If there were a road to Crete, I would have taken it. Crete, however, is an island, which is one of the several things I’ve learned in the past few days of our impromptu side trip to the Greek islands. Here’s a retrospective itinerary of how we got to Crete and then to the idyllic town of Sougia.
STEP ONE: GET TO CRETE
– 11:40 pm flight from Lisbon to Athens, arriving 5:30 a.m.
– 6:00 am bus to the port, arriving 7:00-ish
– 7:10 am, realize there is no boat to Crete until 9:30 pm, but there is a boat to Santorini at 7:30am
– 7:30 am, board the boat to Santorini, hope to get a ride from there to Crete
– 3:30 pm, arrive in Santorini port, get in a van to Tony’s Villa. Tony “The Legend” drives and talks
– 6:00 pm, talk to boat ticket agent who says there’s no way to know about boats a day ahead
– 10:30 am, inquire about boats to Crete, still no information but maybe they know in the port
– 10:35 am, drive to the port, even less information, boats to Milos cancelled due to weather (weather looks great to me…)
– 11:45 am, drive to Oia, enjoy a gyro and the view of the caldera (see caldera below, plus bonus view of beautiful wife)
– 2:00 pm, drive to capital of Fira, ask about tickets to Crete. “Um, I don’t know, it doesn’t look good. I will have to make a call.” She makes a call, no answer. We wait. There are still two seats on a 6:00pm boat. Hooray!
– 6:00 pm, the boat has not arrived, two other boats to Crete are in the harbor, having a hard time getting people on and off due to high wave situation
– 7:45 pm, the two boats to Crete that are not ours have finally gotten people off and then on and have now left, making room for our boat
– 8:15 pm, we board our boat to Crete, it is only half full and we wonder why those tickets were so hard to come by. The boat begins to rock from side to side. Violently.
– 8:30 pm, boat leaves the port, still rocking violently from side to side and now front to back as well
– 8:35 pm, boat engine stops
– 8:40 pm, boat engine starts again
– 8:45 pm, boat increases speed, rocking increases tenfold, puking commences
– 10:00 pm, 95% of the passengers have utilized the special bags that were passed out by the crew, including Cris and me
– 11:30 pm, the 2-hour journey concludes after 3 hours of pain
STEP TWO: FIGURE OUT THE REST
– 11:50 pm, the first two places do not have rooms, Hotel Irini has a room, take it
– 12:05 am, look for food, feel lucky that a convenience store is open, wait, there’s a happy noise around the corner – a restaurant is open! Enjoy delicious Greek fare.
– 1:00 am, get to bed. Where do we go tomorrow and how do we get there? Figure it out in the morning.
– 9:00 am, wake up, fall asleep, wake up, shower, nap in shower, get out of shower
– 9:40 am, get coffee/breakfast, buy map, rent tiny car.
– 11:40 am, check out and pick up tiny car (see car below)
– 12:00 pm, drive to Paliohora via Hania – “just follow the signs to Hania”
– 12:40 pm, realize you went the wrong way
– 1:20 pm, back to square one, realize there are no signs to Hania
– 3:20 pm, get to Hania, stop for directions to Paliohora, verify directions to Paliohora
– 3:40 pm, begin drive over mountain to south side of the island on extremely curvy road, remember how you felt last night on the boat
– 4:40 pm, arrive in sleepy beach town of Paliohora, realize this was a good idea after all (see picture below)
– 7:00 am, wake up and get breakfast buffet worth every penny
– 8:45 am, begin hike to Sougia, take in perfect weather and views of blue sea, beaches, cliffs, Mediterranean awesomeness, realize that this was the best idea ever, arrive in even sleepier beach town of Sougia and reaffirm the fact that this was the best idea ever. Enjoy a drink on the beach. (See pictures below).