My Big Fat Greek Holiday (Crete)

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This is my last big fat Greek holiday post.  Probably for this lifetime, because I can’t imagine going back, or even flying across the ocean again.  With three days left in our HOE-liday (at one of the little shops someone had painted on the parking area ‘Enjoy your stay, Happy Hoeliday) I bought a hat.  It’s a white visor with ‘Santorini/Greece’ written all over it in silver, with a brim about ten times bigger than an old-fashioned little girls bonnet.  And there’s a ribbon tie at the back.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  So if you know anyone who needs a good hoeliday hat, I could be persuaded to part with it.

We arrived at the Albatross Spa and Resort Hotel in Heraklion, Crete, after nine o’clock at night following our last long ferry trip and about a thirty minute bus ride.  The rooms here lacked Greek-ness.  They could have been anywhere, really.  There was a shortage of hot water and loud live entertainment in the courtyard until well after eleven at night.  See how you can tell it’s all winding down by how whiney I’ve become?  If we had arrived in Crete first I probably would have loved it more.

On Saturday my nieces opted for a relaxing pool day and a walk to the beach, and the rest of us braved the public transport system and got ourselves to Knossos.  The first thing we did there was sit down at a street-side restaurant for lunch.  By now this will not come as a surprise to anyone since 80% of our trip appears to have been spent sitting down and eating.  Then we paid six euros entrance admission per person to this bronze age archeological site and once through the gates were strongly urged to pay another ten euros per person for a guided tour.  We decided to wander around on our own and learn as little as possible.  There were a lot of rocks and ruins.  We saw a peacock.  The sun was really hot.  We congratulated ourselves on six euros well spent and hit the gift shops.

This is where I bought a cute little chess set.  I don’t even play chess.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t admire the cuteness of Zeus and Athena and the Spartan warriors. There are some very persuasive shop owners in this country.

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Sunday, the 25th of May we were up early to catch yet another bus, this one taking us to the Imbros Gorge.  Here’s what the brochure says.

This gentle walk lasts about 2 hours and takes you through the captivating countryside, passing mountain villages and the impressive White Mountains.  At the end of the Gorge is Komitades village, where you will have free time for lunch.  Afterwards, drive to Frangokastelo, an old Venetian castle, where your guide will tell you all about its interesting past before you go for a swim in the Libyan Sea. 

Here’s what actually happened.  Our guide told us the eight kilometre walk was not an easy one, down hill over very rocky terrain.  She made it sound sufficiently horrendous that when I was given the option to ride down the hill with two French-speaking ladies (one of them had a cane) I completely chickened out and got back on the bus.  The others all did it in a little over two hours while I sat around drinking water and lemonade.  I regret this not one little bit.  Because when the walk was over my family informed me that I would not have enjoyed that at all.  Which I took to mean I would have been a complaining pain in the ass all the way down and they had a much better time without me.

I don’t remember any castle.  Did we see a castle?  And I wasn’t out in the sun for eight km either.  I do remember some crazy Libyan Sea swimmers, but I wasn’t one of them either.  I was impressed by some interesting washroom doors though, so the trip certainly wasn’t wasted on me.

On the 26th we were homeward bound.  Bus at five a.m. to get to the airport, one hour flight from Crete to Athens.  About a three-hour wait to board the Transat flight from Athens to Toronto.  Nine or so hours in the air watching movies and tv shows and playing games on a touch television screen.  I never even thought about sleeping.  Our flight arrived 45 minutes early in Toronto.  That meant almost a six-hour wait for my next flight, but I was able to change it to an earlier one.  Thank you WestJet.  Then there was another three-hour flight home.  With nine hours mysteriously added to the day.  A cab ride home I barely remember.  And then sleep consumed me.

I had one day to deal with jet lag and then it was back to work for four days, one day off, and three more days of work.  And here I am, still alive and in relatively good humor.  Amazing.

I’m glad I went on this trip and I know I’m lucky and blessed and privileged to have been there and done that and gotten back home safe and sound.  Now can I just stay at home forever and never go anywhere again?  Except for our trip to Ontario this summer of course;  that doesn’t count.  I mean flying across oceans.  I think I’d like to be done with ocean crossing and messing around with time zones and figuring out other country’s plumbing.

Thank you for listening and commenting and looking at my photos.  I’m off now to reply to comments that are so old you’ve forgotten you made them.

Just Jazzy 179

“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”
― Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home

There's no escaping Christmas.  You can close your eyes and refuse to see it, but you probably won't be able to stop feeling it in your heart.

There’s no escaping Christmas. You can close your eyes and refuse to see it, but it’s almost impossible to stop feeling it in your heart.


 

Just Jazzy Advent Calendar

Vignette For A November Birthday

New Baby Girl

My brother is twelve, I am nine, and my little sister is six.  We are playing a noisy board game at the kitchen table, waiting for our parents to come home with the new baby.  My brother is appalled that it’s just another girl when he so fervently wished for a brother.  I’m happy I’ll no longer be the only middle child, and excited to help look after her.  We don’t know how Ann feels about the situation because she hasn’t said much, but we are about to find out.

We think it’s odd when there’s a loud knocking on the farmhouse door.  If it’s our parents surely they would walk right in, and we aren’t expecting any other visitors.  Ann jumps up and runs to investigate.  We hear the door open and immediately slam shut.  Who was it? Who was there? we ask her.  She plunks herself back down, frowns and folds her arms.  NOBODY, she says.

But the door is opened up again and mom and dad are suddenly there in the hallway in their winter coats, stomping the snow off their boots.  They’ve apparently had second thoughts about the planned surprise grand entrance in which all of us were supposed to let them in with a warm welcome and open arms.  They come into the kitchen and Mom carefully unwraps her big pink bundle so that my brother and I can have our first peek at the new arrival.  Ann is looking quite cross and kicking the table leg.

Why did you say it was nobody? Don’t you want to see the baby? Oh, look, she’s all red and wrinkly and she has lots of black hair!  Come see her, she’s so cute!

Ann still refuses to budge.  THAT BABY IS NOT SITTING AT MY PLACE AT THE TABLE she announces.  I roll my eyes. Her place at the table is beside our dad.  She refuses to sit anywhere else.  I tell her it will be months before the baby is big enough to sit anywhere and wonder why she’s being a brat.

But Dad gives her a big bear hug and tells her she has nothing at all to worry about.  No one but our little Annie gets to sit in that very special place. Her arms unfold and the hint of a smile crosses her face as she relents, and leans in to look at her tiny rival for the very first time.  She tells the baby she’s sorry about the door.

But she will never give in about her place at the table.  Never.  We can all see the firm resolution written all over her stern little face.