A day in Crete ☼

Anoula’s travel notebook.

The day begins early in Crete and the breakfast is light and most of the time, there is no breakfast at all but, there is a morning snack around 11 o’clock to help you waiting for lunch.

Shops are open from 9-10 am to 1 pm which is lunch  time. They close during nap time, and they often open again from 6 pm to 9 pm which is the time to meet friends or family, to walk on the waterfront promenade and to have a tea or a coffee break in a café patio.
From 10 pm, the evening meal starts, either at home, at the restaurant or at the Rakadiko. Streets are full of people and children playing with each other. Teenagers meet each other in the village or in the city square, so as to choose the “club” where they will go around midnight.

The “clubs” are small “cafés” disguised into nightclubs, a single room where numerous people rarely dance but talk, under a loud electronic music called “techno-trance”. If you have a walk around Sitia’s harbor around midnight, you will hear the club’s heartbeat bass sound and you will see shiny lights coming from the clubs.

There are different sorts of clubs, with music of all kind! They often end the night with greek music that everybody sings throwing paper napkin in the air. In the former time, the tradition was to throw your empty glass instead of napkin. During these nights, there is a very good atmosphere, full of alcohol for sure but without fights.

Last word on the pace of Cretan life. It is often said that the French school system is heavy, I had the feeling that the Cretan education system was heavier :

Students Day Schedule:

From 8 am to 2 pm, the students go to public schools.

From 3 pm to 9/10 pm, students go to Frodistirio. Frodistirio are private school often dedicated to foreign languages but you can also find math lessons, ancient greek lessons, etc… These schools are here to help students to reach better results at the “A-level” in order to be able to decide in which university they want to do, for example, an average of marks of 18,5/20 is required to have access to medical studies, 17/20 is required for law studies…

But, to sum up, life on the Crete Island is mostly pleasant and serene, the atmosphere is peaceful, we’re far from the French stress. A little Cretan pleasure : having an iced coffee while playing backgammon on a patio.

A little anecdote : During an exercise on the French “conditionnel” tense, I asked one of my students: “What would you do if school didn’t exist?” and he answered: “I would spend everyday at the café drinking coffee and playing board games.” Coffee shop culture which is not unpleasant at all.

Before coming to the Island of Crete, learn how to play backgammon  !!