Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 8: Coming Home

This is my last post for my "Aegean Journey Blog". It's been a lot of work putting it together and staying committed to finishing it. But, just like my "Julia Child Blog" I've actually stuck with it. And now, I have a beautiful archive of photos and a journal of our trip.

Michael and I got our bags all packed the night before because I'm not a morning person, at least not an early, early morning person. Anytime after 8:00 a.m. I'm good to go. We had to get up at 6:00 a.m. get ready for the day, turn in the rental car and check in at our gate at the airport on Crete. On the way to Greece we had only a carry on and a personal bag for each of us. Coming home I had to check in my DVF suitcase. We had Greek wine, raki and other gifts that we couldn't hand carry. Now that the trip was over it didn't matter if they lost my luggage.

When we got to the car rental return, the young man wanted cash for more gas. Michael tried to explain to him that the  tank was between a 1/4 and a 1/2 tank when we picked it up. The young man said it was on a 1/2 tank. The two debated for a few minutes. I couldn't stand it with it still being too early in the morning for nonsense and standing there with a heavy backpack, curbside with my rolling suitcase. I shifted my backpack to a comfortable place on my back and said, "Look, we aren't giving you cash, we returned the car on the mark that it was on when we rented it. We owe you nothing." He said, "Edaxi (okay)." We got everything else settled and the young man hoped we had a nice day and we hoped the same for him and headed to our gate. Still no coffee or breakfast. Thank goodness we still had a half bag of trail mix.

I always get frisked in airports. Even before all the security tightening, I have always gotten singled out and questioned and given the once over. But this time I skated right through and it was Michael that got frisked in Athens. He now knows how it feels to be touched all over by someone you do not know, in front of a bunch of people that you do not know. Not fun.
While waiting for our flight in Athens, Michael walked around to find coffee, while I sat with the bags. He always takes possession of all our important documents, tickets etc. I have no short term memory to speak of and can't remember where I put something just 10 seconds prior to placing it. I glanced down at the passports on top of Michael's suitcase and only saw one. When he returned I asked him, "Why is there only one passport?" Michael looked worried. I picked up the passport and saw that it was mine and then Michael looked real worried. Was he stuck in Athens? This elevated his airport anxieties to a whole new level. He shuffled things around and found his passport. With a sigh of relief he plopped down in the seat next to me and neither of us budged for the next 30 minutes. At least we had coffee. It wasn't a frappe, but it was a coffee.

Then we boarded our flight to head to Paris. We had just enough time to exit the Athens plane and find the terminal and gate and board our next plane. We ran through the airport and made it to the gate just in time.
Heading back to our home in America.

Airplane food is gross. It's barely a step up from the military MRE's. I had lots of water and avoided most of the food. I'm not generally a picky eater, but I'm just not sure what's in that airplane food. The pretzels were awesome though!
We finally made it home after a 24 hour trip with the time change. It worked out perfect for it to be midnight we walked in our house. We scurried around and put away what we could and then went to bed.

Thank you Michael for the trip of a lifetime. I'm looking forward to the next 28 years of our marriage and sharing all the adventure. Follow more of our adventures and trips here 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 7: The Lassithi Journey

Our last full day on the island. The way we had our tripped all planned out on the first several blog entries and what we actually did are not the same. It was good to have a guideline and a game plan to fall back on but flying by the seat of our pants is what we do best.  I think we had just as much if not more fun than we had intended to. One of our goals was to hit all four prefectures. And we accomplished that.
On the seventh day of our trip we were awaken in the middle of the night by a scratching sound. I heard it first, woke Michael up and we both flipped on the lights and started searching the rooms and opening the shutters to the window to see if someone was trying to get open them. After much searching we found the culprit. Michael had put a seashell in his swimming trunks' pocket and then forgot about it. Turns out it wasn't just a seashell. We got back to sleep, got up the next morning to return the sea critter back to the sea.
Our last day on the island we were greeted by Liza's cats. They frolicked on the patio while everyone ate breakfast. Every morning the two cats rolled until they fell out of chairs and off of railings but didn't miss a beat canoodling and always landed on their feet. 

More frolicking among the yin and the yang, the striped version anyway.

Our last morning to eat breakfast at Erivolo's Apartment. I absolutely indeed ordered a frappe and Liza served it with a piece of her warm cake, fresh out of the oven. We ordered our usual omelet. Because, by now we're addicted to them.

