Posted by: travelrat | September 3, 2007

Sleeping and Eating in Crete

Eden Apartments 

Ayia Marina, Crete. 9th May 2007

I’d been to Ayia Marina two years ago, and stayed at the Santa Marina Plaza hotel. Now, we were to stay at the Eden Apartments, with the arrangements made by the Travel Club of Upminster ( That’s not strictly a ‘club’ you have to join … they recently celebrated 70 years in business, and the ‘club’ is a throwback to the days when you had to join a club to qualify for charter flights.

Now, ‘self-catering apartments’ were always a turn-off for me until recently. It conjured up visions of boring stuff you do at home, such as cooking and washing up … and eating what you’d eat at home. But, I found each day, when I returned from my outing, my cup and plate washed, the room cleaned and the bed made up, just like in a hotel.

What ‘self-catering’ really means is the freedom to eat what you like, where you like and when you like, without the constraints of hotel dining room menus and opening times.

All I bought at the supermarket was some coffee and yoghurt for breakfast; I do like to have my breakfast before I’ve showered and dressed.

If you want pizza and chips, there are bars, cafes and restaurants all along the beach road. But, these aren’t the places I like to eat. I think it was Bill Bryson who said ‘Never eat where they show you pictures of the food’ and many of them do just that.

I had some good advice last time I visited. Cretan cuisine, said Vangelis, is like Greek cooking, only better! Go up the hill, he said. The further inland you go, the more Cretan … and better … the food is!

So, we climbed the hill to Ayia Marina ‘old’ village, and found several restaurants where home-cooked food is served, and live local songs are sung.

I worked a rule out … if the menu is in Greek, with an English translation, rather than the other way about (we’re still laughing about the ‘sautéed aborigines’ from two years ago) then you have probably found the ‘real thing’

There’s another advantage to the practice of ‘go uphill, young man’, too. With a load of ‘Mythos’, wine and/or raki on board, the way to your bed is mainly downhill!


  1. ‘Sauteed aborigines.’ Hilarious!

  2. […] It was just a description of my accommodation, but it was among the ‘most popular’ for a while. […]

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