Europe Greece

THE FAMILY REUNION

By on January 20, 2015

I think the person that was most excited to come to the Greek Islands was Mr.Apostolitis himself because we were now in his Motherland and could now put that Greek to good use, something that slowly fading back home in Melbourne. We arrived at Chania Airport which is west of the Island, take note there are two airports in Crete and unlike all the other Greek Islands Crete is the biggest one, a lot bigger meaning our travel time to our destination was a good two hour bus ride. The bus ride was hot, long and tiring seeing as the roads are long and windy and by the time we made it to the bus station near our accommodation the sun had completely gone and another day lost in transit. We jumped out of the bus and made our way to the taxi rank. Now here is where speaking the language in the country will save you from getting ripped off. Apost’s Greek is not fluent but enough to get by in disguise with his Australian accent that he could pass as a local, he is definitely the best at that sport! We jumped in the taxi with a very friendly driver, I think he was intrigued by the fact that we had traveled half way around the world from Australia and were in his taxi. We got pretty much the whole history lesson of Crete in our 30minute cab right to our hotel, we were already off to a great start and I had a good feeling for the relaxing times ahead of us. We checked into our apartment late in the night and let me tell you the feeling of having our own place where we could leave our goods everywhere for the next few days was sick, no lockers no reception and worrying about people stealing our shit. I love hostels but after the trip we had this far and being in the Greek Islands I was very happy to be in the privacy of our air conditioned room. I think we payed something like 30 euro per person per night which was a pretty good deal considering we were in the midst of peak season. After we had dumped our bags we decided to get on the hunt for some Gyros a very popular food eaten all over Greece. Now some of you may know what this is and some of you won’t, it’s basically a Souvlaki with the option of chips inside of it and are of abundance in the islands. They are quick and delicious and cost around 2-4 euros depending on the place. This one that was recommended to us ‘Beach Pitt’ was our regular in Crete.  It was midnight and was still very warm and the air con didn’t turn off for the four days straight. The rooms were nice and the showers were powerful, the place had a swimming pool, restaurant, pool table, sauna and bar we might as well have been in heaven in comparison to some of the places we had stayed this far. After a shower we sat out the front porch of our room, the nights there are always warm and took a moment to bond and express how happy we were to be finally be there.

I woke up the next day feeling very good and getting some sleep in the privacy of our quarters was a big part of it, there’s something about being in the Mediterranean sea that just makes you feel so damn relaxed. The lifestyle in the Islands speaks for itself, no one is in a rush to do anything but kick back just what the body needed. The boys were still sleeping so I decided to kick start the day and get myself some breakfast from the hotels restaurant. On the menu for the next few days was the English Breakfast, oh it was good to eat Bacon and Eggs for breakfast for like 4 Euro. Patrants of the hotel had already started swimming and the majority of people seemed to be families from the UK. My guess is that the flights from there are cheap as chips along with the accommodation provides a perfect escape to some sunshine and beaches something people from the UK aren’t to familiar with, plus it was holidays for them. After breakfast I went back to the room and the boys were still sleeping (not shocked) but I had 0 plans to do anything whilst we were here then relax so it was OK. I put some shorts and made my way back to the pool. Diving into the water was a feeling I wasn’t yet familiar with at all this whole trip (with an exception of Ibiza) and it was bloody good. Even though it was still early the sun was so very hot with temperature reaching 30 plus everyday. I don’t care what you say about the European sun and the bull crap ozone layer over there don’t be a hero and put sunscreen on, trust me you will still tan and you can put your carotene on after (Greek tanning oil) because the last thing you want to do is be burnt, it is not fun and you will struggle sleeping along side the peeling. The boys eventually woke up and grabbed some food and after a swim of there own we decided to do some exploring. Our hotel wasn’t too far from the Main strip where all the action was. It kind of reminded of Bangla Rd in Thailand without as much harassment. You got your stores that sell fake clothes, random souvenir shops, a few bars and plenty restaurants. We explored a few of the beaches and ate at a few nice restaurants ordering mainly seafood. I can’t even remember to many of the fine details but there was plenty of kicking back, tanning and eating. I remember one of the clubs by the beach had Martin Garrix come down to play but we didn’t go, I was more then happy chilling and talking by the comfort of the pool putting vodka in my brother’s beer.

Our third day was a day that consisted mainly of planning our next movements for the next islands. There were a few options but we decided to go to Santorini next a place I hadn’t yet been. With the Islands there are plenty to choose from, the more popular ones like Mykonos and Santorini which have airports are more expensive and  have more going on where as the smaller Islands are a lot cheaper so depending on what you’re after book accordingly. There a limited places that sell the tickets for the Ferries but we managed to find one not to far from our place. 50 Euro’s later we were booked to set sail in two days meaning we had to stay an extra night here in Crete which wasn’t a problem at all. Once that was taken care of it was time to sort some accommodation and since we were in his Motherland I left it in the hands of Apost to sort out. The wifi connection was crap at the apartment so we brought the laptop to Beach Pitt to sort it all out. With some luck and good timing Apost had managed to find a place at reasonable price hosting the three of us in the one room. We continued exploring and relaxing more of the island I remember lying down with Dean angel style in the sand with the perfect temperature sunshine hitting us and waves slowly crashing into us, what a moment that was reassuring me I was in proper holiday mode. There is a beach that is famous for having Pink sand that I wanted to go to but was back where we landed which would have looked good beside my Moroccan sand but wasn’t keen to sit up and back on the bus for another two hours. We drifted out a little bit further and found a large store and I thought it was a good time to do some gift shopping. We were all on the hunt for different things and I managed to pick up some souvenirs for some friends back home. Dean was looking for something for his mum and Apost was after a moonstone for his special friend and we wondered into about 15 jewellery stores until he eventually found the right one, which wasn’t so right after all hah. Once the sun had set we usually ended up in the back at our apartment or roaming the shops nearby doing free shots of grapa and buying honey and olive oil. By this time we were all having a bit of personal time which is healthy when traveling together for a while. Apost making his trance track, Dean catching up on Suits or me backing up my photos and videos onto the hard drive ready for the next destination the arrangement was total bliss.

