2021 Summer in Crete

As summer has approached in the southern hemisphere, I reminisce earlier this year where I spent four months in the Mediterranean. I left South Africa in June for the greek island of Crete. Crete is the biggest and inhabits the most people out of the 227 greek islands. It really is a beautiful place, I will definitely return one day for a holiday (unfortunately the diving is pretty quiet compared to South Africa and Australia, which was expected. After more than a hundred snorkels in the same few sites it got very boring).

I lived in the small village of Plaka, just a kilometre up the hill from touristy Almyrida where the dive centre, I worked at is located.

I had lots of fun and met some really great people. When I wasn't working, I explored the area or baked in the European sun.

I walked along the coast, ate at local restaurants (moussaka, dolmades, gemista and courgette balls were my favourite) and lazed on rocky beaches.

I went on day trips to Chania and Rethymno. And spent a few lazy days in Sfakia.

Chania is the biggest town in the area I was living (north west Crete). It is a super beautiful town, especially the port and Old Town. Restaurants line the waterfront and plenty of souvenir outlets are dotted throughout the area. On my first evening out and about I had so much fun being a tourist, my local friends had a good laugh.

I enjoyed a day in Rethymno, again very touristy but so beautiful and had even more charm than Chania. I met up with a friend in Rethymno, after working out the bus timetable we spent the day wondering the city, eating and lying in the sun.

After the novelty of being in Europe wore off, I enjoyed relaxing on my days off.

Sfakia was the biggest highlight and I only made the trip to the south in my final few days in Greece. Such a bummer because wow! The little town of Chora Sfakion is quaint and resembled its post cards. I treated myself to a hotel on the waterfront (that had a balcony with a view). I took the water taxi to Loutro and spent a morning in literal paradise. Seaside restaurants, hundreds of sun beds and no cars made up Loutro. I drank fresh pressed juice and lazed on a sun bed (the first time I have ever paid to sit on the beach, 5 euros well spent). I hiked to Sweet Water before taking the boat back to Chora Sfakion. Goat milk is produced in the area so I tried goat milk rice pudding for something different, was surprisingly yum.

I had only one day left on the island when I got back from the south so I got a massage and ate my first burger since being in Europe (and a green smoothie for balance), whilst waiting for my Covid test results.

It was the best way to end four months of working away.

I then had a midnight flight to Denmark, to visit my Mormor (grandma) for a week. She cooked or bought all the danish traditional foods that I like, flavours I hadn't had in years (since my last visit about 5 years ago). We went for slow walks through the small town she lives in, went to the local market, visited Ribe (the oldest town in Denmark), caught up with some of my cousins and then I had a 2 day journey back to South Africa.

It went something like this:

Afternoon train to Copenhagen.

Flight to Milan for an overnight layover.

Flight to Zurich, I again had about 10 hours so I decided to explore the city. I have never been to Switzerland and the lady at the transfer desk assured me it was only a 10 minute train ride to the centre and that the city was easy to navigate. The sun was shining but it was less than 10 degrees, my bags were checked in but I had some clothes in my hand luggage, I wore everything I had. I wandered around the lake, did some window shopping and read my book. Zurich is a stunning city.

Flight to Johannesburg and another layover, I spent the day with Michael's family and then boarded my last flight to Durban.

I was super stoked to be back in SA.

Travelling during Covid is a mission. Between PCR tests, passenger locator forms, working out if you've been in a 'red' zone and longer slower queues it was exhausting. But it really was so good to travel again.