We’re in Slovenia, after visiting a few awesome places in Croatia on our way to Spain; it’s crazy hot outside and this guy who offered us a couch (Couchsurfing) leaves us 5km away from this tiny town on the shores of the Adriatic Sea… In an old camper vehicle on the property outside of town; with no electricity, no running water and no shops…
What we’re gonna do? – my friend says to me nervously – We’re gonna dry out here without water, and I’m literally melting down right now – she continues – You think we should stay or should we somehow try to find a cab and return to the town?
Yeah, I know, the weirdest ever introduction to a spectacular Mediterranean island of Crete, but this is how things actually started. We’ve returned that afternoon to this cute Slovenian town, went to a local bar, ordered a couple of beers when I received an email from my close friend saying that she’s quitting her stressful job, going to play her accordion in the streets of Heraklion, the capital and biggest city in Crete.
We looked at each other, momentarily decided to change the route, and just a couple of days after this weird situation in Slovenia, we were in the train to Athens.
Now, if you decide not to take a plane to Crete, prepare yourself to a 50 hour trip – if your starting point is somewhere in Croatia. You should get on a train to Belgrade, to Thessalonki, another train to Athens, ending the route with a 9 hour long ferry ride…
Crete is the largest of Greek Islands, actually the fifth largest in the Mediterranean. It’s the place of an important economical and cultural significance to Greece; the center of Minoan civilization – the earliest recorded civilization in Europe, but also – for some reason – pretty attractive place to hippies in the 60s and the 70s… I mean, even today hippies travel to Crete, and you’ll get that as soon as you board a ferry in Athens.
After a few days spent in island’s capital Heraklion, and after we explored the destination; hung out with the locals, we found out there’s one place we have to visit… Matala – a tiny town on the coast of the Libyan Sea, where hippies lived back in the day…
WHY TO VISIT CRETE?
A few days ago I watched a Norwegian movie called “Kon-Tiki”, about a legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal and his epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsawood raft in 1947, in an effort to prove that it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.
And there’s one scene in particular that moved me and reminded me of Crete:
“It feels like we’re the only people in the universe – says one of 6 “Kon-Tiki Expedition” men while they all look upon the night sky full of stars.
Maybe we are – whispers another one.
Maybe they all killed each other with bombs… And every city is like Hiroshima.”
You know that feeling when you find a spectacular wild beach, or you’re far in the mountains, far from civilization where it seems like you’re the only human on Earth?
Crete’s a perfect place to get that feeling running.