At the beginning of the month I returned from a week long holiday in Crete. Whilst I was away it became clear that learning when you’re on holiday is not reserved for cultural trips to an old European city or a venture to the middle of Cambodia. In fact, I’m pretty sure I learnt more spending a week in an all-inclusive hotel in Heraklion than I have in a while. Sure, I didn’t learn anything historical or anything that would get me a point on University Challenge BUT when it came to important life lessons, I really nailed it.
Of course I wasn’t alone in my Grecian expedition and these are all things the three of us failed in, but the other two have proper jobs and have left it to me to document our adventure. Shoutout to both of them for promptly replying to my “WHAT WAS I GOING TO WRITE IN MY BLOG” text and highlighting the importance of me noting things down.
Lessons Learnt on Holiday
1. Don’t pose for a photoshoot in front of disgruntled diners
Firstly, I would like to make it clear that we did not choose to be part of an OTT photoshoot on the way to dinner one night, but these things happen and only to us it seems. Walking to dinner we were ambushed by a woman and her giant camera, shouting at us to stop and pose. We tried to politely decline and continue walking into the restaurant, but before we know it she had us lined up, posing and pouting in front of a number of confused and disgruntled diners.
If that wasn’t enough of Heraklion’s Next Top Model she then had us take single photos and nothing would sway her from her goal of photographing the three least enthusiastic girls on the island over and over. I mean, how many photos of someone blowing a kiss and dramatically flicking their hair does one woman need?!
I hope those photos never see the light of day. You’d probably be able to pinpoint the moment our souls died and we gave up completely.
2. Don’t get on a bus unless you’re confident it’s able to come back
I don’t know if because I live in London I have an unrealistic idea of what buses do but I was under the impression that if you can get a bus to your destination then a bus will be able to bring you back; it’s the same route in reverse, no? Not in Heraklion, Crete it would seem. The day we managed to tear ourselves away from the bar and explore some of the local area was the day we learnt why that wasn’t a great idea.
It was all going really well to begin with; we got on the right bus, made it into the town, had a walk around, did a bit of shopping and grabbed a Starbucks (because, you know, basic bitches). The problem came when it was time to get the bus back – there weren’t any. I don’t mean there weren’t any buses going back to where we needed to be, I mean there were none, zero, nada buses at all. Cue us walking around for 20 minutes, asking for help and then sitting down at the side of the road for a further 20 minutes in the hope of seeing ANY bus. We didn’t. We did not find a bus. Fuck knows where all the buses in Heraklion disappear to at 3pm. It is a mystery that still remains to this day.
3. Don’t take day drinking lightly
I am an advocate of day drinking, I really enjoy it and I don’t think alcohol should be limited to after 5pm. However, day drinking is a sport and should be treated as such (something we failed to do almost every day of our holiday). Throughout our holiday it was clear that we should not have drank and then attempted to resume the fun hours later, should not have drank 14 vodka sodas before dinner and should not have started drinking so early.
This only gets worse when you continue straight through until the evening. A prime example of why drinking all day and all night isn’t always the best idea is the night we ended up in Senses. It’s unclear to all of us exactly what transpired but one minute we were having a few drinks in the bar, the next minute it’s 5am and we’re in a smokey club dancing to Single Ladies with some Russian guys we’d named Walter White and King Arthur. Turns out tequila sunrises for lunch isn’t the fun holiday idea you think it’ll be.
4. Don’t assume a taxi driver knows where he’s going just because he says he does
Three unbelievably drunk girls trying to get back to their hotel at 6am can be a struggle at the best of times, add the fact that we don’t speak any Greek and our taxi driver didn’t speak any English and you’ll find that chaos ensues.
Despite our taxi driver assuring us he knew where we needed to go, our 10 minute taxi drive took 40 minutes. 40. MINUTES. During this 40 minute nightmare we drove and drove and drove, spoke to our driver’s wife on the phone to see if she knew where we were going, gave up talking to our driver’s wife as it turned out she didn’t speak English either, worried we were being kidnapped, stopped at another hotel for our driver to ask for directions and ended up on the beach, driving and driving and driving some more. I wouldn’t have minded as much if I wasn’t very keen to eat my bacon baguette. Eventually, we got back. As did our bacon baguettes.
5. Don’t be lulled by bar snacks
Bar snacks seem like a great idea. Do you know what’s an even greater idea? FREE bar snacks. It’s great when you’re sitting there, having a drink and a lovely barman comes over with popcorn, cucumber, nuts, carrot sticks… or so you think. So you eat them. Then when he comes over with more you eat them too. Life is good and you’re enjoying yourself.
THIS IS ALL A TRICK.
The bar snacks will be covered in salt, you will get thirsty, you will drink more than you ever have in your 25 years on the planet and you will get so drunk you won’t be able to form a sentence. The only thing worse than this is the hangover. Jesus, the hangover. I’m still not over it.
6. Don’t eat so much you want to die
One of the great things about an all-inclusive hotel is the never ending supply of delicious food.
One of the worst things about an all-inclusive hotel is the never ending supply of delicious food.
We learnt this the hard way on our first night in Crete, but in our defence it was Mexican night and if you know me at all you’ll know that I would quite happily eat nothing but Mexican food for the rest of my life. We were hungry and kind of drunk, so we ate and ate and ate and then got dessert and then drank a bit more. This was the worst idea we could have had and by 10pm we were all laying in bed, half dressed and close to tears because we were so full up. We could only see one way out of the mess and that was death. A bit dramatic yes, but we were in a right state.
The only thing that could have made this worse would be being forced to look at super skinny models. Which is exactly what happened when the only TV channel we could get to work was Fashion TV. Yay.
7. Don’t have a member of the hotel staff escort you to dinner
Let me start by saying that our hotel had very few signposts; for a large hotel a few directional signs would’ve been a great help, especially for people like us who didn’t listen to the receptionist when she explained where things were.
One night we thought we’d venture out, spread our hotel wings and try a different restaurant. We found the restaurant but we couldn’t find the entrance. We could see people in there enjoying their authentic Greek meal, laughing, joking and they could see us, staring. There’s only so long you can stand there staring at people eating before it becomes creepy. How could we not find the entrance to a restaurant?!
In the end we went to ask a member of staff who then escorted us in. ESCORTED US IN. People looked. People stared. People wondered why we were being brought in by a fancy looking member of staff.