October 6, 2009

The Virgin Traveler: Take me to Creta.

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When we checked out of our hotel in Athens, the desk clerk asked us where we were going. The older man, probably around 60, with shoulder-length white hair, balding on top and little spectacle glasses, got a big smile on his face when we told him. "Ah," he said, "Take me to Creta!"

Yesterday, while swimming in the Libyan Sea at Elafonisi, I understood why everyone wants to come to Crete. The water is so clear blue that you can see all the way down - it's warm, there's no seaweed, sharp seashells or unknown squishiness when you are walking out in the water. Just pink sand and large masses of black rocks. I could have stayed in the water for hours. When I got out of the water, I had a thin crust of salt all over me, primed for baking in the sun.

I was entranced by the myriads of people at the beach, everyone speaking a different language. And everyone, no matter size or age, comfortable hanging out in their bathing suits, half naked, frolicking in the water. It was so beautiful.

On the way back from Elafonisi, we stopped at this breathtaking monastery that overlooks the sea. And then we continued winding through the mountain roads, lined with olive trees and orange trees and made our way back to Chania in our rented bright green Fiat.