After Athens, we headed out to explore some of the amazing and beautiful Greek Islands! Our overnight ferry from Athens arrived to the port of Chania, Crete at 6am on June 12th – my 30th Birthday!!
In case you missed it:
- Europe Trip Part 1 – Paris
- Europe Trip Part 2 – Amsterdam
- Europe Trip Part 3 – Venice
- Europe Trip Part 4 – Florence
- Europe Trip Part 5 – Cinque Terre & Pisa
- Europe Trip Part 6 – Tuscany
- Europe Trip Part 7 – Rome
- Europe Trip Part 8 – Athens
Once we disembarked the ferry, we found our car rental guy holding a sign with our name, just as they said they would. We followed him to our mini bus and got a quick lesson on how to drive the mini bus. Unfortunately, we forgot to take the emergency brake off so we drove around town for a bit with the emergency brake on, which caused the two back hub caps to melt and fall off. When we got to a stoplight, a man drove up beside us and informed us that the hubcaps had fallen off. So we went back to look for them and we found both of them on the side of the road and realized they had melted and were not able to be put back on. What a way to start our journey in Crete!
We began our drive to our hotel, Mythos Apartments near Ammoudi Beach, with a stop in Rethymno for breakfast. Along the drive, we stopped to take pictures of the island, including planking on a wall.
Once we arrived at our hotel, Mythos Apartments, we were immediately greeted by one of the owners, Adreas. He greeted us warmly, had us sit down at the outdoor restaurant and got us drinks; introduced us to his family, who also works at the hotel and lives nearby. His sister showed us to our rooms, which are very nice.
I did not have a pleasant experience with the shower as you see the curtain really doesn’t do anything and the shower head would not stay in place so the entire bathroom ended up soaked, but apparently that is just the way of things in Greece!
We then took the short walk down to the beach and inquired about paddle boarding, before setting out on a walking journey to Plakias to have lunch. Adreas had told us it was a 20 minute walk but the paddle boarding guy told us it was 45 minutes. It took us about 1.5 hours to walk to the restaurant. It was really hot and sunny and we did not bring a lot of water with us.
We ate at The Sofia, which was recommended to us and it was really good. Again, we had way too much food with appetizers of tzatziki, fried cheese with honey, Greek salad, and zucchini balls before our entrees. I had a stuffed burger with bacon, tomatoes, and cheese.
For dessert, they brought me a birthday sundae of ice cream with chocolate sauce and a lit candle. They also brought watermelon, which was really good on a hot day.
After lunch, we took cabs back to the hotel because we were all exhausted and didn’t want to walk back in the heat. Some of our group rested while the others went down to the beach and practiced the art of doing nothing and took some more pictures on the beach.
Afterwards, we headed down to the hotel restaurant, where we were going to have drinks and play cards for a bit until we were hungry enough for dinner. But that didn’t happen! Adreas took our order and began to bring LOTS of food. So much food! We did family style and got a lot of dishes for the table but he brought way too much of everything. Greek salad, lamb cooked in tomato sauce, moussaka, and roasted potatoes in olive oil; grilled seabass and seawolf, seafood risotto, mixed veggies, and veggie risotto. OH MY!
After we were done eating, they turned out the lights and Adreas brought out a birthday cake with a question mark candle (for age) and two sparklers and they sang and clapped for me. Adreas’ sister Ava made the cake and it was really, really good! Happy birthday to ME!!
Also had some wine, of course! (That’s Adreas)
There was a bit of traditional Greek dancing and also some card and magic tricks to end the night. It was a wonderful way to celebrate my 30th birthday and our first night in Crete! I cannot say enough about Mythos Apartments but definitely if you are ever in Crete, stay there!!
The next morning, we slept in and leisurely got ready before heading down to the restaurant for breakfast. As soon as we sat down, the food began to flow! We had bread with jam, butter and honey. Also, hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, cucumbers and tomatoes, ham and cheese, blocks of pound cake, orange juice, blocks of Feta cheese, and coffee. The Greek yogurt blended with honey was really good!
After breakfast, we headed to the beach where we rented our Goliath (pronounced GO-LEE-ITH) and some beach chairs. The Goliath is a family-sized paddle board, which the rental guy said is “very funny”. Luckily, we were able to just step on board from the beach and then we were afloat.
There were some mishaps and some falling down. We also didn’t make it very far from the beach and the waves kept pushing us back in. But all in all, it was a fun (and funny!) experience!
After the Goliath, we relaxed on the beach for a while but it was not as hot and sunny as the day before. Once we were ready, we drove the mini bus to Plakias to find a quick lunch. As we were leaving the hotel parking lot, we had a small wall collision and took off part of the back bumper. Luckily the wall was not hurt and we found the piece of bumper when we returned. We added it to the pile of pieces that had fallen off the mini bus. Later, we headed out to find a beautiful gorge on the island, but we came into some trouble again because of the large size of our mini bus!
We finished the night off with more food and drink at Mythos Apartments restaurant. The next morning we had breakfast again before heading off to our next stop – Heraklion, Crete.
We had some nice views of the coast along the drive. When we got to Heraklion, we tried to drive to the hotel but the streets were super narrow with cars parked on both sides. There was nowhere to park at the hotel so we drove the mini bus to the port parking lot and called the rental company to come and get it because we were done!! I do NOT recommend getting such a large vehicle while in Europe LOL.
We walked our luggage up to the hotel and checked in. We were staying one night at the Lato Boutique Hotel, which was very nice and had wonderful showers! From the hotel, we walked around town to shop and eat before taking taxis to Knossos Palace ruins. At the ruins, we had a tour that lasted about 1.5 hours and was very good. Our guide was masterful at answering all our questions. We were fascinated that the ruins were 5000 years old. We walked on the oldest paved road in Europe.
After the tour, we took taxis back towards the hotel where we stopped at the Fortress. The Fortress is not open to go inside so we walked along the coastline outside of the fortress.
Afterwards, we walked around the city center and then headed back to the hotel for our rooftop dinner reservations. The dinner was fantastic!! We had potato fritters, pancetta, and a salad for appetizers. They also gave us a basket of bread with an olive spread and a cheese spread. For entrees, we had sea bass, fillet, salmon, risotto, and pasta. The fillet and salmon were SO GOOD!!!
We also had red and white house wine. And for dessert, we got one of each dessert (4) and they were all very good. Apple crisp with vanilla ice cream, mille vanille, panacotta, a strawberry chocolate mousse tart thing with mango sorbet, and they brought us mini brownies on the house as well as more ouzo.
We were stuffed and went to bed shortly after dinner.
The Greek island of Crete was a wonderful experience of true Greek hospitality and amazing food! What a fantastic way to start off the tour of Greek islands and to celebrate my 30th birthday in style!
Stay tuned as next we head to Santorini!!!