The room that we were in was currently booked so we moved about 100m to our new room since we had to stay an extra night. Apost had told his mum that he was in Crete and she told him that he had some relatives and that he should visit. With some convincing I told him we should go, it’s not like we were doing anything to important and plus it would be fun. Dean and I went for a swim while we left it with Apost to sort out how we could get there. Shortly after he had returned with a red Hyundai and we were ready for our Road trip to the South of the Island where his family was. We set out with only with a number to call when we had reached the town. It felt weird being in a car that we were driving, something that we hadn’t experienced the whole trip. The trance was pumping and the fist pumps were going hard out of the window of the car. I knew Apost was in a good mood beacuse he was requesting pictures with even the lady at the petrol station for the memories of the good times. We stopped at a restaurant to grab a gyros for the road and seeing as though it was a proper restaurant it took a bit longer to make but man it was well worth it. I didn’t know it at the time but that was the best Gyros I had the whole trip and I had close to 30 while I was in the Greek Islands. The meat in the Gyros was proper spit pork none sliced to perfection none of that cheap shit. We hopped in the car and continued to cruise stopping at some pretty nifty landscapes on the way to capture the coastline. After about an hour driving we had made it to our destination, we were at the Police Station near the house. The officer had kindly let us call the number to notify Apost’s relatives that we were ready to meet. So Apost has never met anyone we were about to meet so he was as new to this ordeal as Dean and I were. Within minutes an elderly man had come down collect us. After a warm welcome and a quick conversation at the station we made our way back to the car and followed him back to their house.

The house was in a quiet neighborhood and we were greeted by an elderly woman who was the wife of the man that had picked us up. Like many cultures we sat down outside the front of the house and were spoiled with some fresh grapes and a can of cola. These two people could only speak Greek so at this point Dean and I could only assume what they were saying. The phone came out and there was an international call to Apost’s mum to notify that we had arrived and I’m sure she was delighted that we had made it. I was under strict instructions to document what was taking place so they could have some photos of Apost’s visit. We got the grande tour of the house, it was actually a big property with a garden filled with olives, grapes and more typical ingredients grown in the Mediterranean. We had a chance to see their dog and a view from the rooftop, for me it was quite interesting seeing what a normal house hold looks like in another part of the world. They use the bare minimal but embrace a very warming family culture. The photo albums had come and there were plenty of pictures of everyone in there, Apost, his sister his Mum in Greece, there was even military photos from the air force of the man that picked us up and Apost’s grandfather. I think because we were on topic the Man went inside and just pulled this rifle out. I wasn’t sure if I was in the Wild West on Crete at the time, thankfully there were no bullets in there or I’m sure someone would have let one off because we were so all so happy at the time. More of the family started arriving, word must have been out on the arrival of the King of Greece and his Micky sidekicks. It was a family and I believe Apost second cousin who could speak English so we could engage in some conversation. I think Apost didn’t understand shit half the time as his Greek was being pushed to its limits. We chilled there for a little while and I kept snapping away with the camera. I was encouraging Apost to play his newly made Trance track for the family, he wasn’t impressed and thought it would confuse the situation more then it was I laughed. We went next door and visited Apost’s Mums Aunty, I think that’s who she was and were went inside for some more grapes and a drink of water. We spent a while in there and light was slowly slipping away. She didn’t want him to leave but we had to return the car that night or we would have stayed for dinner. Many times Apost tried to wrap things up but was drawn into another conversation but after multiple tries finally managed to politely get out of their. We said our goodbye’s and I took a few more group photos which would eventually be the memories of that time we went and visited Aposts relatives in Crete he didn’t even know about. We jumped in our car with a bag of fresh grapes for the road and made our way back home with a very emotional Apost who may never see any of them ever again..

I’m so glad we did go and visit, I knew by doing these real random spontaneous activities that when you look back you will be thankful you did. We decided to stop by a beach on the way and had a late night dip, this would be our last swim in Crete and had to stop by and get our last Beach Pitt Gyros to finish up. I can take chilli sauce but I don’t know what kind he put in mine but I was struggling and sweating hard. Our ferry was fairly early the next morning and we had pre packed and caught a taxi to the port. I was getting major flash backs from the very start of my first trip when we caught ferries between the Islands. Up next was Santorini another Island I had yet to explore and things were only getting better. I was in good company, good weather and on holidays what more could you ask for.

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