Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 3: The Rethymnon Journey

Day 3 we hit the Rethymnon Prefecture. That's two prefectures down and two to go.

After eating such a huge, authentic and delicious Greek meal the night before, Michael and I slept like a rock. We got up and started our day by staying in our jammies and relaxing on the terrace with grapes and water. That's me washing the grapes...

 ...while Michael takes pictures from the terrace. This is the stairs leading to the restaurant/office part of the apartments.

More of the amazing view from the terrace. That's the eating area on the right. We sat and talked for about an hour and made notes for my blog and then decided that we really should eat a good breakfast since we had a big day ahead of us in Rethymnon. Liza made us omeletes, coffee and a frappe. I've gotten really hooked on the frappes now that I'd had a strong one the day before at the beach. Liza starts the breakfast meal with a piece of fresh raisin cake and some fruit. I googled the cake and it's called "Fanouropita". The recipe looks fairly easy and it calls for pretty basic and standard kitchen ingredients. I may have to make one of these. The ham and cheese omelet is served with a dollop of Greek yogurt and sliced tomato. The orange juice is fresh. Everything on the island of Crete is served fresh and a lot of taverna owners have their own garden.

With our tummies full, we hit the road and headed for Rethymnon. Our agenda had us mapped to go to Kourtaliotiko Gorge.

Just the walk from the parking lot to the beginning of the trail was very steep. We walked about a mile or so and then realized we had to climb back up the steep incline. So, we relaxed by the water for a while contemplating on whether or not I should attempt it.

We just happen to catch what appeared to be two gypsies, authentic gypsies. Not what we in America perceive as a gypsy. They appeared to be very stealth like in the way they walked and they were very comfortable with the terrain and in excellent shape. I'm pretty sure they lived off of the land and perhaps off of other unsuspecting people. 

He is barefooted and she has on flip flops. They moved very quickly and were gone in the blink of an eye. In Greece a gypsy doesn't mean the same thing as it does in America, free spirited. In Greece a gypsy is a thief. 

This was our ultimate goal. But, I had trouble breathing with the high winds, the altitude and the steep climb. So we just kept the hike at a few miles and then headed back to the car.  We still had several days to go on our trip so we thought it best to pace ourselves. 

On our way back to the car I spotted several herbs growing wild along the path. I believe this is Rosemary. But in all honesty, I know very little about herbs and this could actually be oregano or no real herb at all. Feeling a bit defeated, we headed into the town of Rethymnon.


We found a cafeteria type taverna and ate lunch.  Neither of us can remember the name of the place. The food was good. I had Greek style pasta and Michael had chicken. 

This photo is a post card that we bought. While walking along the Old Town of Rethymnon, we stumbled across a supermarket and bought ourselves a bottled water. While we were standing in line, each with our huge bottle of water in our arms, I spotted the candy section. If you know me at all you will know that as a child I spent most of my allowance on candy. And as an adult I spend most of my money on candy. 


Greek candies, pastries, desserts and such are generally not sweet enough for me. So I carefully scanned the bags to try to find something that had enough sugar in it. And then I saw the Gelo candy. It was love at first sight. It was like Michael didn't exist anymore. Owning a bag of Gelo candies was all that I cared about. There isn't a candy that I haven't heard of and/or tried. I'd go back to the Kourtaliotiko and hike it in it's entirety if I knew there would be a bag of Gelo waiting for me at the end of the gorge. I had to try this candy. We paid in full and the minute we stepped outside I ripped the candy bag open and got us each a piece. HEAVEN!!! 

We walked around Rethymnon but yet again, our shopping was stymied by the daily rest. With my hand jammed in my candy bag we headed back to the car and decided to head back to the apartments and do a little resting ourselves.

 Michael adores any culture that naps in the middle of the day. I quite generally can't get settled down enough to fall asleep in the during the day. While Michael rested, I grabbed the tablet and attempted to blog. That's the Writtenhouse in me. We can't handle letting something get the best of us. After much frustration yet again, blogging just wasn't going to happen so I woke Michael up and suggested we go downstairs and have a frappe and coffee. You can see the jiggle in his arm from me waking him up by taking his picture. Good thing he is always a happy chap when he wakes up.

We freshened up a bit and headed to downtown Heraklion for dinner. We strolled the streets. I was impressed how quickly Michael fell into the rhythm of the driving. Driving on the National Roads is one thing, but driving in the congested downtown very narrow roads is clearly another.

We had a difficult time getting our bearings. The streets were filled with a much younger crowd. It reminded me of when the county fair came to my hometown, it was that crowded and that festive on the streets. We spotted this taverna, I can't pronounce the name of it. But if you look at the photo below...

...right above Michael's head is the name of the taverna.

This is how the pork is carved for souvlaki. The food was excellent. I got a Greek Salad. Michael got a gyro. The gyro are not the same as they were years ago. Now they fold the fries up with the meat, yogurt and tomatoes. I think the old way of the fries on the side makes for an easier way to eat it and a much more enjoyable way to savor the flavor of the gyro. But, on the other hand it is quicker and easier to serve it at a stand such as this one. No plate needed with it two items folded into one. 

The more we got into the evening, I started feeling uncomfortable being downtown amongst all the young locals and tourists. It was clearly time for the older folks to retire for the evening. That's my look of apprehension, intimidation and just plain uncomfortable.

We shopped at a few of the antiquity stores. I was glad that we took the time to do that. One of the things that I always regretted not getting while on the Island of Crete is this figurine of the three girls. I don't know what it is called or the story behind it. But, nearly 30 years ago, I kept putting off buying it until I realized I was back in America and never bought it. One of my goals was met that night.  I also bought a striped canvas apron with olives and the word "Crete" embroidered on it.

We returned to the apartment and went for our walk along Lagyria Beach. This time we walked along the beach closer to the water. This is one of the nicer beaches. It's one of the gulfs located by Heraklion along the Aegean Sea (Sea Of Crete). The trip at this point became much more relaxing. We were well rested from the flight and I gave up fighting the urge to blog while on the trip. It was at this very moment that we went to bed realizing that we needed enjoy every moment of this unique journey. We woke up the next morning with a whole new outlook and a different attitude towards our vacation and each other.

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