Before we get to the juicy part, just a little smidgeon of between travel information for you dwellers of the Internet.
I left my volunteery job over in Triopetra in southern Crete after three weeks or so of fun in the sun. Mostly. I definitely got my upper body strength back, and it was nice being one of the family for the time. As it gets hotter I’m hoping my body is slowly conditioning itself, do I’m not blasted to the seventh hell like when I first got to Greece. So far I’m doing pretty good.
I headed East towards Matala, the old hangout of the hippies as far back as the 80s. The caves drew me more than anything else. I ended up waiting for about two hours for two rides to get me there. My second ride was with a German lady, Marteen I believe was her name. She had more spirit than many people half her age, and was such… A happy German.
On arrival at Matala, I was not so surprised to see how so very touristy it was, but that didn’t make me any less disappointed. Such a lovely place, once quiet and authentic, now choked with cheap tourist shops, and almost every shop that wasn’t for trinkets was a taverna or a bar. That, coupled with all the pseudo-hippie graffiti and atmosphere made it feel so… Fake. I didn’t feel so right being in the place… The caves were pretty cool, though where once they had been open and lived in by the hippies of old, they were now fenced off and accessible by a three bloody euro ticket.
I had some lunch and stumbled across Marteen hanging out at a cafe with yet another German woman (many Germans there), a very eccentric German woman. As we had overpriced coffee we were filled in about the old days, which this lady was apparently a part of. I believed her. So after an entertaining afternoon and a swim, I had to find somewhere to sleep. Luckily on the edge of town, near a parking lot and the foundations of the old Roman town, I found a very liveable cave, complete with beds and even a barrel converted into a fireplace. It would have been a grand night, and it was… Except for the mosquito violation of my face.
The next day I got the hell out of there, Heraklion bound. It took four rides and most of the day to reach that city, with a stop at the palace of Phaistos on the way. I was ‘lucky’ enough to have spent a couple of the hottest days of spring under that increasingly hot Greek sun.
In Heraklion I met up with my couch surfing host and spent a couple days seeing Knossos, and mellowing with my new friend. On Friday she had to head over to chania, and I wanted to spend one more day in the city, so she recommended the local anarchist squat. I had always wanted to stay in a squat, so I went for it.
At first no one answered. An hour later, I met a nice guy, told me to try later as it had to be a group decision if I would be allowed to stay. So I showed up again, and again, and again. Eventually they let me in when theie bar opened, and at about 1am they do actually let me spend the night.
Apparently the building had been a hospital, then a headquarters for the Nazi Waffen SS, then a hospital again, and finally a university building before being abandoned for twenty years.. Eventually hippies, anarchists, and generally homeless people squatted it, trashed it, and in the end the anarchists stayed and fixed up the place. A good bunch of people, from what I experienced. And something to check of my list (although the squatting life is one I’d like to explore more in other countries)
The next day I had to make up my mind. Would it go back West to hike a gorge, or head east and catch a ferry the next day to santorini and on to Rhodes and Turkey?
The answer? NONE.
A notification email from couch surfing appeared on my flashy tablet screen. An offer for a yacht hitch to the Bahamas. The boat was conveniently located in Heraklion at the moment. So after a brief chat I trotted down to the pier and met the crew. With no experience I wasn’t sure they’d want me, but a couple others were just learning along the way. So we hung out for a few days, and I got to know everyone better, and the next thing I know I’m accepted into the fold, and I’m now bound for the Bahamas! Insane how completely my plans have just changed.
The boat is going to be the first of its kind to sail across the Atlantic, so it’s historical, and man the boat is quite a beauty. Pictures and updates to come when possible.
Looking forward to stretching my sea legs and perhaps embarking on the most interesting part of my trip yet!