Day 1 - Crete

Ugh. I don't know what happened, but I'll chalk it up to spotty WiFi here at the Dimitria. So let me catch you up to speed. I will only leave in the good parts, I promise. (BUT THEY'RE ALL GOOD.)

So Game of thrones has ruined me. When people speak Greek, I swear I hear them speaking Valyrian. And I, I am their Khaleesi. That is, if Khaleesi may point at things and speak English until someone speaks English back to her.

So I didn't quite have a plan for transit once I reached Crete. In case you don't know, Crete is wide as crap. So I was going to have to figure something out for tomorrow. Today, my flight landed around 3pm and I assumed the day was mostly shot for sightseeing. So, after 15 hours of airports and flights, I exited the airport at Heroklion. This dumps out immediately into an arena of rental car vestibules.

To rent or not to rent... well, I was not going to do public transit. And I was becoming aware that taking a cab to my hotel would cost nearly the daily charge for a rental car. So, rental car. There are many options. Some I am familiar with, some I am not.

I walked up first to the Budget window... because I'm on a... budget.

"Hi. I don't have a reservation."

"Okay. You need automatic."

This is not a question.

"No, a manual works too." Because I'm a grown woman, sir! But I get it. #American

Greek, Greek, phone, Greek.

"No cars. Try him." Points to, "tou Rent: Rent a safe car." Sounds legit, right?

"Hi. I need a car."

"What kind of car you like?"


"Okay. You need automatic." Again, not a question. "We have this, seventy." Points to a laminated menu of small cars. It's a Toyota Small-Islander-for-Sara.

"Seventy a day? Or both days?"

"Both days."

"Great, I'll take it."

"Oh! It's manual."

"Fine. I can drive that." Come on, fellas,

Okay. So we're in business! Tiny car, tiny price!

"It's at like a half tank... bring it back to close a half tank."

Close a half tank it will be.

Thar she be.

Thar she be.

So I get a-driving. I put in the not-so-correct location into my phone. Which was fine because it's friggin beautiful and didn't matter. I finally find my way to the hotel. Not by address, but by general direction and signage. Ain't no grid system out here!

And what did I find when I went inside?

"Oh, you booked on Expedia?" 


"Okay. I must inform you that we have overbooked the hotel."


"We have placed you at room that is only a few hundred yards away."


"Do you have luggage? I will walk you over."

"I do, but let's just go there," I say all skeptical.

We end up going to a place across the street. It does not have the ocean view that I paid for, but, I'm going with the flow here. Shit happens. And this is still my view....

Beats Chicago right now.

Beats Chicago right now.

I still have yet to understand how/if the air conditioning works. But again, who cares. It's not too hot. And I've now been traveling to close to 16 hours.

SO! I plop my stuff down and head for the bar! Because I haven't had my first vacation libation yet!


Libation obtained. I handed the bartender twenty Euros. He then started asking his friends who were drinking at the bar if they had change. This all took place in Greek, but you know.

"Are you staying at the hotel?"

I was not. I was staying across the street at the hotel they put me at. So I just said, "I'm not going anywhere."

He disappeared for a good 14 minutes.

When he reappeared he had change for me. And I was ready for another frosty one. I guess it's a Polish beer? I don't know. Much gets lost in translation.

"Where are you come from?"

"The United States. Chicago."

"All the way from the United States? And you come here?"

Um... yes?

"Um... yes?"

(By the way, as I write this, my cankles are still visible, but dissipating.)

"How did you stay here?"


"How did you stay here?"

Not a helpful followup, but I'll be here the next two weeks playing the foreigner game.

"I booked through Expedia. I'm across the street now."

"Ohhh. You're Expedia!"

Yes, I'm Expedia.

"We did not have a time of arrival and we only have 19 rooms."

Now, that doesn't make sense to me... because you have the dates... and you have check-in, check-out times... but whatever. You just gave me beer. I will play.

"You are only here two nights?"


"Only two days to see Crete?" Fair point.

"Yes. Then I go to Santorini."

"Santorini!" His face lit up.

"Yes, then Milos."


"Then back to Athens." His face FELL.

"Why Athens?" He said it with such disdain.

"Because Acropolis?" I said. "Sightseeing? But then I drive inland."

"We had Greek night here last night, you know. There were tables over there. There was lamb and tzatziki and pitas. You know it?"

To be fair, he also mentioned a couple other things I didn't know.


"And there was band with traditional Greek music over there."

"So, why? Was it a special night?" I try to boil things down and not say words like, "occasion," to people whose first language is anything but English.

"Why? Because it is Greek night." Apparently it happens weekly. And I missed it.

"So," he said. And might I mention that this is your typical attractive Greek bartender. Dark, handsome... whatever. "Will you take me to Santorini with you?"

"I'm going alone," I said, not having heard/understood what he said.

"Take me to Santorini," he repeated. 

Now, if you're a sane, single woman in a foreign land, the only answer to that request/demand is...


"Oh, but I have to work!" he said.


"But this isn't too bad," I said. He blank-stared me. "This is good here!" I said trying to translate my English into different English.

"Do you like pizza?" he asked.


I kept answering his questions with questions.

"But you don't want it every day."

Point taken.

I tipped him and headed for the beach.

"But you already paid?" he said."

"Don't people tip in Greece?"

"Ahhh, yes, they do, but I generally give most of it back," he joked.