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Crete, Greece: Day 3, Chania to Plakias

Crete, Greece

A beautiful bus ride from Chania to Rethymnon to Plakias.   Crete, Greece

Max or no Max?  That is the Question.

The next morning I walk upstairs to Max’s room, knock on the door and invite him to join me.  Still, I wasn’t sure what to do but a decision had to be made and I’m not one to shy away from making potentially very bad decisions.  Max knew the location of the bus station which was helpful in my goal of getting to Plakias to my dream room where I would draw, and wear dresses, and write and blah, blah, blah.

Getting to Plakias

The bus station in Chania was like every bus station in the world, filled with drifters and characters and tourists.  Max went to buy the tickets, figuring out the route.  Not feeling my best from the wine the night before, I was thankful.  Many excited glances about the journey ahead were exchanged.

We board the bus and make it to the Rethymnon bus station.  We wait for our next bus drinking Mythos Beer while rain pelts the canvas canopy above.  With some confusion that would be typical at any bus station, but more so on Crete, we find the right bus and are pleasantly surprised that it departs exactly on time.  Then began a three-hour journey from Northern Crete to Southern Crete passing through a dramatic landscape of craggy mountains and olive groves undulating across the land.  So beautiful.

Arriving in Plakias

When we arrived in Plakias, I found my dream hotel was not so dreamy and the seafront room was not so seafronty and the town itself was not so inspiring.  After a surge of disappointment I wondered if this was really supposed to be my plan at all.   Plakias is a small village with a narrow beach and many tourists.  Max abruptly dismissed the location but my dawning came more slowly, resisting any change to my plans.  I thought that I would stay and make the best of it.  I wanted to rest.  So desperately.  I wanted to unpack my bag completely and not repack for two weeks.  Yeah.  That’s what I wanted.  The universe had other plans.

Max and I find a local taverna which is slightly out of the constant strong wind.  Cats are everywhere begging for food.  Mediocre food that one expects in any tourist trap is delivered as well as a carafe of white wine, and then another, and another.  And raki, oh my Lord raki, the drink of Crete which is served constantly and packs a powerful punch.  Max tries to teach me backgammon – he’s desperate to play but I am overwhelmed and frightened by his serious approach to teaching and feel like an idiot for not catching on at all after several games.  Backgammon was stressing me out.  Enough was enough.  “I don’t need this” I thought.  Tomorrow, I will stay in Plakias and he will go on.  Decision made.

And then over conversation I get the Jack Nicholson-esqe raised eyebrow – a signature Max move that is so devilishly enticing and comical at once that I dare any woman to resist it.  Crap.  Okay, I’ll stick with him a little longer.  He knows the power of the eyebrow and his use of it is cruel.  He’s also damn fun company.

Crete, Greece

Massive craggy mountains on Crete, Greece with caves.

Within an hour I walk back to my hotel and cancel my 13-day stay in Plakias.

We move on to another taverna and get schmoozed by a greasy guy who had greed in his eyes and plays the tourist schmoozing game.  So gross.  Moving on again we sit outside and talk with another German couple.  It’s the first time I’ve heard Max speak German.  Fortunately for me, his English is excellent.  So excellent that I sometimes forget that nuances and cultural differences can sometimes foil clear communication.

Before I know it I have agreed that the next day we were going together to Matala, a place recommended by one of Max’s friends.  The decision slipped in like a thief in the night.

How to get there?  We needed wine to decide.  Max walks to the local store where a wide variety of homemade wines are offered in plastic 1.5 liter bottles.  The owner, half the size of Max, carefully pours a sample into the bottle cap and reached his hand waaayyyy UP to Max’s mouth, Max kissing the owner’s fingertips by default.  Three euros for 1.5 liters of juicy red wine and a bag of pumpkin seeds.  Upon leaving, the owner halts Max and as a spontaneous gift throws four homegrown cucumbers in his bag.  Sweet.

Still, we are trying to figure out a way to get to Matala.  Information does not come easily.  At a point, surrender comes; tomorrow we will figure it out.  Live for today, right?  For tonight, we drink wine and Max startles me by singing Elvis songs.  He knows every word of every Elvis song because Elvis was one of his father’s favorites.  He had a record collection that Max was not allowed to play with, unless his father wanted Max out of his hair, in which case the records would be produced and they would be played on a plastic suitcase record player that would be familiar to almost any child of the 1970’s.  There is something special about a charismatic seven-foot tall German man singing Elvis songs to you on a warm night in Crete.  And by special, I mean mind-blowingly awesome.

Great. Just great, I think.  MY PLANS are ruined.

Or maybe not?

Photos from the bus ride:

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