T Minus 86
Nineteen years ago we headed off on honeymoon. It was our first holiday abroad as a couple. We travelled to Malia on the Northern Coast of Crete – in high season this is a busy resort full of young people. In May it is a little quieter, but with enough life to give it a good vibe.
We arived at ‘Dedalos’ Hotel at 5am in the morning! Malia was to be our home for the duration of our honeymoon.Our hotel for the week was back from the coastal strip but close enough to the beach. We found a hairdressers ‘Anita’ juist round the corner from our hotel.
Outside the hotel and also down by the beach were lovely palm trees.
Malia Old Town
We much prefered the old town to the coastal strip which was a bit too ‘English’ for our tastes – we came to Crete to embrace Greek culture not to sit in bars drinking beer and eating fish and chips. So most evenings we found a local Taverna and had a Greek meal. The food was fantastic = we enjoyed sampling stifado, souvlaki and soutzoukakia to name but a few of the delicacies.
Here in the capital of Crete we spent a morning wandering the harbour, and enjoyed looking at the Venetian fort which has a sculpture of the lion of St Mark on all 4 walls.
The reason for visiting Iraklion was to travel to the Knossos. This Minoan Palace was the centre of a civilisation which flourished 10000 years ago. We were shown around by a guide who made the place come alive. She explained that the double headed axe was the Minoan symbol for sacrifice – similar to the cross in the Christian faith.
Knossos – Crete
The beach was an obvious ‘must’ and Malia had a lovely sandy beach with clean warm water. We bought a disposable underwater camera with which to take some fun shots (long before digital cameras of course). We also decide to splash out on Parascending it was great fun.
We decided to head out to a local water park – but thinking it was fairly nearby we decided not to take a taxi (which was very expensive) and there was no bus. So we decide to walk. It took us a couple of hours to walk 7.5km up into the hills in the hot sun, but it was worth it. There were numerous water slides, lazy rides and crazy rides we had a fabulous time. Fortunately there was a bus back!
One of the highlights of our holiday was a day trip cruising to Santorini and back. We got up at 4am to catch the bus to Agios Nikolaos where we caught the cruise ship. It was a 4 hour trip and we were accompanied by the sounds of Abba’s Greatest Hits all the way there. We docked at the harbour and looked high up the cliffs at the capital, Thira, right up the top. We decided the best way to get there was to go by donkey – it looked like it would be a long slow climb, but the donkeys ‘beetled’ up the mountain like there was no tomorrow and we were soon there. The view from the top was magnificent. The whitewashed stone buildings accompanied by deep blue roofs, doors and window shutters. There were a maze of side streets threading through the town and we followed these stopping off at a café and enjoying an ice cream.
After lunch we headed off to a volcanic island in the centre of the bay. Here we walked through ‘fields’ of black ash searching for the crater. It was so hot!
Someone even offered to take a photo of us together – in this time before ‘selfies’ it was the only photo of us together on honeymoon! Descending back down the mountain we took a plunge into the sulphurous waters, generated by volcanic springs. The water was warm. The t-shirt never recovered!
The journey home we were treated to a fabulous sunset and some Greek dancing.
One evening we went up into the mountains to a village where we enjoyed a Cretan Night of dancing and Greek cuisine. Beforehand we had the chance to wander around the village of Anapoli and look inside a very ornate Greek Orthodox Church.
Smaller than the Knossos but within cycling distance was the Minoan palace. so we hired bikes and travelled the 3Km. With the help of the guidebook we were able to make sense of the ruins.