Sunday 7th August 2022
Introduction: Moving on Again
You may be wondering, why Crete? Well, prices this year have been higher than ever and demand for accommodation is extremely high across the Cyclades. To save a bit of money during my extended trip, I decided to spend some time on Crete as it’s one of the cheapest Greek destinations – being the largest island keeps prices down due to the wide availability of accommodation and plenty of tourists to fund the local economy.
I’ve visited Crete many times before, so although it won’t be a totally new experience, I’m staying in a different location and no two trips are ever quite the same so I’m looking forward to moving on. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but the best thing about island hopping is it really does feel like lots of holidays rolled into one, so each new destination brings with it a sense of anticipation and excitement.
Breakfast, Packing and Collecting Memories
After my final breakfast at the hotel, I packed most of my gear ready to depart. Check-out is normally 10 am, but I asked if I could stay a bit longer and was told I could keep the room until midday. My ferry wasn’t until 3:15 pm so I had plenty of time to spare.
I decided to go for a walk around Mylopotas resort and take a few last photos while reliving some happy memories I’ve collected over my various trips here:
After a stroll along the beach, I walked down to Far Out Village and Beach Club:
I then walked all the way north to the mini-market to get a protein drink for a snack:
I got back to the hotel a bit before midday, just enough time to shower and finish packing before vacating my room for the last time.
Back to the Port and Delayed Ferry Ride
The owners of Deep Blue Rooms had offered me a free transfer back to the port but could only take me at 1 pm, which was a little early for my 3:15 pm ferry but I figured it still saved me money and I had no reason to hang around the resort any longer. I sat for a while under the shade outside the hotel reception until it was time to depart.
While I was waiting, I received a text from Seajets to inform me that my ferry had been delayed and wouldn’t be departing until 4 pm which was a bit frustrating, but hey, nothing I could do about it and at least I knew not to expect it on time.
I wasn’t hungry when I arrived down at the port, so instead of setting up camp in a cafe or taverna near the port, I decided to walk around to Agia Irini church which I’d visited earlier in the week. I knew it would be a quiet spot and had some trees for shade and plenty of low walls and steps to sit down and read my Kindle.
On the walk around from my drop-off point, I stopped at a small supermarket and got a cold beer and some biscuits to snack on.
By mid-afternoon, I was a bit bored of reading and had a slightly numb bum from the hard wall I was using as a perch, so I figured it was time to get moving. I dragged my case back around to the harbour and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to get a decent meal, realising that by the time I arrived at my destination on Crete, it would be pretty late. I found a nice spot called Sailing Cafe Bar with some shaded outdoor seating. A quick browse of the menu and a few minutes later, I was enjoying a tasty chicken burger and Freddo espresso.
Ferry to Crete
I remained at the cafe until just after 4 pm, having checked MarineTraffic.com and seen that the Seajet ferry was even later than its delayed schedule and didn’t look like it would arrive until nearer 4:30. I gave it another 10 minutes, then paid the bill and strolled over to the busy port where lots of other tourists were waiting for one of several ferries that were due to arrive. I joined the queue, managing to squeeze through to the shaded area and a few minutes later the large boat appeared from around the headland.
Boarding the ferry was a typically chaotic experience, but as always I slipped through most of the crowd, stowed my suitcase quickly and found my allocated seat upstairs. Fortunately, it was a window seat and I had nobody sitting next to me so it was relatively quiet and spacious.
We reached Santorini about 40 minutes later. The ferry windows were quite dirty from a build-up of salty water and I’ve seen the island a few times now, so I didn’t pay much attention until we were on the move again. Unfortunately, my adjacent empty seats were soon taken by a few guys but they were quieter than I expected and didn’t bother me.
The ferry had been due to arrive in Crete at 6:15 pm, but with the delay, it was closer to 8 pm when I set foot back on dry land. I grabbed my suitcase and made straight for the bus station opposite the large port. I’d checked on my phone and confirmed that a bus to Stalis would be departing at 8:15 so I hurried across the road, trying to remember where the entrance to the bus station was located – I had it on my map but it’s always hard to find as the main entrance faces away from the port on a different street.
Arriving with a few minutes to spare, I bought my ticket and joined the small group of people waiting at the designated stand. We soon got on board and I found an empty row to sit down, placing my large backpack on the seat next to me. It was another brand-new bus with comfy leather seats and nice cool air-conditioning, much like the one I’d travelled on to Sitia last year.
Stalis – Welcome to Tourist Greece
It took nearly an hour to reach my destination in Stalis, with frequent stops to let people off at the various villages along the way. My next accommodation, Minois Boutique Hotel, was close to the main road, set back from the beach up a moderately steep hill. I’d been expecting the hill, but it’s still a sorry sight when you’re tired and carrying heavy baggage! As usual, I decided that I’d get it over with quickly and dragged my case at a pretty rapid pace until I arrived at the reception, looking rather sweaty and dishevelled.
Despite my appearance, I received a warm welcome from the man at the reception desk (who turned out to be the co-owner) – he even gave me a free small bottle of cold water to gulp down while he processed my check-in details. I was shown to a lovely single room on the first floor – probably the nicest of my trip so far – quickly undressed and took a cool shower.
Feeling much revived, I decided to head straight out and explore Stalis before bed – partly to see what it was like and what was nearby, but also to stock the fridge with some essentials: water, biscuits and protein shakes (if I could find them).
I knew Stalis by its reputation as a popular tourist resort for UK visitors, having passed through it several times and stayed in Malia, the next resort along the coastline. Even so, I wasn’t quite prepared for the masses of Brits (mostly sunburnt to varying degrees) and quantity of British-themed bars and restaurants: Robin Hood bar, Leprechaun Pub, and Slainte Irish bar to name just a few. However, I wasn’t here expecting to see any new sights or discover hidden traditional Greek life, it was mostly just to relax and save a bit of money during my extended trip.
I walked most of the way through the village as far as the Cactus Beach Hotel to get a sense of where everything was, then retraced my steps, stopping at what looked to be the largest mini-market I’d seen – figuring it was the most likely place to sell protein shakes and be reasonably priced. I got it half right: they did have protein shakes but at €3.10, weren’t particularly cheap. Regardless, I needed to stock up so I bought 4 of them plus a 6 pack of small bottled water, not wanting to weigh myself down too much – once up the hill to the hotel with heavy baggage was more than enough for today!
I was quite tired by this point and didn’t fancy eating again, so I just had one of the protein shakes as I walked back to the hotel, ready for an early night. The bed, while not a double, was plenty big enough and the mattress delightfully soft, so much so that I fell asleep quicker than I had done in a long time.