I found it a pity this year to go to Crete previous month and to spend most of our time just at the pool. I didn't have that doubt last fall when we were relaxing in Gran Canaria at the pool. I've never done any sightseeing in Gran Canaria, neither did I ever read a tourist guide on the island, so I am quite oblivious of what we'd be missing out. But I've visited Crete in 2001 and therefore I know that there's much to see in the east of the island: the archeological site of Knossos, other archeological sites everywhere, the plateau of Lasithi, the interior lake of Agios Nikolaos, the disappointing most southern city of Hierapolis, the palmtree bounty beach, ... I remembered beaches where I had been phoning with Jan as we were just sort of dating back then, I saw orthodox churches along our way to the hotel that I believe I had visited, I saw town names that sounded familiar for unknown reason, ... I remembered all the pub's tv's along the promenade broadcasting endlessly the images of the fallen twin towers and the breaking "US under attack", that we escaped from back into the safeness of our vacation room on 11/9 where we stopped watching tv 15 years ago.
This year we felt tired and needed rest this vacation and we were unmotivated to do a lot of visiting with 2 little kids in the heat. Nevertheless I pushed Jan a bit to take the rental car at least once or twice to get out of our lovely vacation resort and to get at least a glimpse of the Greek island. Half an hour was the maximum we intended to drive and so we ended up for a visit in Chersonissos, the town where I stayed 15 years ago with 2 of my friends.
I remembered Chersonissos as a very commercial tourist town highly populated with Dutch party people (and the reality tv shows "Oh Oh Cherso" on Dutch tv has only reinforced that image) where we were very happy that our hotel was a few kms away from "downtown" along a quiet stretch of the coastal line. Nevertheless the town is situated in a nice little bay, aligned with restaurants and pubs and in the foothills a bit higher is the tiny old charming orginal Chersonnissos where we had eaten great pizza's twice.
By accident I had set the GPS to the old Chersonnissos and when I realised, I had difficulty to reset it all to the correct location while continuing to guide Jan, so we arrived a little overheated downtown.
The town wasn't exactly bustling with activity in the heat: either the town isn't very popular anymore, either all partiers were asleep in their hotel rooms or at the beach.
We strolled a bit up and down the city and the harbor to watch the fishing boats, the clear fish in the water, the tiny orthodox chapel at the end of the harbor etc. The town looked very familiar yet I also realise that in 15 years my memories had faded and had merged with a dozen other Mediterranean beach towns. After our walk we selected a nice little restaurant at the edge of the water where Kabouter promptly got some coloring crayons and a balloon as a welcome. After our late lunch we felt we had achieved enough already for the day to return and take some more rest at the pool :).