Crete, Thirty Years Ago

In May of 1985, Kerry and I spent two weeks on Crete. We were living in Berlin at the time and the lure of sunshine, warm sand, and salt water was too great to resist. We booked our trip through a local travel agency (reisebüro in the vernacular) on the basis of some flashy, enticing brochures. One of the attractions was the representation that Crete experiences, on average, something like 5 rainy days the entire month of May. It rains a lot in Berlin and we'd had enough by mid-1985. Not surprisingly, when we landed in Heraklion it was raining. To add insult to injury, when we got to our hotel, the Akti Zeus, they told us the people staying in our room hadn't vacated due to some bogus health reason. They put us up our first night in what was essentially a room in the hotel's cellar. The trip did not have an auspicious beginning. However, the next morning was beautiful. The sun was out, the Mediterranean was sparkling, and our room was ready. We spent the next two weeks enjoying much of what Crete has to offer. We took day trips to various spots on the island; we saw the Libyan Sea, which I'd never heard of before, from Ierapetra, the southern most point in Europe; we spent a couple of hours on the beach at Vai next to Europe's only palm tree forest; we wandered the ruins of the Minoan civilization at Knossos; we sampled the local cuisine at a variety of restaurants off the beaten path; we strolled through Heraklion's museums, streets, and squares; we found ourselves caught up in a political rally in Lions Square that included a speech from Melina Mercouri; and we swam in the Mediterranean. Not a bad two weeks. Kerry took the picture below on one of our two visits to Agios Nikolaos, still one of our favorite spots on the globe. In addition to the host of memories the trip provided, it also served as the inspiration for my second Nick Temple novel, The Heraklion Gambit. And although 30 years have passed, some of the memories are so vivid that at times it can seem as though we were there three weeks ago rather than three decades ago. 

Agios Nikolaos, Crete, May of 1985

Agios Nikolaos, Crete, May of 1985