Last week, I took a belated honeymoon to Crete. I’ve been dreaming of visiting Greece for years, and although my finances don’t permit a month-long cruise on a private yacht around the islands, spending a week on lovely Crete turned out to be an excellent Plan B.
The island just teemed with beautiful edibles, like the artichoke plant above. Because it’s just the beginning of the season, a lot of things weren’t ripe yet — grapes and olives, most notably — but still, every day we gobbled fresh oranges plucked straight from the tree and marveled at the abundant lemons and limes in nearly every garden.
We’d deliberately rented a villa with a kitchen, but most of our meals were simple — fresh yogurt and honey in the morning, nibbles on the beach during the day, and sausage, peppers, olives, pasta, wine for dinner. Every meal we ate out was mouthwatering: the best gyro I’ve ever had after an 18 km hike, stuffed with salads and fries; oven-baked lamb so tender I didn’t even need a knife; pan-fried snails with thyme; and, naturally, a delicious whole fish (don’t even remember what kind it was) with nothing but fresh lemon.
Every meal, even the gyros, included wine or retsina and was followed by a delicious dram (does one call it that? It wasn’t a shot because we sipped it) of ouzo. The local wine was so fruity and fresh, full of citrus flavors and sea salt, with herbal tones and some kind of rich warmth I can’t describe. It did taste just as I imagined the landscape would.
My only regret is that the week passed too quickly, and at the end, I couldn’t take any of the local wine, honey or raki home with me (thank you, ridiculous EasyJet luggage fees!). I suppose that just means I’ll have to go back again someday with a little more money and, hopefully, a lot more time.