On my way to Crete, I announced to myself that after the Acroplis I was not there for the history, the culture, the food, nor the people, but the beach. I truly hadn’t had “beach time” in years and wanted to decompress before schlepping across western Europe. When I arrived at my hostel in Rethymno around 8pm, the man in charge, Sasha, said he knew I was almost there because a street musician overheard me asking women at an ice cream shop where to go and called to tell Sasha a “model” was coming. Well, okay, sure I guess I didn’t look like someone whose been traveling for 15 years… Anyways the hostel, like all others, was filed with all sorts of bizarre characters of infinite ages; an old woman who happened to be from Seattle who I thought had certainly lived in the hostel for the last 35 years (I was awkwardly mistaken), an English guy who was been thrown in the slammer for half a year for stealing a double decker bus while blackout drunk who was currently living on the roof, and a mismatched gang of Aussies from everywhere from Sydney to Perth, ages 18-35, who were happy to sit, smoke, and drink Raki on the porch each night until the wee hours of the morning, right below my belt. (More on Raki later). There was also a 22-year old Toronto native Erin, who I met as we both checked into the same room. We immediately hit it off and became travel buddies for the next few days. She had been living in Ireland for school (because…why not?) and we bonded over our ambiguous relationships with the European continent, our fears of not doing and seeing enough, and the brutal exhaustion we felt from going and going and going.
Over the net few days, Erin and I went on several adventures. We started small, wandering down the dusty streets past touristy shops where we scoffed at the prices of algae soaps, wood slingshots, and silver rings while reluctantly accepting shots of homemade Raki. It was, after all, 9am on a Sunday. We went to the beach, shelling out 7 euros for 2 chaise lounges and a large umbrella, taking turns going to the bathroom in the back of a deli across the street and buying gyros (correction: her gyros, me: fruit). We had dinner under a canopy of vines in a candle lit alleyway, serenaded by parrots that made getting ripped off on a child-sized meal a little less painful, and then, we decided to do something bold: rent a car.
Both of us were over this little beach town (seriously, skip it) so I wandered up and down the beach getting different quotes until we met Iosef, a 20-something Cretian at Europacar who sold us on the best deal, with insurance to boot. We roped in another girl, a 21-year old long-islander who was the physical hybrid of Chelsea Clinton and Pepper Ann with the self-obsession of a Kardashian and the voice of Lindsay Lohan mixed with Fran Drescher (is that even possible? yes). In the end, it brought the cost down but my blood pressure up. Photos from the adventure will come up next, for now it’s an insight into Rethymno; the beach, the people, the weird crap along the beachfront, and a few other oddities. Enjoy!