June 22, 2019: Cretan Dancing

Saturday. GT2 Day Fourteen. Aptera, Crete, Greece.

Two weeks we have been in Greece now. It is hard to believe!

Last night was our night to sleep in and get some rest, because today is our last full day in Greece and Emily wants to spend the day at the nearby beach, and tonight at the Cretan Corner in Aptera for authentic Cretan dancing. Then tomorrow we have to be up and on the road early to drive to the airport in Iraklio where we have to drop off the car at eleven and catch our three forty five flight from Iraklio to Rome and our adventures in Italy will begin. We are in Italy about as long as we were in Greece. We have two days in Rome, one day in Naples / Pompeii, two nights staying in Umbria, and finally four nights in Tuscany back in Montecatini Terma, where we took Liesl and Luciana on our GT1 trip in 2012.

This morning we discovered that rather than getting cooler as we head into more northern bits of Europe that it is actually going to get hotter! We have had eighty six to eighty eight degrees with unblinking sunlight for all ten days that we have been in Greece. With the humidity here and lack of strong air conditioning, and constantly being outside in the sun and moving around, that heat is unbearable. At least we were only in a city for a short time, being out in the country helps with the heat. But going to Rome, we are looking at temperatures more like ninety six and higher in the big city. And going to Naples we are looking at maybe one hundred and three degrees, and our apartment there does not have air conditioning! Our time in Italy is likely going to be extremely painful.

I got up at eight this morning and got to work getting media uploaded for everyone. Now that we have Internet again, we are at least getting a few last minute things posted before we start moving heavily again. And who knows what kind of Internet options we are going to have while we are in Italy. As of this morning, Flickr and Instagram are actually caught up. But we will be generating more media throughout the day. But at least those are not behind. YouTube is not caught up, but is way ahead of where it was. I will be uploading to YouTube all day today. Because those videos go up in 4K, they truly take just forever.

Dominica got to work this morning on laundry. Today is the last laundry day for a while, and everything needs to dry before we leave in the morning.

I managed to get caught up with SGL posts by about noon. And got everything uploaded that is going to be uploaded except for the “Emily Interviews” which are running now. I am hopeful that at least one more of those (one is already uploaded) will make it before we leave Greece. If we are really lucky, there will be two, but after today there will be more Flickr and Instagram uploads to do so that will take precedence.

For lunch I just reheated pasta from Don Rosario from the other night. I ate the girls’ leftovers as they don’t really eat leftovers. They ate some pastries from the bakery that we went to last night for their lunch.

Dominica decided to hang back again today. She says so that she can do laundry and get stuffed packed. But really, she just likes being away from all of us and it makes for a good excuse. She and Madeline are always looking for chances to read or watch movies. Emily and I are the only ones actually wanting to go out and do stuff, most of the time.

So by early after lunch it was just Emily, Madeline, and me driving down the hill and slightly east to the nearest beach to the house. On the way there we stopped at the Cretan Corner to make reservations for our dinner even tonight. It is down a tiny back road and there isn’t much there, but the Almy Hotel is there with a bar and chairs on the beach, so it was perfect. It was hot, but bearable for laying out. We got some chairs, which are free there, and hung out. It is a really nice beach and was decently busy, but certainly not crowded. The water was nice and people were swimming.

It took almost two hours, because the waitress didn’t know how to take a cocktail drink order as cocktails are almost unheard of in this part of the world, and because she forgot to bring us menus. But after nearly two hours, we managed to order hurricanes for Madeline and I, and a Blue Lagoon for Emily. In order to make them, the waitress had to take pictures of my phone with descriptions of the drinks so that the bartender could try to make them with the ingredients that they had. They were happy to try, but it was all something that they didn’t know about. So when our drinks finally arrived they were good, but not the same as those cocktails back home, that’s for sure. But it was really nice having drinks on the beach. Very refreshing.

