Since this is our first ever post about our travels, we decided to start with one of our first destinations: Greece! Specifically Amoudara, Crete. I went on this trip with my boyfriend in the summer of 2012. The vacation started incredibly well, as I had just found out I had been accepted to my preferred university, so it was definitely well deserved!
We chose Greece because we wanted the beach, we wanted heat, good food, and maximum fun. And that’s what we got! Read all about it below in our Amoudara, Crete Insider Guide. Let’s start with the beginning.
STAY Amoudara, Crete Insider Guide
We stayed at Apollonia Resort & Spa, an awesome resort that has two housing options: the first, was the building of the hotel itself and the second – the bungalows. Obviously, we chose the second option – we are all for new experiences. The resort meets all the standards for an awesome vacation: private beach, huge swimming pool, kids swimming pool, outside and inside restaurants, spas, outside cinema, tennis courts, mini-golf and even and outside club.
But where were we? Oh, yes, the bungalow… So even though everything was splendid and we felt as if the whole resort was ours, we also experienced an unforeseen incident. On our third day of vacation, we had a “little” rain going on during the night. It was unexpected since Crete does not usually see a lot of rain in the summer. So unexpected, that the balconies were not equipped with any sort of drain system.
And so, after a good night sleep, romantically listening to the rain, surprise! We woke up with above the ankle water level in the room. Now I forgot a little detail: I’m usually an organized person, but on vacation, any sense of organization gets forgotten the minute we arrive at the hotel. I don’t even pick up the suitcase from the floor, or the discarded clothes after a nice walk. Sooo, guess what? All our stuff that was on the floor was completely soaked.
A little disclaimer: I’ve also been told by a certain someone I was with that the situation was not as dramatic as I have the tendency to recall it. But anyway. *eye roll*
The event was handled beautifully by the hotel. We called the reception, and they swiftly took all the water out and laundered all our clothes and affected items free of charge. After they arrived at the room to assess the situation we went to have breakfast and when we returned the room was spotless.
EAT Amoudara, Crete Insider Guide
Skipping over this minor inconvenience, let’s talk about food! From the renowned Souvlaki – the most famous type of skewers to Kakavia – the well-established Greek fish soup, the food was extraordinary!
You can choose to eat at the hotel, where you can get mostly anything, or you can eat somewhere in the city of Heraklion for a more accurate Greek experience. Greek tavernas are well sought after for their specific Greek ambiance and great price. There are two main types of tavernas:
Psarotaverna – ideal if you prefer fish and seafood, this is the restaurant for you.
Psistaria – great if you’re in the mood for meat and delicious BBQs, this restaurant will be more appropriate.
Dessert wise, there were fewer options: lots of fruit and very sweet desserts such as baklava. Since almost every meal in Greece is cooked with olive oil and feta cheese, the desserts incorporate an abundance of syrup and honey. But since you’re not supposed to count calories on vacation, just eat!
FUN Amoudara, Crete Insider Guide
After a plentiful meal, we must do some exercise. I’m just joking, it’s not the best idea to start walking after a full Greek meal. But, after some rest and a beach tanning session, a little visiting is in order. We always like to find out the most we can about the place we are vacationing in, its culture and what makes it special, especially when talking about Crete, where cultures overlap due to its unique location.
So, what tours should you choose? Amoudara, Crete Insider Guide
Agio-Nicolas – a coastal city where you will admire Lake Voulismeni, around which the city is built.
Heraklion – the capital of Crete, lively place, full of tavernas, outside shows, shops, but also scooters.
Hersonissos – preferred by young people for parties, bars, and clubs, but also by parents and kids for its amusement parks.
Knossos Palace – where you’ll discover the ruins of the Minoan civilization and a key point for understanding the Greek history, tradition, and myths.
Spinalonga Island – where at one point all the lepers from Crete were brought, it’s the site of numerous movies, especially horror movies; it is now an abandoned island but where you’ll be welcomed by a BBQ as only Greeks know.
Cretan Evening – you will assist at a traditional music and dance Greek show, where you can either participate or choose to watch tasting traditional dishes and drinking wine.
Water City – the biggest water park on the island, located between Heraklion and Hersonissos; besides the fact that it has all kinds of slides that you can think of, the road to the top of the island where the park is located will prepare you for the adrenaline that follows.
The People Amoudara, Crete Insider Guide
Man sanctifies the place, the saying goes, so I feel the need to share how the people on the island are. First of all, they all say “hi”, so remember: Kalimera means “Good Morning” and Kalispera means “Good evening”, you will keep hearing them! The Greeks there are very open, friendly and chatty. I heard a saying that you can ask a Greek for directions and he ends the conversation by inviting you to dinner. It might seem weird, but the example expresses very well the Greek hospitality. All the Greeks we’ve met had a story to share with us. From the bartender at the hotel who, while we waited on our cocktail, told us how people live on the isle, to the hotel owner with who we exchanged cultural experiences, each talking about its own country, everyone is willing to chat and make your vacation as enjoyable as possible.
Sooo… quit your job, buy a ticket, get a tan, fall in love and never return! Just kidding, wait for the opportune moment and choose Crete. You will like it so much that you will go a second time, our case!
EXTRA Amoudara, Crete Insider Guide
What you need to know when you travel to Crete:
- The official language is Greek, but a good proportion of people understand English.
- The currency used is Euro.
- The Greeks don’t see you as a tourist, but as a guest in their home.
- The confusion between “yes” and “no” – in greek, ne means “yes” and ohi means “no”; we had a lot of confusion with this particular business.
- Tipping is optional, but we always tipped.
- Do not buy tours from your home country/agency, they will be available for purchase at your hotel and will be a lot cheaper.
- Whichever tour you choose, make sure you have your towels and swimsuits with you.
- Do not refuse when you are offered to taste something; not only it may seem impolite, but there’s a high chance you might like it 🙂
*Featured photo credit www.pinterest.com
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