Tuesday 9th – Saturday 13th August 2022
Getting into a Routine
As promised in yesterday’s post, I’m condensing the remaining 5 full days in Stalis down to a single update. Most days follow a similar routine and aren’t worthy of dedicated posts, but I’ll mention some highlights below.
Having failed to find a public gym in Stalis yesterday, I set my sights further afield and located one nearby in Hersonissos. Called Flex Gym, I wouldn’t have known about it had it not been mentioned on a TripAdvisor forum post. It wasn’t within walking distance, but there was a regular bus service between the coastal resorts and the nearest stop was just down from my hotel (bus stop 28).
The journey to Hersonissos took about 10 minutes and bus stop 21 is just a minute’s walk from the gym. I was able to buy sessions in blocks of two for €10 which was reasonable. The gym itself was similar to those I’d used on Paros and Ios – i.e. fairly old equipment and no air-conditioning – but I was fairly well acclimatised by now and managed several decent workouts during the course of the week.
Hersonissos itself seemed like a much busier resort than Stalis, so I was glad not to have stayed there as I prefer things on the quieter side, but it had a good atmosphere and plenty of shops, tavernas and bars.
Hiking in the Hills
On Thursday 11th, I had a rest day from the gym and decided to take a late afternoon hike inland towards the village of Mochos. A path exists starting from the road that runs past Minois Boutique Hotel (where I’m staying), across a bridge over the main road and up the hillside towards the village.
The route is fairly clear and easy to follow, though some old metal fences had been tied up blocking the path in a couple of places and I had to climb over or force my way through a small gap to get past.
After 45 minutes, I’d made it up to the small Monastery about 3km from the hotel. A gate was blocking my path and it wasn’t clear if there was any way around it, despite the trail apparently going all the way to Mochos. However, I didn’t want to go too much further as I still had the return journey to consider and it was approaching 5 pm. I’d arranged a video call with my parents at 6 so I needed to get back for that, ideally with time for a shower as well.
Haircut and Onward Plans
I’ve been in Greece now for nearly two months and was overdue for a haircut. I found a couple of places in Hersonissos on Google Maps and made an appointment for Saturday 13th during one of my visits to the gym. It was a slightly posh-looking salon and ended up costing me €20 which is a lot more than I would usually spend, but they did a good job and I certainly felt more presentable afterwards!
I’d only booked a week in Stalis but still had another fortnight to fill before I planned to leave Crete. I spent quite a few hours on Google Maps and Booking.com considering my next move: should I head west towards Chania and explore the northwestern coastline, or perhaps go further east and revisit Makry Gialos, a resort I’ve not seen in about 25 years?
Ultimately – and perhaps disappointingly – I did neither of these things and chose instead to book a week in the neighbouring resort of Malia! Why? Well, I’d come to Crete to save money and couldn’t seem to find cheap accommodation in any appealing locations. Plus, the extra cost of travelling and the money I would want to spend exploring would soon add up. Malia, while not my usual type of resort, was cheap and easy to get to from Stalis.
I found a nice-looking hotel, Yiannis Manos Resort Hotel, online that was far enough outside the centre of Malia that I didn’t think it would be packed with too many young partygoers. Via Facebook, I managed to negotiate a reasonable rate (€55 per night) and booked a week there.
This still left me with another week to organise, but I had enjoyed staying at Minois hotel so much that I asked the owner if they had any availability for me to return after my time in Malia. Initially, he wasn’t sure they did, but when I agreed to switch rooms after the first night, he said they could accommodate me and even gave me a discounted rate on a larger room!