Wednesday, July 24, 2013

‘Wind-blown’ Crete: And for 25-euros a night. . .

Some are uncomfortable with our ‘go where the winds blow us’ approach to travel.  They say that a reservation in hand gives them security and structure – they want to know where they will spend the next night and the direction they are headed when they set out on that long stretch of empty road. 

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We like to throw structure to the same winds that set our direction. We don’t want to know when we set out each morning what our destination will be, instead, wanting the option to stay at some enchanting place that we’ve happened upon along the way. That’s why our off-season travels work so well– availability is high, rates are low. 

One such day in Crete comes to mind. . .a day the winds blew us along a route that followed the island's southern coast. And at a point between the tiny villages of Mirthios and Mariou, both on a sweeping hillside above the larger coastal town of Plakias (pictured below) we found our destination.

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We’d stopped at a taverna to check the menu ‘for later’ just in case we stayed in the area and while there, asked about nearby accommodations. The employee didn’t miss a beat, saying, “Stay at my mom’s place just down the road.”  Off we went, brochure in hand, headed to one of the most delightful stays of our month-long trip. . .

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His mom’s place, Gallinas Apartments, sat like an iconic -- but lonesome, in this early spring season -- blue and white palace on a hillside, about five minutes from the villages, a few minutes  further from Plakias.

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Our room was spotless – and enormous! And it cost 25-euros or about $32USD a night.

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Sfakia2Amster2013 246The kitchen, had microwave, fridge, coffee pot (coffee, filters and sugar provided) as well as hot water pot and tea bags. Coffee mug, tea cups, cutlery, cookware and table settings – everything we could possibly need. And our hostess left a plate of cookies, another of candy, fresh flowers and a bottle of raki on the table to welcome us.





But it was the wraparound deck and the view that stretched from it out over the olive groves to the sea that had us fantasizing about staying for a month or more:

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But sadly we were at the end of our Greek travels so had but a night to spend at this fittingly, wind-swept hillside, location. We didn’t stay long enough to use that nicely appointed kitchen because . . .we ‘had’ to return to that restaurant we’d stopped at earlier.

It was the Taverna Panorama in Mirthios where we feasted on live music and good food (that’s a veggie meze plate to the left and apple slices drizzled with honey to the right). One of the best Greek tavernas we’ve visited – and one worth another visit one day.

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Once again those winds had set our direction and blown us straight into another great experience.

That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday. Head on over to Nancie’s Budget Travelers Sandbox for more armchair travels today.

If You Go:

Map picture

34 comments:

  1. That certainly looked like a great holiday - amazing views and food. I see why Greece beckons.

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  2. I'm envious of travelers like you who can travel without plans. I'm such a type A person and am always pressed for time, so it's hard for me to travel wherever the wind blows. But I'd love to book a trip somewhere someday without an itinerary and just see what I discover.

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    1. You should try it Dana - think you might be surprised at how relaxing it is without constraints to get somewhere by checkin, but not before checkin or too late. . . Thanks for stopping by today and leaving a comment!

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  3. Sensational and so reasonable- makes me homesick - love a good Greek meal at the moment! F xx

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    1. Frecesca, You would love this wonderful spot on the southern coast! Thanks for your visit! J. xo

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  4. I wish I had the courage to throw my destination to the winds - I'm afraid I am one of those people that like to know where I am staying that night....but....I love the way your travel landed you in such a delightful accommodation and corner of the world. What an unusual looking buildi9ng!
    Have a wonderful week, and thank you for taking us along on your travels.

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    1. Jill, you could have such fun -- especially with finding unexpected photo 'opps' along the way. Thanks for coming along with us today - see you soon, I hope!

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  5. Sometimes those unexpected accommodation finds turn out to be the real winners. What an unusual looking building but a great room with a killer view. I can see why you might want to return again - and the food looks yummy too. Nice to finish the holiday on a high note.

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    1. Yes, I love the unplanned - that is a positive experience. Can't really think of any experience we had that wasn't during this trip though.

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  6. I'll readily admit that I'm one of those types who has to have all the lodging for a trip reserved weeks before we depart. I guess I'll have to pre-book Gallina's Apartments if I go to Crete. That view is fantastic as does that meal.

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    1. It was a special place - and what I didn't mention was that we were the only ones there (it was the week after Easter, their Easter, so most of the Greek travelers had gone home.

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  7. So brave travelers! I don't dare to move with such freedom especially with the kid but to be honnest I admire you!

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    1. We only do this on the off season - spring or fall in Greece. I'd never risk finding an available accommodation during the height of the summer or risk finding places closed in the dead of winter! Thanks for visiting today, my friend!

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  8. I've always wanted to visit Crete, looks like a big island to explore and eat your way through :)

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    1. Noel, You would be in heaven on Crete - the camera would need recharging regularly!

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  9. I can see why you'd be disappointed at only a night at this lovely spot! The view is stunning and the water inviting.

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    1. Yes, Debbie, it is definitely on our 'must go back again' list! Thanks for stopping by today!

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  10. I like how you travel. It definitely pays to trust the wind. Just look where it blew you. That place looks like such a gem - and with wrap around balcony with a great view it sure is like hitting a jackpot. The taverna and the mezes look glorious.

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  11. That's pretty amazing budget travel!

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    1. We love off-season Greece for this very reason. Most of our accommodations were within the 25 - 40-euro a night range.

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  12. What a wonderful experience. A beautiful place to stay - I love the view and such a thoughtful host providing sweets and raki. Love the look also of the vegie mezze platter at the nearby restaurant.

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    1. Jan, it was definitely one of those 'travel moments' that simply make a trip fascinating . . .and fun!

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  13. You couldn't have planned a better spot. It looks ideal. I love it when we can travel without a plan -- wish we could do it more often. The veggie meze looks delicious. Can't wait until I get to enjoy food and music in a Greek taverna someday.

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    1. You and Mr. TWS should give unstructured travel a try one day - think you two would love it!

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  14. Both were perfect finds! Hard to beat either for price or quality.

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    1. Yes, it couldn't have been a better way to end the time in Crete. . .and is certainly reason to return!

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  15. Crete is beautiful and you can't beat the price too. Amazing view from the deck.

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    1. The view was astounding. . .so much space, so much country, so much water. Thanks for visiting today - hope to see you here regularly!

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  16. What a great find! Love the views, price and size of that room. I wish I can travel in the off-season again or have no itineraries in place. I'm such a planner though and it's too hard with kids in school. For now, I'll just live vicariously through these little gems you find and take notes.

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    1. Mary, that is one thing about off-season travel, it is hard to do when you have to plan around school schedules - One of these days (probably way too quickly) the kids will be grown and you can pull out your notes and set forth.

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  17. Hi Jackie and Joel,

    It's so nice to meet you! I can't tell you how surreal it has been reading some 10 or so of your posts on Crete! I have been to most of the destinations you have visited and am elated to find that you had a wonderful time. Love your 'take' on things and all your helpful hints for future visitors to our most magical and mythical island!

    Poppy

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    1. And so nice to meet you Poppy! Hopefully on one of our future trips we will meet in person. . .We love your Crete (as evidenced by our posts and frequent visits) and hope to be back next spring! Jackie

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