So last year when I worked on mainland Greece, I found it about as entertaining as eating sea sponges. This aside, I made some wicked mates, one of whom was going back to do a season in Crete this year. After her begging me to come see her (and by begging, I mean me inviting myself, and just booking it up) I thought I’d give the island a bash.
It was a holiday I was going to go all out for, and being scared of flying I often have a few drinks before I get on the plane, so I booked myself into No 1 Traveller Lounge (http://www.no1traveller.com/gatwick-airport-lounges-south.htm) for a treat. The first impression of the staff was how attentive they are. The lady who greeted me apologised for literally leaving me unattended at the door for a split second. When she called me madam, I had to look behind me.
You can get one hot option, and a buffet of cold snacks, and unlimited alcohol from 4am onwards, which is a pretty good deal if you ask me. I always tell people to book lounges, because then you can pretend your posh as well (it’s one of my holiday tips
If you want to book a lounge, there are plenty of websites to do this through, but I use www.holidayextras.com
Another holiday tip I will share with you, is that budget airlines have caught onto two things. 1. how much cheaper deals used to be through flight search websites, and 2. how people will literally boycott the expensive food on board. I booked direct through www.easyjet.com and had a very pleasant flight indeed (although in true Mr T style, I was actually passed out drunk fairly soon after the Jack Daniels and the Prosecco so I could manage).
I was even happy enough to take a picture of a tiny island (although I probably didn’t look to together when I exclaimed ‘oh HELLO tiny island’ while alone)
I booked my transfer through Resprthoppsa and I really couldn’t fault them. You literally stumble in a straight line off the plane at Heraklion airport, and you are at their desk. They even have an iphone app to find out your return transfer time. The timing was impeccable and it was only £20.40 for a return, which was a 2 hr journey. The only niggle I have is my driver asking me if I knew where ‘Sunbo’ (my hotel Sunbeam) actually was. Well if it’s not in Essex I am afraid I cant help you, but this is typical of all Cretan taxis (not knowing where they are going) and apparently the price is the worlds biggest secret, because you have to prise it from them at the end of the journey.
Our actual hotel, Sunbeam booked through booking.com (here http://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/sunbeam.en-gb.html ) was pleasant, central and reasonably priced. Very clean, with towels every day, for the 160 euro for 4 nights it was well worth it. I book EVERYTHING through booking.com as I really trust their partnerships. Sunbeam is literally a 5 minute walk from the main square of Agios, you do have to pass some unsavoury youths in the park but at least if you are from Brixton it will make you feel at home.
Agios is a picturesque town set around Agios ‘lake’ which leads into the sea. A bustling ‘holiday’ town there are plenty of shops and places to eat to keep you going.
If you ever do visit, make sure you go to Alexandros roof bar, which is complete with cheesy holiday music, cocktails with sparklers and the fashion challenged population dancing seriously badly.
If you want a bit more ghetto music and cheaper yet watered down alcohol, take yourself to ‘OH AH MALIA’ for a night like we did. We stayed in Drossia lounge studios (here http://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/drossia.en-gb.html ) and although there was a bit of a mix up with our booking, we got safely in the room.
The swimming pool however, was a different story, as it is located in a different hotel. After walking what seemed like miles and being turfed away from one pool as we were not Dutch (I think I could pass for dutch) we just gave up and went to our mates pool.
I’m telling you now, Malia was like Disneyland for me. Take someone who loves drinking somewhere you can get 2 drinks and 3 shots for 5 euro and you have hit the big time.
I LOVED the cheesey 80s club Reflex, and we stumbled to the one opposite and I needed to be literally dragged back to the hotel. I really don’t think the Greek Subway woman appreciated me asking her if she thought my friend Toni was pretty at like 4am, while not being able to stand up.
I didn’t even go to bed when we got back, as I went downstairs for a lighter and ended up drinking whisky with security.
Safe to say, the taxi journey back to Agios (which will set you back around 40 euro) was an immense situation.
When my time in Agios did come to a close, I rounded off my weekend with a meal in La Strada, which I would highly recommend if your knocking about in the area. Reasonably priced for lovely food, you also get big portions. The fried cheese in breadcrumbs is the best thing ive ever eaten.
All in all, I had the best holiday of my life, doing nothing but talking, eating and drinking (one night me and my mate were up talking and we opened the shutters and it was broad daylight – oops). As not a massive fan of mainland Greece, I would 100% go back to Crete anytime.