Massage, Leisure, and a Leper Colony – my first couple days on Crete

Hello from Crete, Greece!  Yes, in the middle of summer; but it’s a dry heat.

To start off, I didn’t know if I was going to make this trip. Jason has a conference here and I really wanted to go but our Flinty boy, our oldest and first springer spaniel furry kid, didn’t do so well with us away for our Israel trip in January so I was going to stay with him. We knew he didn’t have too much time left but didn’t want to stress him out. He got to the point of being immobile and incontinent along with high anxiety. Even when one of us was away it stressed him out.  Each week we noticed him getting worse and we knew it was his time. So we agreed about a month ago that he needed help moving on. That sweet boy – Hardest decision we’ve made. We waited until a few days before we left so we could spend time together with him. 

I’ll write a memorial to him in another post, just can’t bring myself to do it yet. Our sweet boy.

Ok, now I’m teary and need to write about our trip so far.

So after an emotional few days we flew to Crete. Left our house at 6 am Thursday, arrived on Crete around 4 pm Friday – a lot of travel time and jet lag. We fought the urge to nap and once we checked into our room went to the pool to wake up. My back was hurting from all the sitting so I was able to get in for a short massage.  

Greek coffees at the airport

HO LEE SHIT what an experience that was! To start, they told me to get completely nude underneath the robe. Ok, I’ve had a massage before but had the option… I get to the room and there’s a guy in there ready for me. He tells me to lay down so I did, with my robe on. (I’m very literal, but he’s standing there so I’m not going to disrobe with him standing there!) He tells me to take my robe off but there’s no sheets to get under so I’m feeling really out of my comfort zone about this situation. So as awkwardly as I could I took the top of the rob off without him seeing my boobs but I did keep it on enough to cover my ass – I mean what was I supposed to do?! He proceeded to kneed my neck and lower back like dough and dug his knuckles into knots in my neck I didn’t know I had. A few times I thought he was either going to strangle me or move my spinal cord out of my spine! It was the deepest tissue massage of my life! I fought through it because I knew it was good for me and only 25 minutes but was so relieved when that massage was finished, I tell you! It’s been 3 days and I still feel the tenderness in the muscles that were kneeded.
The place we are staying, the Royal Mare resort, is also where Jason’s conference is held so it is very convenient for him but not what we would choose if it weren’t for the conference. It’s a big resort, not unlike American resorts at all, just Russian tourists instead. We were the likely the only Americans as well as a few others attending the conference.

We found a great little seafood restaurant for dinner that we walked to called Saradari that had awesome views overlooking the ocean. We had homemade pasta with prosciutto and crab balls, bottle of local rose, and a chocolate soufflé that took at least a half hour to get. We had dinner for like 3 hours but it was fantastic not to be rushed!

Dinner viewRose
We crashed when we got back to the room. Although, I was wide awake from 1:30-4:30 am as usual every time I travel abroad. God, that sucked so bad the next day….

Our first full day on Crete, Saturday, we went with a tour group through Jason’s conference to Spinalonga and Aghios Nikolaos aka St Nicholas. I soon remembered why I don’t do tour groups. Anyway, since we didn’t rent a car it was the only way to see this former leper colony.

Spinalonga is an islet that is layered in history from the medieval Venetian and Ottomans until it became a leper colony from 1903-1950 or sometime around there. The book “The Island” by Victoria Hislop is set in Spinalonga.

Docking at SpinalongaLeper colonySpinalonga
It was super windy and we didn’t get to go to a beach as was part of the tour so we spent a short time in St Nicholas instead and had a frappe and cappuccino to wake us up. It helped. A frozen yogurt was calling our names too. That was about all we had time for there. More pool time and resisting a nap time when we got back then had a pretty good dinner at a restaurant in the resort since we were both tired. 

After another nice long meal with a bottle of more local rose, topped off with homemade truffles and some digestif liquor that tasted florally and like sumac that left a really good aftertaste and was gratis, we went back to our room and sat on our huge patio. Or I should say fell asleep on our patio. Jason’s snoring woke me up about two hours later so I left him there and went to bed. Hey, that wasn’t bitchy of me to leave him out on the patio! He always talks about wanting to sleep on our porch at home so this was his chance! The blaring bad Russian music woke him up a few hours later and he came to bed.

I actually slept through the entire night! I was quite happy with myself since it takes me a few night of being awake for a few hours due to jet lag.

Sunday was a day of leisure. We laid on our patio and read for a few hours, went to the pool, back to the patio… you see the trend. Tonight we’re meeting up with a large group of Jason’s colleagues and advisors and going out for dinner and a reception for the conference.  As I’m writing this I was planning on posting it Sunday but since we’re going to a traditional Greek restaurant for dinner I’ll continue on and post later so you can see some good food pics.

Here are pics from dinner at Mythos Taverna, a traditional Creten restaurant.  The owner and staff were so friendly! We shared the traditional Greek platter and rose of course.  The owner brought us fruit and ouzo with lemon juice for dessert, again for free! The ouzo with lemon was outstanding! One of the tables in our group didn’t drink theirs so we lagged behind to polish it off.  We didn’t want to waste it!

Dessert and ouzoDinner viewGreek platter for 2
Monday I’m looking forward to a food walking tour so look forward to more posts!

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