Sunday, April 21, 2024

GREECE | Crete

We hopped on a quick flight from Athens to Chania, Crete. One of Jake's co-workers who has been to Greece a bunch of times told us about Chania. I had not heard of it before but once it was on my radar, it seemed like it was everywhere I looked. I just googled it and it means "A Place to Rest". We heard it was a popular spot for the locals to vacation, so that is always a good sign.   

The Chania airport was tiny and safe, so Jake went to pick up our rental car from an off site location while West and I waited at the terminal. We had been warned that the island of Crete was huge so we would stay for at least a week if we visited. Unfortunately, we only had 3 days for this part of the trip so we made the best of it. Can you find West in the photo below? 

And we only had a few things on our agenda for the next few 3 days:

-Hang out at our Hotel (Pool Day) while West checked out the Kid's Club   

-Boat Ride to Balos Beach (6 hour) + Hike to an Abandoned Fort 

-Dinner and Walk around Chania Harbor 

I tried to edit how many photos I would put in this post and I just couldn't do it. So I hope it doesn't take forever to load but I love every single one of these and I couldn't not include them. I am sorry but also you're welcome.  

DAY 1: Check In + Check Out

Domes Zeen was my most anticipated hotel stay of the trip. You may know that I have a thing for hotels and I have a sort of hotel bucket list. I will plan a trip around staying at a certain hotel. It's kind of funny, but I like what I like. Anyway... I was super excited for this hotel because it was (1) Very Family Friendly, (2) Modern Minimalist and (3) our room came with its own private pool. How cool is that?! However...did I swim in this pool? I did not... more to come on that front. 

We basically had to walk down/up this huge hill by zig zagging along the path to get to our room. Everything looked so close but in reality it took like 15 minutes to get back to the parking lot or down to the beach each time. It was nice to get some steps in so I actually liked it!   

We each picked our favorite rock! I think West might have brought his home (oops?!?!) I also love how little his hand is and how he holds the rock here. It's the little moments (it always is!)

OK so the deal with our villa's pool is that it was freezing cold. For environmental reasons, according to the hotel it was not heated. I am a HUGE wimp when it comes to cold stuff, so that was the end of any possibility that I could ever swim in it. Jake and West did and had a blast while I dipped a few toes in. 

The main pool 'sitch was very peaceful and quiet (until all the families with little kids came down, hah!) 

Jake and I chuckled to ourselves while we watched other kids do the same kinds of things that West always does and we decided that parenthood has so many unique highs and lows but everyone is just doing their best and trying to get through the day (like we are, too). We kept elbowing each other when we would see a kid do something sneaky to see how their parents would react. Kids, they are all the same! Parents, they are all the same! Even in different countries...  

We dropped West off at the kids club for a couple hours and he had the best time. We got to have some drinks and lunch by the pool and he got to play. During his time there he did no less than 12 activities. He made a rainbow craft, baked cookies, played board games with the teachers, and basically lived his best life. He didn't want to go with us when we picked him up! So I would say he had a blast. I took this picture when we came to pick him up. Doesn't he look like he's on a lunch date with his girlfriend? The hand under the chin gets me every time. 

DAY 2: In My Beyonce Era

Are you ready for the highlight of our entire GREECE trip? We booked a private boat ride to Balos Beach + Gramvousa Island and it was worth every penny. I really wanted to see Balos Beach because it's known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world but it can be a bit tricky to get to. I knew we wanted to take a boat there but our options were limited. I talked to our hotel's concierge (too expensive), looked into a ferry boat (too crowded), and finally found a rec in a private Greece planning FB group that I am in. I told you I do not mess with trip planning! Booked with this family operated small boat and paid a deposit and crossed my fingers it wasn't a scam. We walked up to the dock the day of our rental and there was a boat! And a captain! And food and wine, etc... It was real! 

This is one of my absolute favorite photos from the trip too. So much joy! 

Oh what's that, you ask? Just a real life shipwreck! Read more here

We were in for a real treat because our Boat Captain suggested we climb to the top of this old abandoned fort and we were like, yeah, that looks fun and the view will be really nice. (We weren't wrong). But it was exhausting and Jake had to literally carry West up and down the entire hike (this is after he threw his back out a few months before our trip). By some miracle, we all make it there and back in one peace and it really was stunning. So was it worth it? YES! I guess I should ask Jake too?  

We got to go inside and it looked all ransacked and abandoned. It was definitely an interesting sight to see! 

There was an incredible 360* view from the top - Balos Beach is that pocket of sand right under the highest peak: 

Told you! Jake is my hero (for this and may other reasons!) 

Back to the boat for some more "joyriding"

This part reminded me of those cologne commercials from like 20 years ago. Does anyone know what I am taking about? 

We are coming up to Balos Beach here and you can see how incredibly clear the water is (I think this goes without saying but there is *no filter* here or on any of my blog photos)! 

We had lunch on the boat and swam to the beach from here. I didn't get to take my phone so no pictures but I was proud of myself for being in the moment! 

And that's a wrap on our boat trip. It took the better part of a day but it was so much fun. West napped for a bit so it was great to just be able to hang out, listen to music, take in the sights and sounds of the Ionian Sea. 

DAY 3: Where are the Cats?

We made our way to Chania Harbor in the late afternoon for a dinner reservation after spending most of another day at the pool. 

One thing about Greece is that there are a lot of cats roaming around. They mostly seem to be friendly and people pet them and they are just always around. West really got into this and loved looking for them everywhere we went. The Harbor was no exception. The cats know people will feed them their table scraps so they hang around in the small alleyways around restaurants. I am more of a dog person, but I actually thought it was quite cute. 

You can see how narrow some parts of the walkway can be. This part reminded me of Venice, Italy. Also, I spy a CAT! 

Another delicious dinner featuring feta cheese, zucchini fritters and bread. What more does one need in life?

Finally, after a quick ferry ride, the real crown jewel is coming up... SANTORINI! 



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