A Norwegian traveler (and soon to be expat in China) who is writing about how to travel affordable luxury, shop and live the life to the fullest with disabilities (a chronic tissue-disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Migraine and IBS) and food-allergies. You will always hear her coming on her "clicking", high-heels (she will never quit wearing her Ferragamo-shoes…)!
When abroad I’m usually not the one who drives. I’m not sure why, it’s just how it is. However when we were at Crete, me and my photographer, I was the only one with a driving-licence, so I had to be the driver this time.
When we arrived at the airport in Iraklio we followed the signs “car rental” and found our agent whoithout any problems. Having a smart-phone with a map-application made it easy to navigate. You have to roam in the beginning, but after the application has found the route, you can turn off roaming and the application will still help you navigate. The only time you have to roam is when you have to re-route.
Last time we were at Crete, 15 years ago, we had a rental car and I can remember being up in the mountains on very narrow, curvy roads, kind of scary. We never went to the mountains this time and driving on the highway was like driving at home. The only thing I found difficult was to drive in the afternoon/night as ther roads were very dark many places. However it didn’t scare me from renting a car at Crete. Actually I can recommened it as it’s so much easier to get around when you have a rental car!
In the end of October most of the tourists are gone and the island, that is very busy during the summer, is more relaxed and everybody is prepareing to closing down for the season. I was aware of this when we planned a week at Crete in the end of October and was prepared to meet an island that was tired of tourists, empty hotels and so-so weather.
What surprised me was that I was wrong in everything. I have been to Crete many times before, but it’s 10-15 years since my last visits, so comparing is not fair. However it seams like the Cretans were more relaxed and even more friendly. Most people were smiling and were very helpful and of course, very curisous when my photographer and I stopped to take pictures (and me posing…) everywhere.
Some shops, especially those close to the chartered hotels, were closed and most were quite empty, of course. There is no need to have a shop fully stocked when the hotels are closing! In the city-center of Iraklion the market and everything was still going strong with locals and the people, again, was relaxed and very friendly.
What about the weather? Although we were quite unlucky with the weather: overcast, rainy and windy, it was still 20 degrees. When the sun showed up it was actullay very warm! (The week before we arrived the were 25 degrees and sunny.) I was prepared for cold days and was, again, surprised by how nice the weather was when it was not raining. Actually I fell in love with the island and if I was thinking of buying an appartment in a warmer climate, I would absolutly consider Crete.