A couple of months ago, I started reading an e-book called Stars of Fortune. It was kind of slow to start, or at least I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but soon it captured my imagination and now I can’t wait for the last in the series to be published.
Anyway, a lot of the first book takes place on an island named Corfu. Something about the name tickled the back of my mind, but I couldn’t summon any facts or memories about the place. The book makes Corfu seem sort of magical, and given that I love visiting magical places, I immediately developed a desire to visit and set about doing some research.
It turns out Corfu is an island just off Greece, surrounded by warm, crystal clear waters, and studded with picturesque villages. Sounds great, right? I thought so too. Until I read that there’s some sort of garbage dispute on the island, and months worth of refuse is piling up everywhere, with all the attendant problems you can imagine.
Still, there are lots of Greek islands, and they can’t all have garbage problems, so after some more looking, it seemed like Santorini and Crete were the biggest standouts. They both have plenty of good hotels, good food, picturesque villages, and the ubiquitous beautiful clear water. Santorini is in fact the prettier of the two, I believe, being on the edge of a sunken volcanic caldera. But it’s also quite small, and I worried about getting bored during a five-day stay; I’m not type to sit and bake under the sun on my balcony for hours at a time. I need something to explore!
So, Crete it is. Crete is large — maybe the size of Hawaii. Perhaps too large. I’ll have to drive an hour and a half from the airport to get to my hotel in Rethymno. But still, that means there should be plenty to do and see, including some Bronze Age ruins like Knossos, the oldest city in Europe. So, this seems like a good spot.
Of course, I still have to plan the trip to and from. The first thing you’ll notice about Crete is that it’s a very long way from Seattle. Like, 14 or more hours on a plane, plus layovers and other travel-related waiting hassles. If fourteen hours in coach sounds to you like a good way to begin and end a week-long trip, you definitely have a different set of sensibilities than I. To me, it sounds like torture. Luckily, there’s an alternative. I have saved up enough frequent flyer miles to fly the entire round trip in business class, on some of Europe’s best airlines.
Throw in an amazing boutique hotel on Crete which gets generally rave reviews on TripAdvisor, an afternoon’s stay in Athens in which to see the Acropolis, and it all adds up to what I hope is a relaxing and memorable trip.