Discover Crete, Greece

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Now that I have gotten my feet wet with my first post I have a lot of ground to makeup. I debated for a while if I wanted to go back in the travel archives and review all the counties I have been to and against my sane judgment I decided I wanted to share as much as possible, so without further a-due let’s get started!

First up Crete ,Greece.  Crete is a beautiful island in Greece that I have had the pleasure of visiting  for the past two summers and a few times before years ago. As I mentioned in my about me, my career choice has afforded me the opportunity to travel the world but what I love about my time in the Navy is that I get to visit unique places like Crete that the tourist crowd hasn’t quite caught on to yet.  Many bloggers have covered the recent takeover of Santorini, Greece but not many know of Crete. Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Elafonisi Beach, Crete

Elafonisi Beach, Crete

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The Logistics: I’m usually in Crete for work for 2 weeks in the summer so fortunately for me this is an expense paid trip( I know right)! However a plane ticket to  Crete in the middle of the summer can average upward of $1500.

I fly from JFK non-stop to Athens. Because Crete is an island, I have to transfer in Athens to a smaller aircraft for a 1HR hop over. As far as hotel, I book at least a month in advance . The last hotel I stayed at in Crete was the Samaria Hotel. The Samaria  was newly renovated and I think it will be my go to spot for this year as well. Athens airport is fairly easy to navigate so I had no issues with my connection. Crete has a really small airport and I do mean small, as in one runway, one baggage claim cannot get lost small.

Crete

Crete

For the past two years I have visited Crete either in June or July which is the height of the summer season. I stay in Chania (do not pronounce the H).  Chania is  beautiful in the summer. The beaches are gorgeous  with turquoise waters and white sand. The food is delicious and street food like the Gyros(the G is pronounced as an H or pronounced like  Euro) are a staple to die for. Tourist flock to the Chania Market waterfront Restaurants at night for late dinner and drinks.

Chania Waterfront

Chania Waterfront

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The summer is the busiest time to visit Crete because many European tourist escape here on their very long summer vacations. Hotels are often booked far in advance.The   streets are lively and bustling with life throughout the day and night.

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The best things to do in Crete are shopping for unique jewelry, handmade leather pieces which includes handbags and sandals and other beautiful trinkets. The  jewel of visiting Crete are the beaches, in particular Elafonisi beach. Elafonisi beach is a pink sand beach in the Mediterranean sea with the most gorgeous crystal clear water ones’ eyes have ever seen. This beach has been ranked on the top 10 list of beaches to visit in Europe. The geography in Crete is filled with grand mountains which results in views to die for.

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The coolest thing about Crete is that you can take a high-speed boat Ferry to Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. The Ferries are a bit old school when it comes to flexibility. They only depart and return at specific  times in the morning and return in the evenings. Miss the boat back to Crete and  your stuck in Santorini for the night , (oh my , the disaster of being stuck in Santorini) but I will save that for the Santorini review.

Elafonisi Beach , Crete

Elafonisi Beach , Crete

Crete is a beautiful place in Greece and I hope I have peaked your interest to visit !

Lisa’s Nugget: Visit individual pages up top for a more detailed review of the food, shopping, things to do, tips and awesome photos of Crete.

I Dream of Paris

Paris

Paris

As an avid traveler we all have a dream destination. A bucket list of some sort that if asked if you can go anywhere in the world right now where would it be?  We would have an immediate answer. I have finally checked off my dream destination off my list after my recent trip to Paris. I have racked up lots of miles, partially due to my career choice but mostly due to my  passion to see the world. But as long as I have been traveling I still question why it took me so long to get to Paris? I can’t say I have an answer but I can say Paris did not disappoint. It was everything I imagined and more!

The Logistics : Last minute planning. I actually inserted myself in the plan when I found out my best friend had plans to go without me(smile)  for New Years!! Because of the time frame for purchasing the ticket, I did not get a deal but I figured hey its Paris why not splurge a little.

I flew Air France booked through priceline.com

I booked my hotel through hotwire.com  with hotel revealed after purchase and stayed at  Le Meridian Etoile for the first 3 Days.

The Trip:

The Louvre

The Louvre

The Good, Paris is a girl’s dream come true, from the fashion, to the food to the beautiful architecture.  It was such an amazing experience. The city was easy to navigate via the Metro. The Metro was very efficient and cheap vs taking a taxi that was more costly and often got stuck in traffic. The shopping was everything you can imagine, If you’re a New Yorker think fifth avenue on another level if your not a New York still imagine fifth avenue on another level . While I did not go to shop I was on a mission to see the vintage shops. Vintage shopping is amazing in Paris. I was only able to visit one store but well worth the trip. I spent New Years Eve at the Eiffel Tower and let me just say the moment the tower lit up at midnight was priceless and breath taking kind of  beautiful. I left Paris wishing I would have stayed longer.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

The Not so Good,  I went to Paris to celebrate New Years and it was extremely cold. Usually I fly south like the birds in the winter so I did have some challenges packing for a winter vacation. The language barrier was difficult at times but most Parisians were friendly and tried to meet you half way.. PARIS IS EXPENSIVE! I spent a lot on food but that may also be attributed to the fact that I didn’t really eat outside the tourist traps. There are ridiculous lines that are miles long to get in to any of the famous attractions so please do yourself a favor and buy your tickets or head of line passes online prior to going to Paris. Taking a Taxi was expensive and at times painful due to traffic and lastly Paris CDG airport was is a huge nightmare. It’s hard to navigate and no one who works there seems to know where anything really is.. so put on your walking shoes.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

There was No ugly! Overall I had an amazing time in Paris and absolutely will be heading back!