I knew three things. I wanted to be somewhere sunny and warm, I wanted max ability to relax and I wanted to do yoga. I realize that last one seems a bit arbitrary but with the lower back pains I’ve been experiencing and the lack of time I spend on stretching – it seemed like something worth seeking. I found package options on wellbeingescape.com that met my needs and in the end I booked a package at Porto Elounda Golf and Spa Resort on Crete Island, Greece.
Due to CCRI prep, I had little to no summer to speak of. The last time I took leave was back in May when I biked Lake Constance. I see the irony in complaining about not having time off in the last few months when prior to being stationed in Germany I rarely, if ever, took any significant time off. Time off takes a whole new meaning and dimension when there are endless incredible options to visit within a few hour’s drive or flight. Anyway, the CCRI prep exhausted me. I’m not just saying that. It really did. I became somewhat of an emotional wreck because I was too exhausted to control my emotions. I was bombarded with so much information and need to make decisions that towards the end of the prep – I literally had to sit down to hear more of the “news” (it was mostly always something complicated and beyond my comprehension.)
It’s evening on my second full day (Tuesday), I arrived on Sunday but had an hour drive from the airport to get Porto Elounda and had some difficulty actually finding the hotel. Google map took me into the town of Elounda and then my phone died on me, leaving me no other options but to ask my waitress for directions. I’d arrived in Elounda starving. I decided since I was lost, I might as well have some lunch and my first Gyro on Greece. Once adequately fed and equipped with directions, my only major problem was my inability to shift my car into reverse. When I made reservations online for a car, the only option available were all manual cars. I asked for an automatic once at the rental car kiosk, but none were available. It been almost 15 years since I last drove a manual so thankfully, the parking lot allowed for some practice getting out of first gear but it didn’t dawn on me to try reverse.
So there I was clueless on how to actually back out of this parking space and find my way to my hotel. As this man walked by the car, I yelled out to him: “Do you know how to put this car in reverse?” Instead of walking on ignoring this crazy woman yelling at him; he stuck his head in the window and inquired more about my dilemma. I ended up stepping out of the driver’s seat and he got into the car. Took him a quick minute, but he figured out I needed to push down on the shift stick to put it into reverse. I thanked him, got back in the car and was once again on my way to find the hotel. Aside from my reverse shortcoming, turns out driving manual is in fact like riding a bike – it came right back, no problem, as if I’d never stopped driving stick.
I was quite tired once I made it to the hotel. My room accommodation were pleasing. I was upgraded to a room with a shared pool on the patio and a nice view of the ocean. I expected the island to be more green for some reason…but it’s very rocky and brown. I sat out of the patio and shortly thereafter fell asleep.
I awoke and got ready for dinner. It seemed fitting to get dressed up and put on some makeup. The dining room was on a large wooden patio that sat atop of a pool overlooking the ocean. I sat a table next to an open small square pool; a similar pool was on the opposite side of a few lines of tables and additional cuts out in the deck covered by glass added more blue to the décor. The wooden chair with large comfortable blue cushions, crisp while linen and candles burning on the tables made for a wonderful atmosphere. I ordered wine. It just seemed fitting for the occasion. While dinner was a buffet, all the food I ate was delicious.
I was stuffed like a Thanksgiving Turkey and feeling pretty good (from the wine) by the time I left the dining room and ready to go back to bed. I had a full week of relaxing ahead of me!!