Two weeks in Crete on a last-minute deal: from Chania and Rethymon to Iraklio, Chersonisos and Siteia, we packed it all in those 14 days!

Day 0 : 12 July 2003 : En route

Getting there

Day zero? What's all that about? Well, as with most package deals, there's a catch - and the first catch with this late deal to Crete (there were to be more) was that the first day - Saturday - was actually when the flight left, which ended up getting us in to the Greek island of Crete at around 2:30 am.

The pilot announced that the outside temperature was 25 degrees. I calmly took this information in, knowing full well that what it really translated to was this: "You can forget about personal hygiene folks - you're gonna be sweating buckets tomorrow." But never mind tomorrow, eh? 25 degrees is hot enough for me already. What had I got us into?

Well, in fairness, I didn't really know what to expect. Guidebooks had suggested a temperature of 28 degrees - but they didn't mention that this was a night-time average! Also, we had only decided on Crete just 5 days ago having trawled through the Teletext offers, and we knew nothing of our accommodation. Although it was named accommodation, that was close to useless as the operators - Olympic - had no information on the place, Tzikas Apartments. We had chosen this because

  1. it sounded the most Greek of those on offer and
  2. it had something that sounded like 'Sea' in it.

All very scientific, I'm sure you'll agree.

As we flew in over the island, the pilot skirted along the northern Cretan coastline for some distance, dropping ever further down until we could see the surf breaking and, had it been daytime, we might have been able to read the labels off the swimming costumes people were wearing. Yep, it felt like we were nearly touching the water, but I wasn't ready for a spot of surfing so early in.

Having gone through the usual checking in procedures and baggage reclaim fun-and-games ("Please let it be there, please let it be there ... and please let it be among the first to come off the carousel"), we were pointed in the direction of a coach laid on by the tour operators. Nearly there - but where was 'there'?

Well, like I said, there's always a catch - we approached a very impressive looking complex right on the sea, but then drove right on past it, coasted alongside a deserted stretch of the beach, then turned right - back away from the water and further inland - up toward some nondescript buildings on a road with nothing else on. These were our apartments.

It's happened before - notably in Tenerife when we stayed in a place called Costa del Silencio (hell, that name should have given us a hint), and every place we stayed in during the tour of Italy (for example, brochure said 'Rome', the location was actually Fiano Romano, a place that was a good 30 minutes' drive from the centre). Ah well, you live and learn (or maybe we skipped the second part of that sentence). Ah, whatever, it was a last minute deal - let's roll with it for now and see how it goes!