We flew from Athens to Turkey to Houston to New Orleans. Long day. I think it was about 20 hours of travel.
The airport in Turkey had an incredible club lounge. We didn’t have much time to spend there, but it was HUGE with a ton of food, drinks etc.
The other thing about the airport in Turkey is that the security situation was super annoying. We didn’t have to go through the general security because we didn’t leave the secure zone but the gate had a completely separate security check. AND, they had two separate lines for men and women. I guess it’s a cultural/religious thing. Justin and James went together, and I went separately. I found it all very inefficient, annoying, and aggravating. They made me take my tablet out of the case (which I didn’t even know how to do). They also made James take his out, but Justin (who had tons of electronics, camera equipment, computers etc) had to do nothing.
Clearly, I was showing too much attitude because Justin gave me a look that told me I better shape up before I wind up in a Turkish prison. THEN, when we were boarding the plane, they told Justin that he had to sit in another seat and didn’t give any more information. Justin goes through alot of painstaking work to book our flights, so that was super annoying. We ended up talking to the flight attendant and everything worked out.
Other than that, the flight was very nice. The food service was very fancy. Justin warns us that we may not be able to fly like this forever. Airlines are making it harder and harder to use these reward miles….. and finding 3 reward seats is getting nearly impossible. But, we will enjoy it while it lasts.
We got home around midnight (New Orleans time). Jet lag hit James and I hard.
Our flight from Crete to Athens was quick and uneventful. We were only spending one night in Athens mainly because that’s where we were flying out from.
We stayed in the Grand Hyatt in Athens. It was a nice change of pace to be back in a hotel. As much as we love the space of vacation rentals, hotels are so easy and the amenities are always appreciated.
There was a very nice club lounge that we all enjoyed.
The main activity in Athens was to visit the Acropolis. It really is incredible. I was a little concerned about the uphill walk with James, but he was a trooper. It was definitely the most touristy thing that we did, but it was well worth it.
When we got back to the hotel, we took our Covid tests and prepared for the journey home. We were sad to leave but definitely ready to see Rex and return to normalcy.
Well, I decided I better wrap up these blog posts on Greece. I pretty much got lazy at the end of the trip and abandoned my blogging 🤣
But, we had some really good moments that are worth writing about.
On our last day in Crete, we traveled to 2 different towns: Aptera and Chania.
Aptera had some ancient ruins that were pretty cool. I can’t remember much detail about the ruins, but I do remember James complaining about the heat 🤦♀️
After Aperta, we drove to Chania.
Chania is an old town with some influences from Venice, Italy. It’s on the water, and we enjoyed walking around the town and the Port. There were many spots in the middle of the town that turned into dig sites for ancient ruins.
We also visited an old Greek church in the center of town and ate at an awesome restaurant called Columbo Kitchen.
We have spent the last couple of days at the beach. It is about a 10 minute drive down the mountain from our Villa. They have chairs set up that we rented, and we spent the day hanging in the water and lounging on the beach (or doing as much lounging as James will allow).
The beach is very large and the water is so clear. Also, it’s a bit warmer than the water in Naxos.
Today, we decided to go to Balos Beach. This beach is typically only reached by a dirt rode and very long hike down the mountain (followed by the inevitable hike back up). However, we were able to take a boat/ jet ski to the beach. Justin and James rode on the jet ski, and I rode in the boat.
It was about 30 minutes to Balos Beach. It was a beautiful ride around the mountains on the Crete coast. James was loving the jet ski ride after being a little hesitant at first.
It was overall a great day, with one little hiccup. On the way back with the jet skis, James busted his face and lip. He looked pretty beat up when we arrived. Of course, he blamed his dad’s driving.
We closed out the day with an incredible meal at Captain Nicolas.
The ferry was about 2 hours behind schedule to pick us up from Naxos. Not too big of a deal, but it did make our arrival in Crete later than we had hoped. Justin upgraded our ferry tickets to the “platinum” level for this ride since it was longer (about 3 hours), but it went by really fast.
The platinum level really wasn’t anything fancy except that we had a big table where we got to play cards. James enjoyed 2 pieces of pizza followed by a donut and the time flew by.
