A Leprechaun, His Pot of Gold and Our Slightly Shit Covered Rainbow - when travel doesn't go to plan
Our trip to Chania on the North West coast of Crete, Greece almost didn’t happen while we were away. Two days into our all-inclusive at the Radisson Blu Milatos, Alan knew that I had cabin fever, it was probably my constant pacing and sighing that gave it away, so he suggested we do a day trip, I couldn’t have been more excited to get out exploring. We set the alarm for an early morning wake up, so we could head off on our 3hr road trip from one side of the island of Crete to the other.
Unfortunately, we had a bit of a rocky night with sleep, thanks 4 month sleep regression and the alarm was turned off, we woke at around 9.30am, not the best start to our early morning. We quickly dressed, ate breakfast, went to the reception to report a few issues with the room and we were on our way by 10.15am.
The drive over went smoothly, with Izarra sleeping and Evie happily watching Minions and Hotel Transylvania, we arrived into the centre of Chania with a perfect parking spot outside a quaint little café (I was craving real Greek food, not like the stuff at the hotel), as we were getting everything ready to make our way down to the harbour to board our 1.30pm hour long boat trip, we had a moment of realization that Izarra’s change bag wasn't in the car, not only did it have her nappies, Evie’s pants, snacks for Evie and our wallets it also contained all our passports. Being an Aussie I have been having to travel with both my passports (my expired one has my UK visa in it). The girl’s needs were my first worry. As we had absolutely no money we couldn't buy drinks (it was rather warm in Chania compared to what we are used to) or food, we didn't have any nappies and we were almost 3 hours away from our resort with a 2.5 year old who is in the throes of mostly unsuccessful toilet training and a 4 month old baby. In that moment I was incredibly thankful that I breastfeed or we would have also had an issue of no milk for Izarra either! My second thought then turned to the fact that our passports and my visa were in that bag. These are the documents that I hold above all other…my mind started to race with how I would get a replacement visa issued before we flew home to the UK and the lovely cost associated with that.
We called the resort and patiently awaited their call back after checking the carpark (where we thought it was left, no names will be mentioned for who left the bag in the carpark behind the car!), while waiting we decided there was no point I delaying the inevitable so we might as well get back in the car and do the drive back to the resort. Fortunately, we all needed a toilet stop and as I was planning on how I was going to use Izarra’s blanket to do a make-shift nappy that would hopefully survive the drive, I then had a sudden realization that surely in this technological era we can somehow use our phones and our Revolut account (the best foreign exchange account and the only one we use to travel) to make purchases. After a very patient lady at the service station allowed me to play around with their card machine and my phone I had set up Revolut on Google Pay and we were no longer cashless! You could call Revolut and Google Pay our leprechaun and his pot of gold at the end of our slightly shit covered rainbow! Now armed with “cash” we made a quick pit stop at the supermarket to buy the necessary baby essentials before we went back to exploring and making the next boat trip. We also had received the very thankful news that our bag was back safely in reception. Crisis averted and usual adventures resumed!
I’m not going to lie and say there was no tension between Alan and I during our minor travel inconvenience (mostly on my part – I wanted to kick him!) before we had the cash situation sorted and the bag was found, I could count on one hand the amount of times Alan and I have had an argument/stand-off, I think that was our first whilst travelling, and while we can laugh about it now and we have an additional story for the girls, we know that we will never get ourselves into that situation again!
The heart of Chania is the old town with its narrow streets, the Venetian harbour (its stunning and incredibly reminiscent of walking the streets of Venice), the Arabic lighthouse (the oldest lighthouse in the world) and Turkish mosque, The Firka Fortress from the 16th century that surrounds the harbour, (Revellino del Porto), is situated at the entrance of the old port and is easily accessible to walk around. Its here that the Greek flag was raised In 1913 to celebrate the union of Crete with Greece. Lefka Ori, the White Mountains, with over 58 summits, the highest being 2.453 m, set an amazing backdrop for the town of Chania. Its a cultural melting pot with clear evidence of the occupation of the Venetians, Greeks, Turks and Egyptians, the streets are lined with bespoke cafes and restaurants, many offering local produce and delicacies. I also highly recommend a boat trip from the harbour where you can see the island that people with leprecy were taken too…the only indication is the small church statute that remains on the island, enjoy watching the fish being fed and if you are feeling up for it take a refreshing swim around the island. The overall experience in Chania made the mornings inconveniences quickly fade and memories of a hidden treasure fill our hearts and camera.
If you do decide to holiday in Crete I highly recommend visiting Chania, there is something for everyone here, just make sure you remember your personal belongings!!