And here we go, new adventures! It has been less than a week and I am already in love with Crete. So much positive and the surroundings are awesome. I can see the beach from my house as well as a mountain with a snowy peak. Can it be more perfect?
The first days I have spent getting settled in. This means getting papers fixed for my new job, meeting the crew, getting things for my new apartment and so on. We also started training for the job. Namely, I will be selling excursions for a travel agency. Once the job officially starts I will be quite busy and won’t have much time to discover the island. Thus, when I found out that we have a day off from our training week, I impulsively decided to rent a car.
I recently got my license, relearned how to drive a car in a month to complete my drivings license. I had not driven a car for five years. During the few months I spent back home, I had only had the chance to drive with my driving teacher or with my dad and his big jeep. So maybe you can imagine that I was a little frightened from my own crazy idea. It is not very easy to drive in Crete and also experience drivers are quite stressed. Firstly, there are curves after curves. A year before, when my mom was driving, our GPS could not even handle the curves and went a little loco repeating: “Turn left, turn left, turn left, turn left!” Secondly, there are a lot of uphills and downhills. I learned how to drive in Estonia, where the only turns are in the city and the country is completely flat. And thirdly, Greeks driving skills are also not known as the best. But what the heck, let’s do this! Let’s visit palm beach Preveli!
Start of the road trip
So I decided to drive to the south of the island to visit palm beach Preveli. This beach is known for a beautiful palm tree forest and a river flowing through. It was not a very long ride there, hence it would be perfect for my first little trip in Crete. First, I was very nervous. When I got the car and started to drive out of the rental office, I forgot the handbrake on. I had not even gotten anywhere and already could not handle driving. Then the renter called me and kindly reminded me that it would help to take the handbrake off. Dumb mistake, but at least I could continue to my little adventure.
Later, still a little scared, I set up my GPS and off I went. Slowly I got used to the car and started to even like it. Next issue, though, was that the GPS told me to turn left when I actually should have gone right. I missed my turn and kept driving a little confused and wondering when will be the next chance for me to turn back. Driving rather slowly on the highway one local got pissed at me. He was the only one during the whole day who was angry, so I count this as a very successful road trip. I expected that I will see fists, middle fingers and hear honking behind me the whole day.
Finally, I found my turn and the curvy ride could start. Quite quickly I got used to the road and enjoyed the little roller coaster. And the views around me were breathtaking. The downside of driving alone was that I could not take pictures and videos non-stop of the amazing views.
At the beautiful bay.
My GPS led me to a parking lot where I stopped. To reach the beach you had to walk down the rocky stairs. There was no one else there, which made me a little confused if I was at the right place. The views were beautiful, though. I admired them, took some photos and decided to check out if I actually had arrived at the correct place. I drove back a little to stop at a tavern and saw that also there was a road leading to the beach. I decided to stroll around the area between gorgeous nature, between the green grass, flowers and huge mountains.
A while after, I realized this was a long hiking road to the beach and I was not prepared for that. Then I went back to the tavern to have my lunch and google my surroundings. Afterward, I returned to the parking lot, where quite a few people had already appeared or more parked cars. Then I followed others down the stairs to reach the beach.
I arrived at the beach and it was wonderful! The sea in front, palm trees, and mountains behind. A local bar owner there showed me around. From the beach, you can walk into the palm forest and follow a rocky path. There I was climbing some rocks and going over fallen palm trees. The views were gorgeous. In the end, there were little waterfalls, where you can also swim. It was way too cold to do that so I kept walking around.
Walking around there you could also notice a little sunbathing turtle.
It was time to head back. I thought to myself, if I managed to safely drive here I will also get home. Did not take long enough when I met an uphill and my car refused to go up. There I was all alone stuck on the hill. Kept trying to go up, but no luck. Suddenly a local guy stops next to me and asks me if I am lost and need some help to get somewhere. I told him that well… I do know the road back and that’s not the problem, but I cannot get up this hill. I told him that I will try again and no worries, I will manage. He left and I still could not get up. Instead, I was slowly rolling down. I kept laughing at myself and wondered how funny this whole situation must look like.
Probably I looked really helpless because the driver decided to come back and check on me. Thank god! He kindly offered that he can drive it up for me. He told me a little tip that even though it is very hot it would be better to turn the air conditioning off because it takes a lot of power. We in Estonia sometimes need to keep the airco on for a long time so the car would start. You live and you learn. Anyway, thanks to him I am now here writing this post and not somewhere in Crete stuck on a hill.
I have really enjoyed my first days here. Let’s see what more Crete has to offer. You’ll hear more from me 🙂