The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Remembering Rethymno

Thursday, July 30th, 2015 in Crete
Remembering Rethymno

Recently, a coworker of mine returned from a trip to Greece and shared some of his wonderful photos with me. His collection of images included stunning Aegean coastlines, scenic gorges, the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Temple of Zeus. There were pictures of statues and mosaics and sculptures and ruins I struggled to recognize. Oh, and there were pictures of food: the seafood, the wine!

It made me think back to the trip Phil and I took to Rethymno years ago. Many years ago. It was either 1999 or 2000. I know it was before Greece adopted the Euro, and that was in 2001. I remember we had to pay for things in drachmas. And I remember that the conversion between drachmas and British pounds or American dollars was for me a mind-bending feat, especially after a few swigs of grappa. I let Phil do the math.

Marina of Rethymno

I also remember the light. There was a superb quality to the light there. Perhaps it had something to do with the sea-salted air and how it filtered the sunshine in some unique way. Or maybe it was due to the lazulite waters that washed over the cadmium-yellow limestone rocks. Whatever it was, it was unlike any light I had seen before.

Somewhere along the northern coast of Crete, not far from Rethymno.

Our trip to Greece was simple—a package tour that we purchased at the Thomsons travel shop in Milton Keynes Shopping Center. We flew into Heraklion Airport late at night and rode a tired old bus through inky blackness to the Minos Hotel in Rethymno. In the morning we woke to bluebird skies and scalding, paint-bleaching sunshine.

Fortezza of Rethymno, a Venetian citadel, built in 1573.

We loved the hotel—it was a no-frills place but immaculately tended. The room had basic furnishings, a comfortable bed, and a small yet entirely spotless bathroom. All of our meals were included with our package and the food was simple, fresh, and utterly delicious. The whole place seemed to be soaked in a relaxed air. The pool was not one for laps but provided ample relief during the hot afternoons. The only downside to the hotel was that it was located on a busy street, but we soon adjusted. The upside was that the walk to Odyssia Beach (and, more importantly, several local tavernas) was delightfully short.

Coastal cave along northern coast of Crete.

I think I’ve convinced myself that we need to go back to Greece sometime soon. There are too many sights left unseen on our previous trip. And what better way to show some support for the Greek economy than to let go of some of our hard-earned cash in this lovely place.

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