Today was a day to unplug from history and enjoy some relaxation on the gorgeous Mediterranean. We boarded our ferry with a very international community of beach goers and headed out to the first shore on the island of Gramvusa. This tiny plot of earth served as a Venetian guard station during the 400 years that Venice held Crete. The fortress still stands atop the island’s peak and many of us were even motivated to visit it! After the slow shuffle up the hot, dusty hill, what better than a bay of turquoise, emerald and azure waters to cool the heels!
Our next stop was at the beach of Balos—rumored to be one of Greece’s most beautiful. Upon approach I could see why. The long, white strip of sand runs between two mountainous bookends with open surf on one side and a shallow, tranquil lagoon on the other. It was the perfect place to do anything from body surfing to soaking. The best part—aside from us, there was nothing there but a few beach chairs and umbrellas. No hotels, no restaurants, no souvenir shops.
Our return boat ride doubled as happy hour and half price cocktails were served to James Brown’s funky beat. We motored back to the bay and had the evening in Chania to explore on our own, but not before having to show our passports to a line of secret service and other security to get into our own hotel! No, this is not a normal Greek custom. It was due to our flight companions attending the Greek Orthodox gathering who happened to be having dinner next door. Security was impressive and people watching was at its best. But this would not be the last time their activities collided with ours.
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