When we got to Crete, it was about 9:30pm. Our rental car was waiting for us at the Port. After a brief explanation about the car, we were on our way. It was about an hour and 15 minutes to Rethymno. The drive would have been fine during the day, buy it was a little nerve racking at night due to the lack of street lights.
We got to our hotel, The Ionia Suites, just after 11pm. James was passed out in the backseat. The hotel was very nice and in a great part of town. We unloaded our stuff and went to bed.
After a nice breakfast, we checked out of the hotel (the was quick) and walked around Rethymno. It has a large beach and an “old town area.”
One quick thing that I have noticed about the Greek people that we have come across (whether in hotel, restaurant, shop etc) is that they are extremely generous. You never feel “nickel and dimed.” They are always throwing in some kind of freebie. Almost all of the meals have ended with a free dessert. The Ionia Suites gave us some handmade coasters. The ceramics shop gave us a magnet.
After we left Rethymno, it was time to head in the direction of our Villa for the next 5 night. We had one stop along the way at Lake Kournas. This is a fresh water lake between some mountains. We rented a paddle boat and enjoyed the beautiful views.
After a bit of confusion, we finally made it to our Villa.
We are looking forward to hanging in Crete as we close out the last leg out our Greek vacay.
The main thing that happened yesterday is that we seemed to stumble across a nude beach. Or perhaps that’s the norm, and we were just staying in a more conservative area? Either way, we decided to walk down Plaka beach from Villa Paradise towards an ice cream shop that was recommended to us from a family that James takes karate with. At first it was just a few nude people, but then the number seemed to increase. I’m talking fully nude. Men, women, good body, bad body….. all if it hanging out.
James didn’t say anything (surprisingly), but we decided to turn back before he got too much of an eyeful. I quickly explained that different cultures do different things, and tried to play it cool. He didn’t question it, and we went on our way.
Today, we take a ferry ride to Crete. The ferry schedule is fairly….loose (as in, we are not EXACTLY sure when it’s going to arrive and leave). We turned in our rental car and sat at a cafe along the the water where we aTe a salad, Tzatziki, and drank some wine.
I haven’t mentioned this yet, but all of the food and wine is extremely reasonable. We got a liter of white wine for 12 euros.
The ferry to Crete is about 3 or 4 hours. We are staying in Rethinmo in Crete for just 1 night (about an hour and a half from the ferry).
The next day we are going to drive to the West side of Crete where we will stay 5 nights.
Then a flight to Athens did 1 night and back to New Orleans!
Everything is going great so far. We have loved Naxos.
So, I have some mixed feelings about blogging/ social media posting. On the one hand, the blog gives me the opportunity to keep a journal of sorts on all of our travels. On the other hand, as an introvert, who can’t stand narcissistic influencers (not that I put myself in that category) and “over-sharers”, I’m kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I’m aware that the things that I have the opportunity to do are unique and a privilege. Maybe people want to see them? Maybe people are thinking, “this braggy bitch thinks she is better than us?”
I don’t know.
I do know that in light of the recent school shooting, it feels icky to post on social media right now.
We spent the last couple of days in Naxos hanging at the beach and visiting some old towns. Surprisingly, the water is not as cold as it felt on the first evening we arrived. We all enjoyed swimming in the super clear water.
The villa has some chairs set up, so it was very simple to spend the day lounging on the beach. They even had some snorkel equipment that James could use. There aren’t any real reefs to check out, but James liked swimming around and looking at the few fish that passed by. There is no current and the water is super calm.
After the beach, we went to “old Town” Naxos and visited Apollo’s temple and ended the day with dinner by the water.
Quick little aside about breakfast at Villa Paradise. It is soooo good. There is no menu. They just start bringing things out. Justin said that it was a little extra to get breakfast included (like 28 euros/ day) but super reasonable. We have enjoyed it so much and learned that James is a huge fan of Greek yogurt with honey and Quince marmalade. They also bring out fresh fruit, eggs, pastries, bread, and mini pancakes.
One more thing…… this villa smells like Jasmine, and I don’t want to leave.