Summer of freedom – week 1 – Stavros to Rethymno – Crete

How did we end up here? How is this my reality? Is this really happening? All questions I have been trying to get my head around this week.

Dream. Believe. Go.

So far here’s what I have come up with – it starts with an idea, it becomes a dream… and the rest is up to you whether you turn that dream into reality.

Turns out we did it, we made it real – this is it; a looooong hot summer of fun & freedom is finally ours, skipping around Europe at our leisure, no fixed plans – perfect.

We have no grand intentions, we are not travelling half way round the world, we have no such desire to see ‘everywhere’ and ‘everything’. The only plan we have is to take time out of our usual hectic lifestyles to please ourselves and reconnect with each other and with life… and of course we plan to enjoy the view & share our experiences along our way.

Week one: Greece – Crete: Stavros to Rethymno

Why Crete? Simple – for a long time I have had this romantic dream of Island hopping and an ‘eternal’ summer white sands, crystal clear waters, seafood & beautiful sunsets – we took our honeymoon in Santorini in 2009, which is probably at least in part where this dream began.

We decided against throwing a dart at a map of the Greek Islands to pick a starting point, instead we opted for the method of  ‘where’s the cheapest to fly’ – at the time we were booking, it was Crete. And now… here we are.

First beers in Crete - on the beach - under the stars at Thanasis Taverna.

First beers in Crete – on the beach – under the stars – Thanasis Taverna – Stavros

We arrived late Wednesday evening in Chania airport (too late for a bus) – thankfully the lovely George at Zorba Hotel had pre-organised this for us & it was close by so didn’t cost us too much (around 25 euro). We arrived in complete darkness, except for the stars – thankfully the beach taverna was still open and were more than happy to feed us (despite it being close to midnight) & provided us with very welcome cold beers – this was our first taste of the wonderful Greek hospitality.

Office with a view No.1

Office with a view No.1

Next morning, after taking breakfast by the pool, looking out to sea,  we checked out the rest of our surroundings and loved it. The hotel offers great rates (only around £30 p/night when we booked) & while our room was fairly basic – e.g shower is sometimes hot, sometimes not, we really couldn’t complain for the location and general facilities on offer. The beds were comfy & rooms have a little kitchenette & fridge so were were quite happy. If anything, we were disappointed we’d only booked for 2 nights, so before we left we re-booked for another week to return after a week at our next stay near Rethymno. George was kind enough to ‘do us a deal’ he keeping the same price (despite it having increased since we originally booked up) in addition, he upgraded us to a bigger apartments, that was also right on the beach front.
Our first (of many) sunsets Zorbas Hotel - Stavros - Crete

Our first (of many) sunsets Zorbas Hotel – Stavros – Crete

Friday we left Stavros for Rethymno by bus.  I’m not usually a fan of public transport – but the buses were air-conditioned and more of a coach than a regular bus so our ride was very comfortable. We had to change buses in Chania (we soon learnt Chania is pro-nounced “Han-ya”) we had a while to wait before our connection, but restricted by the weight of our backpacks & the soaring heat of 32 degrees and increasing when we arrived; we decided to stay put in the nicely air-conditioned bus station.

Arriving at Rethymno we took a cab to our next stay in a little village called Agia Paraskevi, nearby Adele, where we were to stay with a lovely couple who we found on airbnb.  The place was a total steal (price wise) & the restored accommodation was wonderfully charming, it’s rustic, yet set up with all the modern conveniences we needed. It’s attached (but self-contained) to the stone cottage where our hosts live. We had a week here of pretty much nothing but chilling out, adjusting to the local pace of life; waking up late, eating breakfast late, a little sunbathing, planning some of our next moves (this places has free wifi – thankfully!), siesta, watched a movie, sunbathed a little more, ate a little more, scrabble, sleep – you get the drift? It was bliss!

Well – almost. Who says paradise is perfect? Sunbathing on the terrace (with a perfect sea view btw) came with some minor perils; being remote & in the countryside, dodging ‘mutant’ size resident black bees was *ahem* fun!  We ate out too of course, in the local little Tavernas, only twice, but on both occasions (at different locations) it cost us only 5 euros – that’s total, for both of us, including drinks (beers and Raki) – our jaws dropped, we could hardly believe it.

Our host, Jackie was kind enough to run is into Rethymno one day, so we took the opportunity to explore the old town, check out the Venetian Fortezza, hang out with the ‘cool-kids’ and ‘beautiful people’ at “Home” cafe / bar by the sea, beneath the Fortezza.

Home - Cafe / Bar where all the cool & beautiful people of Rethymno hang-out

Home – Cafe / Bar                              where all the cool & beautiful people of Rethymno hang-outThe Venetian Fortezza of Rethymno The Venetian Fortezza of Rethymno       Exploring the back-streets of Rethymno's Old-TownExploring the back-streets of Rethymno’s Old-Town

At Home, the “chairs” are made up of stacked palates, with squishy cushions piled on top & the “tables” are palates attached to an aluminium frame; it was quite a ‘hip’ little place.  And YES, I do realise that by virtue of the fact that I’m calling it ‘hip’, it means that I’m way too old (not to mention un-cool) to be hanging out there, but I didn’t mind – I just thought YOLO!

*for those equally as un-cool as me (and the generally less-informed) – “YOLO” means:

‘You Only Live Once’

Back next week with another update…

Read Week Two: Rethymnon to Heraklion

3 thoughts on “Summer of freedom – week 1 – Stavros to Rethymno – Crete

  1. Pingback: Summer of freedom – week 2 – Rethymno to Heraklion – #Crete | MostlyVictoria

  2. Pingback: Summer of freedom – week 3 – Heraklion to Fira – #Santorini | MostlyVictoria

  3. Pingback: Summer of freedom – week 4 – Fira to Athens – #Greece | MostlyVictoria

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