Apparently, a lot of people fall for a pattern – and stick to it. For us it was Mousses Crèche and Kids’ Club on the island of Lefkada, an island linked to the west coast of mainland Greece by a floating bridge and just below Corfu. You may never have heard of it; Likewise, you may have ordered mojitos from Pantazis and have been windsurfing off the southern tip for years. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The time must come to cut the strings from the apron, take a deep breath, and go somewhere else altogether.
Almost 200 miles south of Athens is Crete; over 3,000 square miles, with a coastline of 650 miles and by far the largest of all the Greek islands. Yes, yes, I know – I said everything else, but forgive me. While every self-respecting Cretan will tell you that all the Greek islands are unique, in the same breath, they will point out that Crete is more unique than the other 6,000 put together. And if that sounds like a weak attempt to justify an unadventurous spirit, you’ll need to discuss it with the locals.
The youngest (and most skeptical) family member raised his eyebrows when, exiting our plane and barely swallowing a few puffs of warm Mediterranean air, we were locked in a densely populated corner of the airport. of Chania for Covid testing. Good idea, a little nervous and chaotic execution. But half an hour later, we hopped in our rental car and set off for the first stop of our Cretan odyssey – the estate of Kissamos, a cluster of eight villas in the far west, perched on a hill overlooking the promontory which points towards Bay of Balos and island of Gramvousa. Met by Vasilis and the kind of enthusiastic welcome no British hotelier would ever offer, we discovered our new surroundings and shared that knowing look that says, “We’re on vacation!” And usually results in a misguided bomb in the pool.
The next 16 days were, well, glorious. And humiliating, inasmuch as we have only lightly scratched the surface of a destination that has the embarrassment of riches to offer. The first week we admired the amazing sunsets over Falasarna beach, took a boat trip to Balos bay and enjoyed lots of family fun by the pool. The second week we moved a little further east, much closer to Chania, for seven nights at Villa Vereniki in the hills above Almyrida. And we ended our stay with three nights in Loutro, which I will return to in a minute.