My mum had planned a visit to London to see me this summer, and travelling all the way from Australia means she likes to try and fit in a trip to Europe while she’s over. She’s also originally from England, so isn’t that bothered about seeing the touristy sights again and would much rather visit places that are new and more exotic!
Travelling out of London together is a great way to catch up properly, without the distractions work and a big city bring. We’ve been to France, Portugal and Croatia together, so this time we decided to go to Crete, as neither of us had been before and it seemed like the perfect place for my mum to recover from her jetlag and for us both to recuperate after a busy few months.
Not really knowing much about the island of Crete, we took a punt and I booked us flights to Heraklion while my mum found a self-catering apartment with a great pool and stunning views. We landed in Crete at 2am to collect our hire-car, and somehow had failed to realise that we would need to check into our accommodation at about 3.30am, and so hadn’t let our hotel know in advance.
This led to us pulling into the steep driveway in the pitch black hours before dawn, parking up and navigating our way around the pool using our phone torches and whispering to each other frantically, hoping and praying that someone would rescue us!
After a few minutes of feeling like weirdos/criminals and wondering whether we could feasibly sleep on the sun loungers by the pool until the sun rose, our prayers were answered when our delightful host turned on the lights and, holding a cup of coffee, asked what he could do for us. After a brief and confused conversation, he realised we were legitimate and paying guests and ushered us to our rooms, where we gratefully climbed into bed and fell asleep.
Waking up about six hours later after arriving in total darkness was a surreal experience, as I walked out of the room to be greeted by this view.
Not a bad way to wake up, right? Absolutely knackered from the long journey, we spent the whole day in and around the pool, eating breakfast and lunch in the hotel restaurant and reading our books, in between naps.
Our Greek salads were enormous but so delicious; properly sun-ripened, juicy tomatoes are such a treat after the bland, powdery ones you find in cold climates. We ordered a couple of local beers – not usually my beverage of choice, but when in Crete! – which perfectly accompanied the heat and deafening sound of cicadas.
Later we took a short walk down to the tiny but very pretty beach of Lygaria (which our hotel overlooked), and then got into our car to take the slightly longer journey to the more built up beach of Agia Pelagia, where we stopped for a drink at one of the beach bars and stocked up on breakfast items and snacks at the supermarket.
With ambitions to return home and get ready to go out for dinner at one of the local tavernas, once we got back to our apartment the temptation of tzatziki and wine at our hotel’s restaurant won us over, and we ate our third and final meal of the day at the apartments, shortly followed by an early night.