Some Cretan Footnotes (warning: rude bits)
Kindles are brilliant, but there are some books where only a paper version will do. Guide books. which usually emerges battered and bruised from a trip having being stuck in a
Ours usually emerge from a trip looking like they’ve done twelve rounds in a boxing ring then boiled in acid and used as a mallet.
We picked up Lonely Planet Crete and Dorling Kindersley’s excellent little Top Ten Crete. A copy of either book would have been dead handy but the two together (DK great for maps and locations, LP a little more comprehensive on places and things to do) were absolutely superb. A great combo.
Some people actually take photos of taps. Yes. Bloody taps. And soft furnishings. And if that isn’t daft enough already, they send their utterly tedious tap snaps to the ubiquitous Trip Advisor. Yes. When I look up ‘Apollon Apartments’ on Trip Advisor I really, really do need to see the sinks and the bog roll bins. But if this isn’t narcissistic enough, it gets even worse. YouTube.
Oh the tedious crap we ploughed through on YouTube. You search ‘Crete’ quite reasonably expecting some vaguely interesting home made stuff about, well, Crete. But no. Instead you get some self-indulgent tool who thinks he’s Christopher Nolan (it’s almost always a bloke) who eschews an informative, interesting ten minutes on Crete for a soft porn wank flick of his girlfriend prancing about in her bikini while he goes off road in the hire car or does 180 degree turns on his surrogate erection jet ski. And oh yeah viewers, this is ostensibly a vid about Crete so lets have some shite R&B soundtrack with a glimpse of sea (which could be, to be frank, anywhere from the Bahamas to Pontypridd on a sunny day) followed by yet another lingering shot of his girlfriend’s arse wiggling her bikini bottoms along the sand blah blah blah etc etc.
I have huge respect for Sir Ian Berners Lee but why oh why Sir Ian did you have to open up the internet to pricks, morons, cretins, tools and people who have less IQ than my bloody sofa?
Apollon Apartments gets (quite rightly in our opinion) good reviews in TA but there are still some divs who seen to think that if you’re paying 3 star prices you ought to be getting 5 star accommodation. Er, it doesn’t work like that, bell ends. If you don’t want the nasty nylon shower curtain touching your probably very small penis, pay a few more Euros and sod off somewhere else. You pay for what you get.
There are two sides to my thoughts on Greek music. Greeks are absolutely nuts on their traditional music. It’s everywhere. And it’s loved by all ages. Youngsters you might expect to be listening to the latest banging sounds from the UK and US are seriously digging traditional Greek. And it’s not just ‘Greek lite’ but really heavy, impenetrable stuff that sounds to my ears like a cross between a funeral dirge and several extremely drunk people let loose in an orchestra pit..
So on the one hand I’m delighted that traditional music is giving Jay-Z and Justin Bieber a run for their money. On the other hand, it makes my ears bleed.
THINGS WE’LL DEFINITELY DO NEXT TIME IN CRETE
So first there’s a dilemma about where to go. We’d definitely stay here at Apollon again, and now we’ve learnt so much about how to get around, what’s good, what’s not etc it seems a shame not to put that to good use on a return visit and really hit the ground running. On the other hand, Crete is a big island and the other districts beyond Rethymno hold many attractions not available to us this time around because they were either too far a way, too difficult to get to without a car or too hot to exploit. Long hikes with the walking boots were not really an option when the thermometer was nudging nearly 40C.
If we came back to the Rethymnon area we’d definitely spend more time in the Old City especially at night. It’s been a truly beautiful place for us and we’ve barely tapped the surface beyond a few eating places and of course the lovely (in its own way) bus station.
As big photography fans we’re gutted not to have got a chance to re-visit Thavma Taverna up in Meloudas. The taverna in the sky we walked up to the other day must be absolutely jaw dropping at sunset and we imagine the food is pretty good as well. If we’d discovered this a bit earlier …. Although to be fair it was ridiculously hot for most of the time we’ve been here and we might well have returned in an ambulance had we attempted the climb
Although to be fair it was ridiculously hot for most of the time we’ve been here and we might well have returned in an ambulance had we attempted the climb earlier in the holiday.
We were disappointed not to have got to visit Spinalonga and Agios Nikolaos – we were really looking forward to that trip – but think we might have dodged a bit of a tourist bullet by not getting down to Elafonissi. It sounds like one of the world’s most gorgeous beaches but maybe not at this time of year. Apparently we’d have shared the gorgeousness with about 4 million others pouring out of coaches and cars. Pink sand ain’t that great when you can’t actually see it. Yuk.
In fact there’s a lot about Crete which seems best enjoyed when the weather is warm but not nuclear, and the best bits are not overrun with a thousand sunbeds or hordes with cameras. Crete really does seem to be an amazing magnet for visitors from right across Europe and the Cretans, while certainly not in our fortnight’s experience in any way exploitative or money grabbing, have wasted no opportunity on cashing in on a near equatorial climate and some spectacular scenery. There’s also the not unimportant fact that so much of the tourist planet is now a no-go area thanks to terrorism. According to everyone we spoke to who know about these things, the Greek islands have never been busier.
Maybe our next visit here (and there will be another) will be in Spring or Autumn.
YET MORE BUS INFO
We finally discovered (on last day of the holiday of course) that the bus to Kyriana which stops at Upper Platanes/Tsesmes is catchable from the Municipal Gardens bus stop in Rethymnon. It only goes every 1.5 hours but if we’d known this in the first place we could have had virtually door-to-door travel between Apollon and Rethymnon for no more than a couple of euros. The bus runs until late so if you’re planning a bit of dinner in the city and are staying at Apollon or La Stella and are a lazy fat sod you can get from central Rethymnon to your hotel with minimal effort and no need to walk up the hill from Lower Platanes. This is just the sort of thing a half decent rep would have told us if he was half decent. Or actually visible.