Greece is BEAUTIFUL. We land on Crete and are taken to our hotel. What a view! Right away we know we have to book a tour to Santorini and I tell this to the tour guide in our hotel – who is RUSSIAN! (Side note: I spoke more Russian on this mini-getaway than I did in Israel.) Well, she doesn’t wait for us to put our things away, she leaves. So the front desk sends us to the main road in Hersonissos, the city we were staying in. We stop at one place, and try to book Santorini for Friday but the girls take too long deciding so the list closes for Friday. Nicole and I run around town like crazy looking for a different place that can still book us for Saturday – come on y’all it’s SANTORINI!!!
(I will mention that the other two girls went to the pool while Nicole and I tried to book our tours. And when we found out that we need to leave ASAP to change and go into town to book, they took their time. So I got annoyed and told them that they can do their own thing – I’m leaving them. I mean, come on! It’s not like I’m the only one that wants to go on the tour – why do I have to do all the work while they play?? I think I make a valid point…must reconsider my verbalization of said point for the future.)
We find a Russian tour place, and my Russian pays off. (Shout out to za mama that helped me keep my Russian, THANK YOU!) We’re booked!
We head back to the other girls and book a day trip to Spinalonga for Friday. It’s going to be a packed weekend, but I’m excited! As Nicole and I walked back we noticed that there are a lot of cute shops – so we agreed to visit them later.
We all head back to the hotel for our free dinner, and then decide to go out. Where do we go? An Arabian hookah place. Yup, not some Greek local thing – an Arabian place. Ah, the funny moments in life. So this entire trip, I have been so good about NOT smoking hookah so that my lungs are clear for our runs, and I don’t cough and sound like a man – but this is different. And so I take a puff – shit! not only does it taste kinda bad, but I start coughing like a rookie. Ooooops! One drink, 3 puffs, and 3 hours later and we’re headed back to the hotel. We have to be up early for our Spinalonga tour.
The bus picks us up and we’re off to the pier. Onto a boat for English speakers, and a fun ride to the beach of Spinalonga. The water is so nice, and the beach is small – perfect for our group.
The water is absolutely amazing. As most of you know, I love being in the water, I just hate the process of getting in. It takes me forever…The girls tease me about this, but overall it was WONDERFUL. From the boat to the beach, there is a mini-rock climbing portion. Not by choice, but to get to the small beach we must get through some shrubbery an d rocks. In the water, the four of us goof around and start singing old songs. Most of the people look at us like we’re crazy, but some either sing along (Thank you British girls!). At some point we see people taking turns jumping off the side of the boat. I really want to do this. So Nicole and I head back to our boat and jump off the side. It’s my first time jumping off a boat. It’s exhilarating – but not like sky-diving at all (Ahem Nana.). We take a bunch of photos…just not very good ones – so you won’t see them. J But just pretend you can see me jumping off a boat. Now that you’ve taken a minute to picture me in your mind, please make sure I look svelte doing so J
After the beach and lunch on the boat, we head over to the demolished castle to explore. It’s a really cool experience! We learn the significance of the island, and the fact that exiled people were sent there to live. I kinda wanted to mention that the Jews weren’t even given a place to live when exiled – but I figured I’d keep quiet since we are in Greece, and don’t really want to ruin relations…
Ok, a little history on Spinalonga…Thank you tour guide and Wikipedia.
Originally, Spinalonga was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation, the island was carved out of the coast for defense purposes and a fort (you say fort, I say castle) was built there. During Venetian rule, salt was harvested from salt pans around the island. The island has also been used as a leper colony.