It won’t be long now before we are sunning ourselves on the beautiful island of Crete. Yiayia and Papou are very much looking forward to us staying with them in their holiday home on the north of the island. Yiayia has even had an air conditioning unit especially installed in the studio apartment adjoining their house, which is to be our new home away from home for two whole weeks!
As I start to think about what I need to pack (everything but shorts… shudder, they make my bum look like an airbag) and stop to wonder if I should have taken an extra week off work just to tackle the ironing pile, I have been happily reminiscing about the laughs we had in Crete last year.
I was still on maternity leave (sigh, the good old days) and the Greek God(zilla) was in South Africa covering the World Cup for work (what a gig, I know!) so it made sense for me and Zee to take an extra long holiday and we flew out to Crete the week before everyone else.
I was very nervous about Zee’s first plane journey, not least because I was flying alone and am not a very confident flyer at the best of times but with an 10-month baby, who knew the levels my anxiety would reach once those aeroplane doors closed tightly shut behind us! As it happens, flying solo was the best thing I could have done.
Forget the fact that none of the ground staff at Gatwick were willing to help a woman with a baby travelling alone; that they would not help me to collapse the buggy while I balanced Zee on one hip, nor help to lift our bags on to the conveyor belt. They would not watch my luggage while they sent me off to join another queue to pay for 2kg of excess baggage, after it transpired that Zee’s nappy changing bag counted towards my hand baggage allowance and he was not entitled to any of his own (which left me in a bit of a muddle as to what to do with the Mulberry handbag…)
Anyway, it all got sorted in the end and I carted the baby, the buggy, the suitcase, the nappy bag and the Mulberry with me all over that airport and got very adept at doing things one-handed! A skill that has come in handy on more than three thousand occasions ever since.
I knew that for Zee to be a happy flyer, he would need to feel comfortable that mummy felt comfortable in the air too. Being only 10-months old, he was not able to provide any verbal feedback on how I did at this, but I must have done ok as he promptly fell asleep on take-off, leaving me to read Mabel’s Magical Garden to myself.
YiaYia was there to meet us at Heraklion airport with Zacharias, the local taxi driver from her village, who has been doing this airport run with them for many years. We joke that Zee was actually named after Zacharias the taxi driver, but he was really named after Yiayia’s grandfather, also called Zacharias (obvs), meaning sweet. Zee’s middle name, Lefteris, is taken from Papou. It means Freedom. So Zee’s full name means Sweet Freedom. Beautiful.
However, I digress. It wasn’t long before we were on our way to Yiayia’s house in Rethymnon. Although they have had this house for 10 plus years, this was to be my first visit there. It is situated just a few metres from the beach and about a 30-min walk from the harbour and picturesque old town.
YiaYia is a perfect host and spoilt us rotten so it was a very relaxing time for us.
Then BB and the Griwis arrived.
BB was not BB then, she was still Maria. And, the Griwis were not really the Griwis then. We had yet to make the word up at that point in time. Last summer, they were just Eva and her Kiwi boyfriend Keri, and together they were keeping a very big secret. It was on the beach at Rethymnon later that afternoon when they finally let us all in on the secret that they were expecting. Twins.
Everyone got very excited. There were big woops and high fives and phone calls in Greek, which I did not really understand but I laughed along anyway, guessing the squeals on the receiving end translated to “TWINS?! Whoopa!”.
Then the Greek God(zilla) called from the UK to say he had landed safely from SA and would be with us in Crete the next day. We all quickly hushed in the background as we remembered that he was yet to be told his sister’s exciting news. Obviously he was chuffed to bits when he arrived the next day and learned he was going to be an uncle twice over.
BB’s friend, Babs, arrived next from Athens via a yoga retreat on the south of Crete and we all (I) got a little girl crush on her as she is quite fabulous.
The next week was lots of fun. Yiayia was happy to babysit some nights so the Greek God(zilla) and I got to spend some time with each other in the evenings and have a few drinks with everyone.
We visited the village where Yiayia was raised and met some more rellys.
We visited Plakias, where the Greek God(zilla) used to holiday as a young boy.
Yiayia laid on delicious meal after delicious meal, day after day, and it was not long before we were complaining that our clothes were feeling a bit snug. Eva having a better excuse than the rest of us though.
It all sounds so civilised, don’t you think?
Not so much actually, but it would be unfair of me to publish those photos…
Our holiday this year will be minus the Griwis and Babulous, but we’ll still have BB and her fella, Rob2; Zee’s godfather and his gorgeous family will also be there, plus a few cousins and uncles (some of who are even related!). But, the most memorable part of our holiday by far, will be when our beautiful little boy celebrates his 2nd birthday. There is sure to be a party of sorts, some wine, some food, some gifts, much spoiling… and we cannot wait!
What’s the best holiday you ever had?