Kerry and I were married in Berlin in February. Berlin's not the only place that's cold during February, so we decided to hold off on the honeymoon until May. We did our research and settled on Crete, the southernmost point in Europe, for a two-week break from Berlin's dreary weather. Both the timing and the location turned out to be solid decisions. I've written about our trip on this blog before. One experience I mentioned but failed to elaborate on was a lunch we had at a restaurant in Agios Nikolaos on Crete called Rififi.
We'd been through Agios Nikolaos a few days earlier as part of a tour that took us out to Vai on the east end of the island. We liked the looks of the place so much that we returned to spend several hours there wandering through its streets, enjoying its Aegean location, and just generally doing what tourists do. At some point we stopped for lunch.
The restaurant we chose, pictured below, had a spectacular view of the small harbor at Agios Nikolaos and Mirabello Bay beyond. Our table was on the balcony on the restaurant's second floor. The balcony was only wide enough for a single table so it felt completely private. The food was solid, nothing too fancy, but the setting was phenomenal. Kerry and I were both astounded by the setting. A slight breeze blew off the water, just enough to keep the air from getting too hot, and our balcony was protected from the sun by an awning. Below us waiters braved the midday traffic to get to tables right on the harbor. The breeze kicked up the harbor and bay waters a bit so that both absolutely sparkled. What a lunch! I can still see and feel that two hours of my life, two of the most pleasant hours I have ever encountered.
After lunch, to record the moment for posterity, we walked along the harbor, and I took the picture below. Of course a picture is a poor substitute for memory. Still, whenever I look at it, the whole of that day comes back to me, a day nearly 29 years ago that seems as fresh as the moment it happened. When it came time to write the second Nick Temple novel, I chose Crete as its focus. The result is The Heraklion Gambit, a somewhat public nod to a place I'll never forget.