Our big, fat Crete vacation

So earlier this year after getting short-changed on much needed Tuscan sun, we decided to see if the weather gods could bring us one sunny and warm vacation this year (well, in addition to this  beach outing!). After searching the Internet for warm fall destinations and ruling out crazily expensive options, we settled on Crete since we had never been to Greece and all of us love Greek food.

And what a vacation it was. Crete literally opened itself up to welcome us (seriously, there was a 6.4 earthquake on the west coast of the island the day we arrived; fortunately there was no major damage and we didn’t feel a thing). I mean, how can you not enjoy every minute of being here (by the way, are you liking my new picasa photo skills?)?

Ah….the blue of the Greek isles!

So what did we do?

Well, there was a lot of beach time lounging and playing….

Crete vacation3

And we discovered that the kids don’t need too much parental involvement anymore; they just need someone to dig them a big hole …


In fact, we learned that our kids are not only super travelers (unless it involves a 2am wake-up time for a return flight perhaps but that’s another story) but that now, in this post-baby/toddler and post-diaper stage, traveling has become so much easier.

It’s true. Like other times, they packed their own toys and backpacks but unlike other trips, I didn’t have to schlepp nearly as many back-up toys or entertainment for them. They have become pretty self-sufficient in determining the toys they need for travel, restaurant time etc and managed to really play with their brought toys and not bug us for more entertainment (I hope I didn’t jinx anything here!). It was pretty awesome. Also helpful, of course, was the fact that Greek people just love kids and happily brought them treats following almost every meal we ate out (oh my, did I mention the Greek food???? Soooo good….we might have to research postings in Athens just for the food alone!).

Anyway, I digress. Back to digging a hole at the beach. It’s true; we (and by “we” I mean John) literally dug them a hole each, gave them some beach toys, and then had some time to ourselves during which we busily gazed at the blue horizon and admired German tourists’ sunbathing coloring (disturbingly orange) and clothing styles (socks with sandals! Why oh why oh why????).

We also played a few rounds of paddle ball so much to our kids’ liking (they literally cheered us on – it was almost as if it was the funniest thing they had ever seen! Actually, though, I think they were just utterly impressed by their mother’s skills!) that when we retired from a tough match, this is what happened….tennis lessons next perhaps?

Got game?
Got game?

And, since you can’t go to Greece without spending some time looking at old rocks, we schlepped the kids to the Knossos ruins. In fact, we made them take 2 long bus trips so that they could thoroughly enjoy their trip. (And again, amazingly, they were content to play with their stuffed animals and dolls for the entire outing).

Exploring the palace of Knossos
Exploring the palace of Knossos

I know, my dear readers; you want more parenting advice – how can one keep kids entertained while looking at old rocks? Well, it’s pretty simple….

Food - always bribe with food and let the older kid be in charge of fair distribution...
Food – always bribe with food and let the older kid be in charge of fair distribution…
Have them contemplate ancient civilizations
Have them contemplate ancient civilizations after their snacks run out
Try to get them to pose together.....aaawww
Try to get them to pose together…..and be surprised when there’s a brotherly kiss!

And since the kids had been acting so grown up this entire vacation, we did the natural thing and took them to a bar. And no, not just any old cocktail bar; no. One with swinging lounge chairs. You know, the good kind of bar with ’90s techno music in the background.

Yes, it was all you imagined it would be – fun all around ….some of us danced the night away (Jules) while others (the boys) got too rowdy swinging each other that glasses literally went flying while I laughed it off (apparently the scary bright green cocktail was a bit on the stronger side which resulted in me laughing rowdy behavior off rather than resuming to lecture mode….perhaps that’s why we went back for a second night?).

Anyway, look out for our new hanging chairs dining/lounging room in our next home!

Crete vacation2

Yes, it was a real fun vacation … and to top it all off, we even had a “real” government to come back home to… it doesn’t get better than this, does it?


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