We headed to Lassithi to shop and stroll the streets of St. Nikolaos. We found the most unusual bookstore. We picked up some neat little souvenirs and then ventured on to other shops.
The view from one end of the street to the other. St. Nikolaos is a more upscale shopping area.
Michael spotted a bakery. We wanted to pick up some pastries or sweets for Liza. We each got a gelato (ice cream), and then I spotted the gelo candies. We bought a bag of those too. 
We bought a keychain for a friend in the states. He and his family show nothing but kindness to us. He has went out of his way more than once to do things for me and my husband. This seemed like the perfect gift for someone who loves and protects his family at home and at church.
I got this for my daughter in law. She collects owls. This is a replica of an ancient owl carved out of a unique onyx.
After much strolling we were ready to take a break. We stopped at this little sidewalk bistro and ate a light lunch.
The owner asked me to go in and take a look at the food he had to offer for lunch. We settled for the lighter lunch; Greek Salad.
While we were eating this beautifully green door caught my eye.
Michael went over to check it out.
We weren't sure of what to think abou the vespas and motorcycles that freely pull up to the tables to chat with their friends. We strolled the streets a little more and then headed back to the apartments to rest.
We got freshened up and went downstairs to give Liza her bakery goods. This is by far one of my favorite moments of our vacation. I will always treasure this photo and the wonderful conversation Liza and I had on our last evening on the island. I absolutely adore her. She is everything I wish I could be. She is warm, friendly, kind, giving, loving, humble and most of all happy. She not only made us coffee but she insisted that we share her baked goods that we bought for her.
While Liza and I were talking, Michael captured this magnificent view of the sun setting behind the mountain by Lygaria Beach.
One of the tavernas at Lygaria Beach. We ate here for our last evening meal. As we were walking down to the beach to get to the taverna, a Greek Church was letting out after services. Some of the families came here to eat. It was quite an experience sitting amongst a restaurant full of Greek families enjoying their time together. It's usually tourist in the restaurants and tavernas. I have a video of with the Greek families that were here while we were eating. I hope to find a way to flip it right side up so I can post it on this blog.
We ordered swordfish for our last meal. It was delicious. Eating in this taverna with all the Greek families around us reminded me of the Olive Garden commercial, "When you're here you're with family".

Just one more entry left and my blog will be complete. 
Doesn't all this make you want to drop everything and fly to Crete?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 6: Heraklion Journey Continues

 Every morning we walk by this beautiful bush that's right outside our apartment door. I've never seen anything like it and would love to know the name of it. The walkway to and from our apartment is like walking through a garden in paradise. Everything is so vibrant and beautiful. 

With our Greek wine purchase in hand we headed back to Kokkini Hani to reciprocate their generosity and kindness. This time Michael dared to drive through the narrow dirt roads so that he could legally park in the apartment driveway. Katherine was excited to see us again. We handed her the bottle of red wine and she smiled and greeted us with the customary kiss on each cheek. We let her know that we couldn't stay since we were on our way to the Knossos Site. We hugged her again and said goodbye and thanked her for her kindness that she had shown. 


 We started walking towards the garden to let Yorgo know that we were there and to say our goodbyes to him as well. We were talking to him and getting pictures, and here come Katherine running down the dirt road to give us a special bottle of Raki that they had made. She asked Yorgo if it was okay. He let her know that it was fine.

 This is the fruit of the cactus that they shared with us on our first visit. This is their actual cactus plant that is growing in their garden.

 The sun shining through their grapevine. 

 This is Michael sitting in the Knossos Horns in 1984. It's roped off now so that no one can climb on it or touch it.

That's us silhouetted in the doorway to the Knossos Palace summer of 1984. It too is now roped off and access is denied.

Another view of the palace from 1984. It too is now roped off from the public.

 That's Michael now in front of the bull horns, notice the ropes cordoning off access.

That's me wondering why we can't touch anything. I'm sure they are preserving the island treasure. But I have to say Knossos was way more fun back in the day when you could climb and walk through the entire palace and archaeological site. We breezed through Knossos...

...and then headed for Matala. This is the beach that has the hippie caves. 

Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchel and other cool singers from the 60's and 70's hung out in the caves.

This is what it looks like going into the caves.

This is what it looks like looking through the cave.


This is what I fell in love with back in September 1983.

This is my guy today.


Before leaving Matala Beach we ate lunch at the Dolphin Taverna.

After a full afternoon of swimming and  the wind in my hair we are heading back to the apartments to rest. Then we were off to the cove where we had went rock climbing the day before. With our swimsuits on this time we headed out to swim and snorkel.

 That's me working my way to the deeper water. 

One of the highlights of my summer is that I learned to swim. I'm no longer afraid of swimming in the somewhat deep water.


Here I am searching for shells and looking at all the colorful fish.

I'm suddenly aware that I am being photographed.

The day was productive, I found a little something at the bottom of the sea. Lygaria Beach is one of our favorite places on the island. Michael did some snorkeling as well and gathered a few small shells. I never take pictures around water for fear of dropping the camera.

We got back on dry land and got cleaned up and headed to the boardwalk on the other side of Lygaria Beach and took a photo of Michael being happy.

Taking in the view from the dining area of the Erivolo Apartments before our big fancy dinner.

The view from a different angle. We took in the view knowing that in a few days we would be back in the states with only photos and memories of Crete.

Michael and I got dressed up and headed to El Greco in St. Pelagio.
No matter which way we looked, this was a fine restaurant.

Just a glimpse at the beautiful tables and Michael looking over the menu. We ordered Swordfish, Steak, salad, fried cheese and a very fine wine selected by our waiter.