We awoke and went for breakfast at our hotel. It was quite a spread with pretty much anything one could want. Deanna bought some postcards to send home to the nieces and nephew. We attempted to take the bus to Kolymvari which is where our original hotel (and the conference was being held). There was a schedule posted in the lobby of the hotel but after waiting for a bit and having what looked like one bus pass us by without stopping, we opted to take a cab. We arranged to meet my good friend Gerrit who was in the process of moving from his hotel to the conference accommodations at the Orthodox Academy of Crete. We met for a coffee/soda at one of the restaurants that is close to the harbour. It was great to catch up in person. Gerrit’s been spending three weeks in Singapore and three weeks home in Germany. This travel schedule is starting to wear thin as you can imagine.
We then wandered over to meet Mark and Kathy. They too were displaced from the Grand Bay but were fortunate to be relocated to the Avra Imperial hotel. It’s the nicest hotel in the area. A little noisy with lots of kids around but still, a high end property to be sure. We visited, ate some ice cream and enjoyed the sunshine.
For dinner, the five of us walked down to Palio Archontiko and had a very nice meal.
I attempted to take the bus to the conference again, but apparently I can’t read a bus schedule or the bus doesn’t run on the schedule I found. Regardless, I ended up taking a taxi to the conference site. It was an interesting morning with varied topics. I won’t go into any detail here but may write about that in another post. During the morning, the hotel that we originally booked Grand Bay Beach Resort let us know that they had resolved the electrical problem and our room would be ready early afternoon. Deanna paked up all our belongings and took a cab to meet me at the new hotel. It’s not quite as nice as the one we left, however it’s only a 15 minute walk to the OAC, close to all our friends and is much more convenient. We got settled in and Gerrit popped down later in the afternoon for a chat and a light meal. We had a couple of appetisers and dessert at a restaurant close by.
We awaoke at 5:30 am, (yes you read that right) to meet some some other hearty souls to head to one of two beaches Balos or Elafonissi. We opted for the Balos option. I was a bit concerned given the description made by one of the conference organizers warns that it’s an excursion only for the ‘super fit’, something which I am not. However off we went. In typical unconference style, we arrived at the parking lot, gathered into groups going in our respective directions and off we went. We rode with Radim and Myriym and very nice couple from Prague in the Czech Republic. The beach is only 30 km away and the first 23 KM are totally fine. The last 7 took as long as the first 23. The ‘road’ is a literal goat path. (With actual goats). Very rough and not fun to drive. Radim, did great and we made it to the parking area just fine. From the parking area, it’s a bit of a hike down to the beach area. There is a path that includes a number of steps cut into the hill side. It’s not a terribly difficult descent but a good pair of shoes and some patience is required. Google maps indicated it was only 1 km, so we’ll go with that. Unfortunately, the weather really wasn’t on our side. It was cloudy, a bit windy and occasional rain drops. Apparently out of character for July on Crete. This didn’t deter Deanna though as she went for a swim. The water was ‘pretty warm’, but not as warm as she had hoped. We sat on the beach for a bit but the wind and the coolness got the better of us (well me) and we headed back up the hill at a leisurely pace to wait for a ride back.
After my afternoon sessions, we headed back to the OAC for a traditional Greek meal. It was followed by some traditional music and dancing performed by some local musicians and dancers. All very talented folks. Feeling quite tired after our early morning, we walked back down the hill to our hotel to get some sleep.
While I was at my morning sessions, Deanna hiked from our hotel to the village of Afrata which was 5.5 km up a pretty steep road. She met a gentleman along the way who spent half of his time in Germany and half on Crete. The bench that Deanna sat with him was apparently his favorite spot.
After her walk, Deanna met me at the OAC where I was finally able to introduce her to Andres and Ix-chel. We had a nice lunch in town, outside watching the waves crash on the shore. The’ve been to this conference for the past six years and commented on the weather being cooler and windier than usual. It is in the low 30s today, but the wind is still pretty strong. Hopefully it will be a bit more calmer in the days ahead.