went.
In the mornings, after a bountiful breakfast with too many irresistible Grecian goodies, we lounged around our room and occasionally attempted to get into the pool, which felt like the ice bucket challenge.
Once the sun passed over us, we headed to the beach. We had to take the hotel’s private cog to get there just once because it was seriously SO cool. Around 2 o’clock, we’d be hungry for lunch and walk a few minutes down the road to the teeny, tiny town of Plaka. My favorite spots were Breeze Cafe for mouthwatering savory crepes and The Carob Tree for delicious, small shared plates. Afterwards, a little shopping was always in order. This town was so small but it was packed with darling boutiques; if only we had brought an extra suitcase…
A little more beach time or poolside reading generally followed. By late afternoon, the hubs and I were ready to get some steps and either hiked around the resort or played tennis. The views were spectacular and it never felt like a forced workout! For dinner, we’d practically privately dine every night at one of the fresh sea food taverns in town. It being October, the place was a ghost town. There’s nothing quite like sitting seaside and hearing the waves rolling back over the rocks and no one else talking. Ostria was hands down our favorite, with Taverna Spinalonga in a close second. Taverna Giorgos – Giovanni was very good as well, and The Blue Door at our resort served the tastiest bread with tomatoes. Last but of course not least, we’d stop by the local wine bar for a glass before heading back to the hotel. This place was a gem, though I can’t find the name anywhere (you pass it just before coming to the rest of Plaka). One night, we arrived and I was really craving dessert (what’s new). I asked the owner what he had and he said nothing, and I looked visibly dissapointed. So, he held up his finger, “wait one moment,” and came back with something baklava-like but better. Later, he brought out some rare cheese with honey. Needless to say, we went back every night and even caught front row seats to an unexpected fireworks show. We shook things up one day and went for a long hike. A few other people had the same idea, but we practically had the coast to ourselves. Halfway to the lookout point, we spotted a herd of goats, and I really wanted to eat their cheese, as I imagined it tasted as luscious as at the wine bar. Five days of this was relaxing, rejuvenating and just what we needed. Now, I’m ready for the next big “trip!”
*In full disclosure, there are lots of definitions but these support my cause.