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An End on Crete

Leaving Oia was bittersweet, but as always in these situations, we came to terms with it by vowing to return someday.  Our party was breaking up, and after a week in paradise, we were all going our different ways- Kate, John and Hannah to explore more of Europe, Jake and Jackie to set sail on a blustery tour of the Dalmatian Coast with the legendary Yacht Week, and us, to return home and take possession of our own sailboat, the equally legendary Saint Robert.  Happily though, due to logistics and airline schedules and ticket prices, our flight to the US was not for another few days, which delay coincided nicely with Jake and Jackie’s own hiatus before their sailing voyage- and so, the four of us decided to make one final stop in the Aegean before leaving it to the Greeks: we decided to go to Crete.

Our last day in Crete, and of the whole vacation, was rightly spent on the beach

Our last day in Crete, and of the whole vacation, was rightly spent on the beach

We would only be there for two days, so we picked a laidback hotel close to the beach, with the plan to spend one glorious day sunbathing on the sandy shore (something lacking in Oia), and the other visiting the famed ruins of Knossos, where King Minos built a labyrinth under his palace to imprison the Minotaur.  Some of us enjoyed the ruins more than others, but we all loved the beach.  In the end it didn’t really matter…

Cheers from Crete- the last photo of the trip!

Cheers from Crete- the last photo of the trip!

As long as we are together, with good friends, having good laughs, and making good memories, it doesn’t much matter where we go or what we see.  Our circuit around the Aegean was definitely amazing, and I cherish all the stories and photos I accumulated, but the real souvenir was time spent with our favorite people.  Until next time, this is…

the end

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Oia or Elysium

We spent one last day in Oia, exploring the maze of cobbled streets- sometimes finding dead ends, and sometimes stumbling upon expansive sea views.  The blue paint of the church domes perfectly matched the blue dome of the sky above and the blue infinity of the ocean below.  The gentle curves of the white washed buildings mimicked the billowing clouds on the horizon.  I’m not sure, but I can imagine heaven looking something like this…

Elysium

Elysium

 

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Fira by Foot

Our week on Santorini was drawing to an end, and one of the last empty check boxes on our list of things to do was hiking the ancient trail from Oia to Fira, the principal city of the island, along a narrow, cliffside path that encircles the caldera.  We left early in the morning, and were treated to a spectacularly beautiful day- crisp clear skies blanketed the charcoal and umber crescent cliffs of the island, which in turn gathered the deep blue of the sea-filled caldera into a chalice that you could almost drink from.  The hike was not difficult, but constant stops for photographs while my traveling companions kept walking left me playing a sweaty game of catch up, almost like I was running sprints back in my old gridiron days, or perhaps a Cycladic version of the biathlon- run, shoot, run, shoot, run, shoot…   Towards the end though, the heat and humidity was taking its toll on all of us, bringing to the minds of us all the desire for a shady seat and a cold beverage.  Luckily, Fira happens to be home to Santorini’s one and only brewery, where, after a short but chaotic transfer on the local bus, we duly indulged in the homegrown favorite- the Crazy Donkey IPA- appropriately, if not intentionally, emblematic of our dogged, Hellenic trek that brought us there.

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