A Birthday in Crete

Another hectic week and a bit of a write-off, actually. Hence the fact that I’m writing this on Monday morning on the Superjet from Crete to Santorini!

I have ADHD, and sometimes everything just gets on top of me. The last couple of weeks have felt a bit like that, with all the logistics of working out where I’m going to live and eat, what car I’m driving, and where to find the tax office on a new island etc etc… It takes a lot of time and headspace when everything’s always new and not a routine on autopilot

Sunsets and Hiking

Anyway, at the beginning of the week, I found another lovely sunset spot on Santorini. It’s at the top of a hike I was wanting to do. It goes down a trail all the way to the sea. And of course, there was another little church tucked away at the bottom (as well as one near the top).

I heard there are hot springs gushing into the sea there, but I didn’t stop to swim. It was a steep climb back up and not one to do in bad light. I want sure how long it would take so that something to do for another time.

Thankfully there wasn’t too much rubbish along the way. But I still managed to fill an ancient carrier bag that I found en route.

Of course, I’ll be adding this to the sunset post, and it’s on the Santorini Hiking post that’ll be out soon.

Santorini Animal Welfare

I finally made it to SAWA to see the donkeys and dogs. They have a few horses, goats, geese and a pig too.

Over the winter they appealed for donations to get 10 new dog shelters. Quite a few people like me donated enough for a whole box, so they managed to raise enough for 20. It’s great because not only do they get what they need to help the dogs but the boxes are made locally on the island.

I wanted to go and see what I’d donated to and also see the animals. The shelter is open every day from 9-12 for visitors to come and walk the dogs and have a look around.

It started as a donkey sanctuary and now they have about 50 dogs as well. They work with another organisation for cats and I wanted to speak to them about the cats in Thirasia.

When I was there, a lot were ill, and few were neutered. I was speaking with Nicole who does the hiking tours there and she said she’d be happy to help catch some for neutering. We need a vet to go over to Thirasia though, it’s too much to bring stray cats back and forth on the boat. Hopefully, we can organise something for the end of the summer.

Unfortunately, Greek bureaucracy is on another level, and everything just takes ages.

Athens

Mid-week we headed to Athens so I could put the cats in the pet hotel, aka kennels for a week. I stayed overnight at Cocomat as I needed somewhere pet-friendly.

They were absolutely amazing. I booked a budget room because I was arriving about midnight and then heading off again in the morning. Anyway, they upgraded me to their Metropolitan Suite with Acropolis view so there would be more space for the cats! It was such a treat, and they couldn’t have been more helpful. It was the start of my birthday weekend, and I was so grateful for it.

I also went to the dentist while in Athens. Not as much fun. Although the dentist did have a sense of humour and on noting my birthdate commented how nice it was that I was choosing to treat myself for my birthday, haha.

Anyway, number 37 on my bucket list is to get my teeth straightened. Before COVID I went to see someone in London about it, but then those plans were thwarted.

I’ve been looking on and off for someone here that I trust, and I think I’ve found someone. I have to go back next week to replace some old fillings first and get the plan back from the lab.

Exciting but also dreading the process.

Crete

My actual birthday was on Saturday, and I had a weekend booked in Crete. Number 28 on my 50-before-50 bucket list was to sleep in a treehouse.

I saw an amazing one online about nine months ago and booked it. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to it. I spent A LOT of money on it, and although it wasn’t a big birthday, 45 somehow seemed a bit significant.

Anyway, instead of being absolutely wowed by the service, it all went a bit wrong.

There was no one there to meet me, and the place hadn’t been cleaned properly. Think someone else’s toiletries and razor in the shower, two pairs of complimentary slippers that were grubby and obviously left over from the last guests, stained sheets, pillowcase and duvet cover.

There was no running water, a cold hot tub, crap communication from the hosts and then a load of other little things that shouldn’t have been an issue on such an expensive stay.

I wanted to chill, read my book, sleep and sit in the hot tub under the full moon. But it didn’t go like that at all, and I had a really stressful weekend going back and forth trying to get things sorted.

It was my first trip to Crete and the best thing about the weekend were the drives to and from the port. It was 75 minutes of beauty, everything was so green and there were snow-capped mountains in the background. I drove back this morning into a glorious sunrise, and everything seemed a lot better.

Well, that just about sums up my week. I think I need to clone myself to get everything done at the moment! There’s another busy week ahead, but after that, I’ll have a chance to catch up and give my frazzled brain a rest.

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Suzie Young

Suzie writes informative posts for solo, nervous or first-time travellers to Greece, Turkey and other countries on her 50-before-50 bucket list. She became a Greek resident in 2020 and intends to visit every inhabited island (13 down!).

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