Thursday, 17 August 2017

Crete Diaries June 2017 : Boat trip, Gramvousa and Balos.

A boat trip today to Gramvousa and Balos. A coach picks us up from the hotel to take us to Kissamos where we will be transferred to the boat. The coach took a few detours to pick up passengers at their various hotels. This gives us a chance to see more of the surrounding area and different hotels.
Once we're all aboard it's a pleasant hours journey to Kissamos.

We arrive at the port and the penny has just dropped that we are not going on a boat cruise like the ones we usually do in Turkey where we lie on mattresses on the deck and sunbathe, no nothing like that at all. We are going on a huge ferry with hundreds of other holiday makers. My husband thought there must be about 500 on board.

The ferry journey was enjoyable and there was a self service restaurant where you could buy lunch or soft drinks. We hired a sun umbrella as we were told there was none on Balos beach.
As we embark on Balos beach 500 people try to do so at the same time down two flights of stairs.
We have to negotiate a very rocky uneven ground to get to the beautiful beach. 
It is not beautiful, it is Stoney and rocky and what sand is there is boiling hot.

We spread out towels on the rocky sand and put up the umbrella crawling under it searching for some shade.  Ouch! Oh! No! Lying on stones? No way I can't have that. I'm turning sixty during this holiday, I'm far too old to be lying on a bed of stones I need a comfortable padded sunbed and preferably a large cold drink in one hand and a book in the other. No chance !

"Let's go for a swim to cool down." Getting into the water was like one of those challanges on I'm a Celebrity. First we had to cross the boiling hot sand full of sharp hot pebbles. Next came the slippery chunks of sea grass, and then the hidden holes beneath the water where I fell and jarred my knee. 
Before the water was quite deep enough to swim in you had to just throw yourself in. 
The water was ice cold. All we could do was laugh as we looked around at the amount of people in the water,on the beach perfoming the walk on hot sand dance to get to the sea. After a short swim we did the same walk again in reverse and went back to the boat. The stop there was for an hour, ha ha, we lasted about 30 mins.


Balos beach.You can't see what the ground is like underwater here. I read that the earth here is always sinking and shifting so maybe that's the reason for deep holes in the water. They might have told us!

There are ruins of a Venitian castle at the top of that hill. Needless to say I didn't attempt it but many did,maybe it was better than trying to get into the sea. 



Next stop was Gramvousa, the island of pirates (I have no idea why)
This we are told had a beautiful sandy beach listed as one of the best beaches in the world. It also has sunbeds. Yes, it had 15 sunbeds for our 500 plus people and the visitors who are already there when we arrive. The walk to the beach was just as bad as the first,like walking on land where there had been an earthquake and I found it very challenging.
All the sunbeds were full but we lasted a bit longer here by about ten minutes. The sand was a little softer but eventually my bones were too sore to lie any longer so we went back to the ship. As I was sitting on the sand and running my hands through it I found the tiniest shells I have ever seen and I brought them home for my shell collection in my beach themed bathroom. I've just seen online that you are not allowed to take the shells from the beach. Oh well no one told me!

On the journey home we inadvertently sat behind the bench where the children's entertainer did her stuff. She was dressed as a clown with a slightly scary face and wearing glasses, she was also the most annoying person ever. She made more noise than all the children put together between blowing a high pitched whistle and screetching. The clown was making balloon animals for the children and made quite a good job of them after her third or fourth attempt at each one. I felt sorry for the parents who had to travel back to their hotel with huge balloon flamengos, dogs and swords. It would have been so much quieter if she had given them iPads.

So we have learned today that when in Greece as in Turkey make sure you know what kind of boat trip you are signing up for. Ask how many people will be on board and if you will be sunbathing on hard rocks or sunbeds. 
We have been disappointed a few times in both Turkey and now Crete with beaches we have been told are beautiful and turned out not to be. Imagine if they saw some of the beaches we have in the UK. The only thing we can't provide here is the sunny weather. 


This is the second beach the beautiful one! 

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