Wanderlust by Jona

Travel. Wanderlust. Blog. Photographer. Amanda Jona. Explore. Adventure. World. Traveller

Travel Diary: Crete Day 3 & 4

Our third and fourth day on Crete pretty much looked like day one.
We spent the days close to our hotel, swapping between laying on the beach and by the pool. I know that most full time working people think that's an amazing way to spend the day, but I get restless way to quickly. I mean, I can lay on my back and read at home - when I travel I want to explore as much as I possibly can. With that said, I'm still really good at adjusting and make the best out of the situation and ended up playing a lot of volleyball, tennis, taking long walks by the beach, swimming around with float toys and teaching my boyfriend's nieces how to swim.
I ended up photographing about two photos during the day, but I photographed a lot more during the evenings since they weren't looking that similar.
On our third day, we chose to have dinner pretty close to the hotel at Marem Restaurant. I had gotten tired of pizza and french fries since that had been pretty much the only vegetarian alternatives on the restaurants we had been on, but this day I "found out" that most of the appetizers were vegetarian and it worked fine ordering two or three as a main course instead. I got all vegetarian food, I got more food than the ones ordering a full meal and I paid less than them. Such a win-win-situation, haha! This night I had tzatziki, halloumi and a delicious thing with aubergines and feta cheese. 
After dinner, we decided to head down to the beach and bumped into a bunch of kittens who were fed with pasta bolognese. Stray cats and dogs are really common in all of Greece and this was actually the first place we saw that actively fed them.
When we got to the beach we stayed and watched the sunset and some of us decided to go on a spontaneous swim in the ocean. This was actually the only sunset we actively watched since we managed to eat dinner at that time every other night during our stay.
Our fourth night on Crete was spent inside Rethymnon, the city we were living just outside off. Some wanted to go shopping before dinner and since it's honestly impossible for 12 people to go shopping together without half the party waiting outside we all split up.
Me and my boyfriend tried to walk as far away from the tourist streets as possible to discover the “real” Rethymnon and walked into some really run down areas. Outside every other door, there were an older Greek sitting outside on a chair, just watching the people going by as an evening activity. I don't know why, but I found that just so charming!
Our meeting point was a big square called Mikrasiaton Square were I decided to send up my drone while we were waiting for the others to arrive. Apparently, my drone managed to summon every kid within a five-mile radius because suddenly the whole square was filled with kids who run after the drone and I had problems landing it again, haha! We had to wait for the others to arrive so we could make a circle/human shield around the drone while it was landing.
Then we had dinner at a restaurant in the middle of Rethymnon which our hotel had recommended us and said that we would get a 10% discount if we mentioned our hotel's name to the waiter - which we didn't get, haha. It was still a quite cozy restaurant.
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Travel Diary: Crete Day 2

Our second day on Crete was filled with adventures from early morning to late evening.
Me and my boyfriend shared our hotel room with two of his siblings and all of us woke up early and decided to take a morning walk since the breakfast didn't open until 8 am. We started off by walking on the beach and got to a more luxurious area than the one we were staying in which had some really nice sunbeds and cabanas by the ocean which I obviously had to stop and take some photos of, haha.
We walked through the city on our way back to our hotel which pretty much just offered hotels, restaurants, mini markets. It felt like such a typical area that has no charm on its own and is just made for charter tourists that want to lay on the beach all day with a drink in their hand. In other words - not a place for me that likes to explore the area I travel to. I only took photos of some abandoned and run down buildings since they at least have some personality, haha!

After breakfast, some of us decided to rent a car to head out and explore Crete outside the tourist bubble. We early on decided to name our car "Sleepy Gonzales - the slowest car in all Greece" with inspiration from Speedy Gonzales - the fastest mouse in all Mexico since it was SO SLOW. I have a theory that the woman at the rental agency gave us a car with zero acceleration because my boyfriend's brother asked "What happens if I crash?" when they talked about insurance, haha.
Our first stop of the road trip was Rethymnon where we parked the car and explored the city by foot. The town had a lot more charm and history than the area that we were living in but still felt like such a touristy place. I knew that Crete was a popular place for tourists and that Greece has had a major economic crisis, but I still wasn't expecting to bump into more Scandinavians than Greeks.
Anyway, we spent a couple of hours walking around at 34°c and I even bought a hat since my sunglasses made my face too sweaty, haha. We walked by the marina, Fortezza Castle and through the Old Town, having some milkshakes and lunch on the way before getting back to the car again.
With full on AC we got back on the road again with a destination on the south side of the island as our goal. I really recommend getting out of the cities on Crete because the island offers so many spectacular landscapes. We stopped at a place I after some time on Google Maps think was Canyon Kotsifou and tried to take some photos of the massive mountains.
We had asked the women at the car rental agency about her best places on Crete and she had shown us a really cool beach on the south side of the Island which was our goal of the day to reach. I thought she said Plakiás and my boyfriend thought she said Preveli, so we headed for Plakiás first just to find out I was wrong, haha. We got out of the car either way to see the beach but quickly went back to drive to Preveli instead.
Preveli Beach is only reachable either by boat or by hiking a mountain, so we parked our car at the top and started the hike down. The special thing about Preveli is that there's a river floating out in the ocean, surrounded by palm trees. It looked quite spectacular from above but was honestly a disappointment from the ground. So many tourists had found this "Secret Beach", the 15-20 minutes long hike down in almost 35°c heat was exhausting, and it was too windy to fly my drone in the area which I had been looking forward doing, haha.
We spent about an hour in the ocean to gather strength to do the climb back up again.
Once back at the hotel we met up with the rest of the travel party again and went out to have some dinner all 12 of us. I felt nostalgic and ordered a children's drink called Mickey Mouse (just like the ones I drank back on Kos in 2002!) and after that, it was a power failure so the chef wore a headlamp so he could see what he was doing in the kitchen and we ate our food in the dark, haha.
The power got back just in time for us to leave the restaurant, which actually was quite unfortunate because we were planning on spending the rest on the evening on the beach to watch the blood moon and a little less light pollution would have been nice so we could have seen more stars. I came prepared with a tripod and a telelens and managed to capture not only the moon but also the planet Mars in the same photo #naturephotographeroftheyear, haha.
After that, I fell asleep quite quickly.
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Travel Diary: Hillared

Having a hard time keeping track of where I am?
Well, I do. I always end up traveling a lot during summer and this summer has not been an exception. I went from Gotland (more post from that coming soon!) to Sunne and then I traveled to Crete (more posts is on its way!) and now I'm back home again (before my next trip on Friday) after spending some time in Hillared on the west coast of Sweden. At least I'm going to have a lot of blog material in the autumn with everything I don't have time to post straight away, haha.
Anyway. After my trip to Crete, I landed in Gothenburg instead of my hometown Stockholm because me and my boyfriend was going to spend some more time with his family in Hillared. All of them was on the Crete-trip, but there's a big difference in hanging out on a trip abroad than it is staying over at someone's house for a couple of days, and since we probably won't visit them again until Christmas we wanted as much quality time as possible. Most of the time we just spent time in their garden, playing with both dogs and nieces, eating great food and playing card games - which might explain why I only took a handful of photos during our four days in Hillared. It was a trip with complete relaxation.
One day we also went into the biggest city nearby, Borås, where we went to an outlet called Åhaga Outlet who sells clothes and interior from brands like NA-KD, Ellos, StayHard, Gina Tricot, Esprit and more. We were there during their last opening weekend so it was 50% off on everything - but I still only managed to find two knitted shirts, haha. Apparently believed I needed that this summer which has been the warmest one in many many years ;)