Day 5 – Rethymnon & River beach

Our tour guide Virginia had told us that there was a market in Rethymno on Thursdays, so that’s when we planned our first visit to the town. We bought bus tickets at the mini market and then waited (about 1/2 an hour) with other tourists and some locals. No one is as punctual as the Germans. Except maybe in Japan. Anyway – not sure where our stop to get off was, we just got off somewhere in town and were already all grimy from the heat. The BF had the city plan, but I hate looking like a tourist (even though it’s obvious), so I let the wind guide me. I led us directly to the port, which made him sceptical if I hadn’t peeked at the map anyway. But seriously, even though I am a woman (blablabla), my sense of orientation is uncanny. We passed through the narrow 16th century streets, sadly turned into typical touristy streets filled with people and fake authentic crap to sell.

At the venetian port we climbed along an old wharf where an old pirate ship was docked (we could always see them out at see from the beach and I would yell: “pirates!”). From there we went up (pretty steep, actually) to the venetian Fortezza, ruins of a big castle. After hesitation (because it was all out in the open sun), we payed the entrance fee and wandered around. The heat and an annoying french family were making it difficult at first, but later on we lost them when we got to the part facing the big open sea – gusty winds included. We enjoyed the historical remains and couldn’t get enough of the view, a full 180° of the town below on one side and the big blue water (with cliffs) on the other. In that time I managed to burn my neck and upper back.

Drinking lots of water we headed back down to the town, searching for the bus stop back. An old man sitting on a park bench tried explaining to us where we needed to go – mumbling under his beard in greek. Again I thought I’d just go for it, but The BF asked directions at an info stand instead. Turned out I would have been right. But because of the confusion, the heat and general constriction of the town, our nerves were pretty much on end. At the stop, we were far from being the only ones waiting for a bus. Maybe I should explain here that a “bus stop” on Crete is not what an average european might imagine. It was a portion of the curb in front of a super market. There are no timetables, the buses have no destination written on them or even an identifying number. Once we asked if it was the right one (again, as I was losing patience, I was ready to wing it), all the drenched and gluey tourists packed in. It was lovely.

I cannot express in words how ecstatic I was to reunite with our hotel shower. Then it was time to pack our things for the beach. The new beach! The clean one, with sand, and waves! Even though it was already 16h we rented the two chairs with sunshade, which cost 7€ per day. We lounged for a while (such luxury!) and then dove into the water. Then: wave jumping! How can I convey how much I love wave jumping… It’s like this: the Jersey shore I grew up with has mad currents. The waves come up to your neck, exactly, and then it is a great art to decide if you can jump over or need to dive under. One must be at peace with the great ocean. Or, as my sis and I used to do, throw hand-fulls of sand at the waves and curse at the ocean so the waves would get bigger (it works every time!). Of course the waves here weren’t as threatening, so I was all gung ho. The BF, on the other hand, grew up in Europe, where the definition of a wave is not comprehensible to me. (“That water is still”. “No, look, there’s a wave”. “That’s not a wave. It’s like the pet doll of a baby of a wave”. “It’s a wave”.) So I tried to initiate him and it took some getting used to, but eventually it worked. We spent an hour in the water and had lots of fun.

Happy and very much content of our new sport we headed back, anxious to spend a whole day here tomorrow. That evening, after dinner, we discovered that we could catch the german news on our hotel room TV, albeit forgetting the time difference at first. That’s how we new about the fires in Spain, the terrorist attack on a hotel in Jakarta and the stormy cold weather back home.

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