Crete – part four

Gottle’s Guide to being a Tourist on Crete

100910a.jpgCrete has some amazing places to be a tourist, and while lounging by the pool is lovely, if it’s all you do you’ll miss an awful lot. Today’s picture was taken in the Melidoni Cave, one of many places with a grisly past, thanks to the one-time Turkish occupation of the island.

My first tip – and something I like to do wherever I go – is to learn at least a few words of the language. Everybody in the touroidy places speaks English, but I like to at least be able to say “Hello”, “Thank You” and “Help! Purple Fred (whom I love very much) is having an anaphylactic shock because of her nut allergy” – it seems only polite. I didn’t bother this time, thinking “I managed alright on Lanzarote last year” – completely – and stupidly – forgetting that having O level Spanish might have had something to do with that. Hoping to correct my error, at least partly, I asked the girl in the ice cream shop how to say “thank you” – she made me repeat it four times and I’d still forgotten before I left the shop.

Secondly, it seems obvious, but plan what you’re going to do and when – the hottest part of the day isn’t ideal for being outdoors, but there are plenty of indoor attractions to visit, and the caves are always cool! Also, even on hot days it’s cooler up in the mountains. We did a 4×4 safari day (expensive, but in terms of Euros-per-hour it was the best value thing we did), and we were taken to mountain villages we definitely wouldn’t have seen any other way, as well as a couple of places that were already on our ”must see” list. We normally prefer to use the hire car and do our own thing, but I’d definitely do this one again.

And on which subject – if you choose to go self-propelled, get a decent map: Crete has a spider web of tiny roads, and even the fair looking map that Hertz gave us with the car didn’t show more than half of them, and the map that came with the guidebook was even worse. I splashed some cash on the detailed Crete map for TomTom – expensive but well worth it!

Finally – Heraklion airport isn’t the most modern I’ve ever been through :-( .

Still to come – “Cats in Crete” and “Gottle’s Review of The God Delusion” which he read in Crete”.

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