Postcards from Crete

Postcards from Crete

Hi everyone – I’m back!

First off, let me say how sorry I am for those of you here in Copenhagen for the really shitty weather you’ve been having! On the bright side, it looks to be trending up, we’re having a sunny day today and next week looks to get better too. Looks like I brought the sun back with me (you’re welcome)!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll already have seen some of these pictures, but I wanted to share some of my vacation with the rest of you, too. If you’re expecting a lot of culture, adventure, and other exciting stuff, don’t hold your breath, because truth be told, we didn’t really do much at all! Both the Viking and I needed some real downtime to recharge the batteries, so most of our time was spent poolside or enjoying some of the local delicacies (feta, olive oil, freshly baked pita bread, the fruit and veggies, and wine, of course).

Postcard from Crete - view of the Cretan sea

We traveled with a charter company (Spies, which is the Danish branch of the Thomas Cook brand). Normally, I don’t like charter travel, I prefer to select my own flights, hotel, and everything, but in late March, I realized that our only summer vacation plans this year were a week in a summer house in Rørvig with my family in August. Being a bit wary about the Danish summer, I wanted to book a week in the sun, and didn’t really have time to do much research. Plus, this was a really good offer, so we just took it. We didn’t do any group activities, apart from a wine tasting, and so we didn’t really have that much contact with the agency anyways.

Postcard from Crete - above the clouds with Thomas Cook

We flew to Chania, which probably has the world’s tiniest airport (they have 8 departure gates) – previously, I thought it had to be Luxembourg. From there, we were shuttled to Agia Marina, where our hotel was. Now, one thing about Agia Marina: it is fully, 100% in the hands of Scandinavians. I’m guessing the way charter travel works is that they pretty much split up the areas, hotels, etc. amongst them, and Thomas Cook’s Scandinavian brands (Spies for Denmark, Tjäreborg for Sweden, and Ving for Norway) got a tight grip on Agia Marina. You’ll see a surprising (for Greece) amount of blond people (often heavily sunburned), hear a lot of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian – some cafés and restaurants even have menus in “Scandinavian” (often a mix of the three languages) – and sports bars are showing the Scandinavian soccer leagues.

Our hotel, Bella Vista Village, was really great. It’s a small hotel (only about 25 rooms), located on top of a little hill with an amazing view of the ocean from the pool area.

Postcard from Crete - Bella Vista Village hotel

Postcard from Crete -- Bella Vista Village hotel

It also has a small pool bar, where you could get small dishes for lunch (salads, tzatziki, pizzas etc.) or just enjoy a milkshake or a drink by the pool.

Postcard from Crete - Bella Vista Village hotel

Postcard from Crete - Greek salad

Postcard from Crete - Cretan white wine by the pool

Generally, our days looked as follows: getting up around 9am, grabbing some quick breakfast, and then heading down to the pool for some serious tanning/ reading/ listening to music/ general relaxation time. This went on until lunch, interrupted by the occasional dip in the water. After a lunch in the shade at the pool bar, we escaped the mid-day heat into the A/C-induced cool of our room, for a nap or some TV time (we had all of two working, non-Greek channels: German Eurosport, and CNN).

Postcard from Crete - Greek tzatziki and pita bread

Postcard from Crete - Fresh bruschetta

In the early afternoon, we headed back to the pool to rinse-and-repeat, before hopping in the shower and getting ready for dinner, which we ate at one of the many restaurants in “downtown” Agia Marina.

The setup of Agia Marina is basically along the main road, which follows the coast line. Between the beach and the road, there’s one row of buildings (hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes), which is usually where we found a nice restaurant with a view of the beach for dinner.

Postcard from Crete - sunset at Chania beach

I could eat dinner with this view every night!

We tried six different restaurants on our seven nights in Crete. Some were not so great, some were really good. Of course, we had to have the obligatory gyros, rolled into fresh pita bread, topped with fresh veggies, onions, a blob of tzatziki, and some french fries. We paired it with the local beer, Mythos, a very light lager which is perfect for a warm summer night.

Postcard from Crete - Gyros pita and Mythos beer

Our favorite restaurant was Sebastian’s, which is the only one we thought deserved a repeat visit. It has a great view of the sea, the setup is very classy with white tablecloths and linen napkins, super friendly service, and delicious food. If you ever happen to come to Chania/ Agia Marina, this is really the only place I would recommend – the others, while mostly fine, were nothing to write home about.

Postcard from Crete - Sebastian's restaurant in Chania

Postcard from Crete - Pita and tzatziki at Sebastian's

 

They make THE BEST garlic pita bread, which is served with a delicious tomato salsa – or you can double down on the garlic and pair it with cool tzatziki. My favorite main dish was the grilled salmon with ouzo sauce – I have to try and recreate that sauce here at home!

Postcard from Crete - Salmon with ouzo sauce at Sebastian's

All in all, it was an amazing vacation, perfect for recharging and doing nothing for an entire week. I’m really glad that the boyfriend isn’t an adventure vacationer either, because I’m certainly not one for mountain bike rides, river rafting, or hours and hours of museums. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes these things can be nice, and I do try to see the places I go to. But in this case, I just needed to be completely lazy, soak up the sun I missed for so long, catch up on my reading (I read Robert Kennedy’s biography and am deeply impressed), and work on my tan. I think I did well for one week!

Postcard from Crete - Dinner at Sebastian's

Now, with my batteries recharged, I’m ready for the Danish summer to start for real – I need some sun here asap, so my tan doesn’t fade away within a week! I have another post about the wine tasting coming up, that was a really great experience in the hills of Crete – plus, you can get the wines here in Copenhagen, so stay tuned for that. There’s also a Cretan-vacation-inspired recipe idea floating around in my head that I might share with you soon.

Hope you’re all having a great summer!

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