A day in the life of my “Crete – An Aegean Odyssey” tour
Daylight streams through the curtains as the ducks on Lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos, Crete, bellow noisily demanding food from the lone fisherman tending his nets.
The first day of my Crete – An Aegean Odyssey tour has begun.
We head off to the local town beach for an early morning swim in crystal clear turquoise waters and then a traditional Cretan breakfast of local yoghurt with thyme honey and walnuts, Greek coffee, fresh orange juice and a home-made spinach pies… still warm from the oven.
A quick shower and change and we’re off early to the fishing village of Plaka to catch a local fishing boat the to the Island of Spinalonga – a barren, dry, rocky outcrop in a strategic location at the mouth of the port of Elounda. Relics of Venetian and Ottoman occupations and more recently, the remnants of the last leper colony in Europe, lie jagged in the desolate landscape.
Our guide expertly leads us into the shaded areas around the island as she passionately talks of the island’s extraordinary history of occupation, triumphs, sadness and tears. It’s a very sobering journey, yet somehow uplifting thanks to the breathtaking views and vistas – a very strange juxtaposition.
After a couple of hours exploring and contemplating (it’s a visceral experience), we make the short trip back to the mainland to shop and then languish over a very, very leisurely lunch right on the water’s edge overlooking the bay and the island.
We casually dine on locally-caught octopus, calamari, whitebait, barbounia (red mullet), salad and potatoes all washed down with hima (the local, unbottled wine). This is followed by fresh fruit and raki (a traditional, alcoholic drink, aka firewater) generously given to us “on the house.”
To say we are soporific and content to just sit and dream, would be an understatement!
However, the pellucid waters of the bay beckon, so we change into our swimmers and make our way through the next taverna to the warm shallow waters below.
Like kids, we splash and laugh as we swim out into the deep blue-green.
This is perfection and time seems to stand still!
Then, as the sun begins to sink we tumble into taxis back to Agios Nikolaos, the salt drying white on our skins.
Time for cocktails on the beach in another bay, this time framed by mauve mountains. Mojitos are the choice of the day and remain so for the next 13 days of our culinary and cultural tour of Crete.
As Day One comes to a gloriously happy end, everyone is more than content and want more of the same the next day. I promise them new adventures every day – all just as good, but all very different.
All just as delicious.
And all just as happy.
The refrain “Well Frannie you have outdone ourself today, what more can you possibly do tomorrow?” is repeated daily for the next 13 days… until sadly we come to the end of the tour.
To say I’m so thrilled to be able to show people my little piece of heaven and so happy that it resonates with everyone, would be an understatement.
That’s why I do what I do – take people to Crete to show them what makes this Greek island like no other.
The Cretan landscape, the people, the food, the culture, the hospitality, the generosity and the friendships forged are like nowhere else in the world. For the island changes people and they all vow to return – which they do again and again.
So join me for your own Cretan adventure in 2020. Let me give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the Greek island of Crete.
Bookings are now open!