After an hour, the drinks were gone and it was hot. As it is our “drink on the beach” day, we did one more round. All Blue Lagoons this time, to make it easier on the waitress. Later we would find out that not only was Emily secretly stealing sips from Madeline’s drink, but when I took Emily to the restroom at the hotel, Madeline poured her drink into Emily’s and didn’t tell her. So Emily ended up with more than three drinks, when we only knew that she had ordered two. Something she would regret later.

We could only stay on the beach until six thirty because we had reservations at the Cretan Corner for dinner and a show tonight. So at six we did the obligatory beach photo shoot. The drinks were already hitting Emily and she was noticeably needing Madeline to keep her upright for much of the shoot. She noticed a day later in the pictures that you could see from her expression and stance that she was pretty tipsy. Emily has to remember that Europe is not like the US and getting a drink is not a challenge, so stealing drinks just to get some isn’t good because all you do is lose the ability to monitor (and be monitored) in what you are drinking. And Madeline needs to learn that sneaking alcohol into someone, especially in significant “percentages of their tolerance” quantities is a really bad thing to do and can have dangerous consequences because absolutely no one is checking volumes in that case. For Emily, one drink is a lot and two is the limit. She is very similar to Dominica. Dominica can feel one, is totally tipsy at two, and three will need help to do anything. So throwing either of them off by even half a drink from what they think that they have had, is a huge percentage of what they can handle. For someone like me, sneaking me a six pack would likely not even be noticed.

We packed up and were off of the beach right at six thirty. We ran to the grocery store near the beach, the same one that we went to on our first day here, and picked up some necessary supplies. Then were back up at the house to shower, get Dominica, and head to dinner.

Dinner is officially at eight. But they had recommended that we get there by seven thirty. They were right. I would recommend more like seven fifteen, although seven thirty worked just fine. You could get there later, but they will serve right away and it is best to get a lot of your meal out of the way early, you don’t want to be mid-meal during the show, as it turns out. It was fine for us, but anyone looking here for guidance, I’d lean towards earlier. And plan for a long night, the show was not short (and SO worth the money.) Great value for the food and the show, if you are in the area, do this for sure.

The restaurant was pretty full. Dinner was great, it is a full, traditional Cretan meal. Dominica had to make due with a lot of substitutions to accommodate her onion allergy. The girls both did chicken and, of course, I did the vegetarian meal. The food was excellent. I was especially into the salad. Real Greek salads are amazing and I could eat them all day. In the US the feta is just not the same and I don’t really like it. It’s funny how much I love feta in Greece and can definitely do without it in the US. But it just doesn’t make it over the same.

The show was fantastic. It started out with some “simple” traditional Cretan dancing. And the dancers would go for a little while and then take a break. And come back after resting a bit. Giving you a chance to watch, then eat, then watch. It started around dusk, so there was sunlight. But as it got darker they turned up the music and the dancing got more intense. Before long they were grabbing people from the crowd to come dance with them.

We all got pulled into a Cretan “conga line” that was very energetic. Emily and Madeline got pulled into all kinds of dances, they were very popular. I managed to get loads of video of them dancing. We had so much fun. The show was about three hours long, we didn’t head back home until nearly eleven! We had no idea that the show would be so thorough and entertaining, nor that it was go for some long. So much fun and such a great evening. And something really cultural that really showed off the local Cretan heritage. We had a great time and this is easily the best thing that we’ve done so far on the trip. A huge highlight, for sure. We are so lucky that Emily and I randomly drove past this one week ago and just decided that this is what we were going to do tonight.

We had to get home and get packed and to bed. Tomorrow morning we have to leave early and get on our flight to Italy. This was our last full day in Greece. Our flight tomorrow is not early, but to make it there we have to leave quite early as we are scheduled to drop off the rental car in Iraklio at eleven. Technically, with no traffic, it should be only two hours away, Crete is not that big of an island, but we need a little buffer time. Everyone is expecting to be up at eight and rushed out the door by nine.

Tomorrow is an “all day travel day.” From the moment we wake up until we get to bed in Rome. So there will be very little on interest tomorrow, unlike today which was full of activity.