Elounda, on the northeastern side of the island, is a town of many beach resorts thanks to a calm inlet and shockingly clear beaches. The view from our room at the resort, the beautiful Blue Palace looked out on the island of Spinalonga, where we visited. I'll share more in the next post about that.
We woke to hot sunshine and the most enormous buffet breakfast (they even had a whole GF bread section), and spent the morning swimming in our own little pool.
The water cool from the night felt perfect after sitting on the pool divider to warm in the sun.
From our room, you could see the beach that we spent time at.
These beaches, like many in the Mediterranean have no sand, but smooth stones. We have long been wary of this type of beach, but discovered something amazing! The hotel had boardwalks through the stones and a pier to jump straight into the salty sea, and so there was no mess or scratch from sand anywhere.
Blue Palace is pretty big, so there was a funicular that took us down to the beach and pool
and up to the reception area.
We never felt crowded at the beach, despite the massive size of the resort. Walker took some of these in the evening when the chairs had emptied and the winds were whipping up (hence the stones on towels).
I absolutely love, love, loved swimming the salty water among a few tropical fish. So salty I bounded right up after jumping in! I thought the water in Grand Cayman was the clearest I'd ever see, but this had it beat.
Toward the end of the beach was a mouse-sized church
and then a 5 minute path to a small village called Plaka, where we ate lunch with this crazy view from our table.
All of the restaurants were very proud of their fish, and a few times, Walker and I went to look in the coolers of ice to see the fish at the prodding of the proprietors. At the lunch restaurant, Giovanni's which also went by the name Giorgio's, we found a 2 kilo grouper that looked good, so we gave the thumbs up. It took up the entire table, that fabulous fish, and cost about as much but was tender and covered in olive oil and ohhh so good. Alexandra, our tour guide, had told us the Cretan's don't eat much fish because of the cost--they save them for the tourists and eat octopus and squid. Deboned table side!
Look at that platter!
We spent the afternoon taking a boat to Spinalonga, which provided a clear view of the resort on the hillside.
For dinners in Elounda, we took taxis to eat in town (10 min drive) at Megaro and Ferryman Taverna. The food was very good at both, but the service slightly better at Ferryman. Like all the restaurants on Crete, they served fresh, local foods: fish, potatoes, feta, and octopus.
And I'll end with a note that this was taken at sunrise on our last morning in Elounda right after the camera battery pack accidentally fell in this very pool, and I jumped in to rescue it. Sadly, we missed the pink ball of fire, but it was such a brilliant sunrise even after that.