The travel agency arranging the conference booked us on two flights with two different airlines to get to Crete, which means that what amounted to about 85 minutes in the air took us about 7 hours, most of that time spent waiting in airports. You’d be surprised how tiring just sitting around an airport is, although my husband was quite delighted at the two hours we got to spend on the observation floor of the Athens airport (as evidenced by this photo, one of ten million he took of planes on this trip). We got to
Our hotel was the Albatros Spa & Resort Hotel, located within walking distance of the conference center in the Hersonissos beach area. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but we had a rather large room with a balcony overlooking the pool area and it was quite lovely. Various views from our balcony:
While my husband attended lectures all day, I either sat near the pool (but in the shade, of course) or on our balcony and read or listened to This American Life podcasts while spying on the activities poolside. Apparently, all the resort hotels in this area (maybe in all of
On Thursday night we went to a small village a few kilometers away to meet up with some of my husband’s colleagues at Taverna Sofas:
My husband and I considered going to the archeological museum and the aquarium in Iraklion (I wanted to see the palace at Knossos, but that was out of the question due to the sun and my disabilities – we weren’t sure if it was handicapped accessible or not), but we decided to just enjoy lunches in the shade by the pool at our hotel and strolling along the beach promenade in the evenings, which was gorgeous and quite relaxing.
It was a never ending stream of people watching – and the tourists seemed to come from everywhere, so it was fun hearing a confluence of languages all around us. The tourists there seemed to prefer to not have a “Greek” experience – when it came to food they wanted steak, and most of the restaurants around the promenade catered to tourist tastes with menus that included steaks, pizza, and general types of foods, with very few Greek dishes. The Greek dishes they did have seemed to be “dumbed down” for the tourists, so when we got back home I was clamoring for dinner at a real Greek taverna. I do have to admit that the pizza I had at the “Il Camino” restaurant was quite good, and there was a café called “Dolce Vita” that had excellent homemade ice cream (mint chocolate chip – I was in heaven!). Basically, if you plan a trip to such a place, don’t expect traditional Greek fare. I’d hunt around for some locals to tell you good places to go for Greek food (Sofas was ok and had a Greek menu, but it still seemed a bit “touristy”).
I don’t think I’ve had such a relaxing vacation in a long time. It was nice not being concerned about museum closing times, where we would get a cab, how long it would take to get there, etc., so in a way I’m glad we didn’t plan to do those touristy things, even though I’d love to see the Phaestos disk in person, and I’m still bummed I didn’t catch sight of the minotaur. Maybe next time.