Early Morning Boat Ride

One of the must do’s while you’re relaxing in the backwaters is waking up before dawn to take a boat ride across the backwaters before the sun reaches its apex.

For someone like me, who absolutely loves sleeping in, this was quite the task. I woke up groaning and despite all my feeble attempts at backing out, muffled by the duvet I was hiding under so snugly, I found myself dragging my feet towards the dock with puffy, sleep laden eyes.

The ride begins gently but slowly floating past the infamous floating cottages. As one floats by them, one also gets to witness the idol of Mother Mary and the Cross built on a rock. It is a unique experience to see the hues on the idol come to life as the rays of the sun bask upon it, inch by inch. In much the same manner, the water too turns a different shade, seemingly dark maroon or purple, a trick of nature on the irises.

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Once past the floating cottages, the boat heads deeper into the groves where one gets to witness, thanks to the sharp eye of the guide and skipper, birds of different hues and species. Hidden behind heavy sets of leaves and often camouflaged, naive eyes would never notice the birds if it weren’t for the experienced skippers whose very livelihood depends on showing tourists around and impressing them with their keen eye for discovering, what otherwise would be very hard to detect, birds and animals.

One also gets to see houses hidden within the groves, with people waking up and doing their morning chores or getting ready to head out to earn their daily wages. Boats tied here and there indicated fishermen around as well.

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Somewhere between the purr of the motor from the boat and the echoes of birds chirping, an eerie comfort somehow settled upon us as the boat sailed around. Slipping in and out of little streams, created by cutting down hundreds of coconut tress, passing through nooks and crannies, arches made out of trees bent with age, we got to witness flora at its prime, wild in its beauty. From time to time, the skipper chipped in, informing the passengers of fruits that seemed deceivingly normal but were incredibly poisonous and flowers that seemed to be withering but were actually in full bloom and were used to medicate cuts and wounds.

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The entire boat ride was about an hour and a half long. The ride ended just as the sun was about to rise to its zenith. We stepped out and onto the dock feeling energised and awakened, the impression of such tranquil beauty leaving quite a deep impression on the mind and soul.


Experiencing the Backwaters

It has been quite some time since I have woken up, feeling refreshed and well rested, rather than cranky and groggy. The sun was beaming and there was a slight breeze, whistling as it brushed through the trees and bushes surrounding us.

As I had an appointment with the Spa in a couple of hours, my parents sun bathed beside the pool while I decided on a nice, sunny swim.

I hate gymming. Gymming and running, to be precise. It makes it difficult for me, therefore, to maintain a healthy regime. As a teenager, I was an exuberant participant in multiple sports. Basketball, badminton, swimming, horse-riding, I loved them all. Needless to say, I was toned and extremely fit. University and work ruined all of it. Swimming during this vacation, was not just an enjoyable excuse but also a welcome exercise. I did not realise just how much I had missed swimming until I dipped my toes and broke the surface of the cold water.

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Fun fact regarding my swimming costume while I am at it. Only after the vacation did I realise that I could sport the bikini top two-ways. I could either choose to don it as a halter or remove the straps and sport a cute and well fitted strapless top! Also, the neon print isn’t just for show. It glows in the dark, as I had noticed, the day before, when I had my evening swim.

Soon after, I headed for my spa appointment.(There will be a blog post about it in the coming week, so stay tuned!)

Post my spa treatment, my muscles so relaxed, I could barely move, I somehow dragged myself out of Jiva (the spa centre). Smelling heavily of scented oils, I decided on wearing something light and loose since I wasn’t allowed to bathe for the next hour or so.

Quick tip: Take a shower or bath after the hour is up. The scent becomes quite strong, the more it stays on and makes you feel quite queasy by the end, if you have it on longer than 60 minutes.

I suffered and learnt this bitter truth since we we had a 40 minute journey ahead of us, followed by checking into our resort at Poovar and then being reallocated. All in all, I ended up washing up about two hours later than instructed!

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Having arrived, we hopped onto a little boat, ferrying us across the backwaters to the resort. For all those who are unaware, the backwaters are a part of the river, untouched by the current. Hence, the waters are extremely still.

On our way to ‘Poovar Island Resort’, we saw multiple floating restaurants on one side and an expanse of sand on the other. The sand was a makeshift beach of sorts, barricading the sea. The sea in this part was in a constant state of high tide and the beach was quite unsafe, with various places marked dangerous since it was surrounded by quick sand.

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Beyond the conch lay vast acres of greenery. Flowers in full bloom, coconut trees looming everywhere and small paths weaving in and out, with hammocks in full use, welcomed us as we walked inside the resort.

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From the entrance, one could see tiny cottages popping up here and there with a swimming pool built right in the centre of the entire resort. Once check-in had been done, we were escorted to our floating cottage. Unfortunately, our first and last impression of the floating cottage wasn’t the best. It was dingy and somehow, just didn’t seem appeasing.

For the first time ever, I feel, I put my foot down. My parents had headed for lunch while I decided to wash off the oils from the spa treatment I had done before. Turns out, there was no water! Shocked, upset and taken aback, I stormed out and refused to enter the cottage until we were relocated to a better accommodation.

Thankfully, post lunch, we were housed in one of the newer accommodations which had a wonderful view of the entire resort with the sea visible in the far distance and a jacuzzi installed in the walk-in bathroom!

Come evening, we had a small tour of everything the resort had to offer. We soon realised, this part of the backwaters was best suited for a weekend getaway rather than a long vacation. So we decided to shorten our stay at Poovar and head back to Kovalam after two days rather than three.

Also, it seemed Poovar Island Resort hosted day trips and the like, since the resort seemed to be bustling with people throughout our time there. It was a surprising change from the quiet and calm of Kovalam where people were in their own space and silence was a calming blanket. It doesn’t imply that it was disturbing! The experience was simply different.

We were also informed of the Ayurvedic Village (a must do for everyone, I would say!), located in a small corner of the resort, tucked away from all the cacophony and bustle of tourists making the most of their vacation. Excited, we made ourselves a few appointments, deciding on giving our muscles as good a pamper session as our skin.

Stay tuned for more updates!


First Impression of Kovalam

I am not one to lose my calm when I am around my parents. Why? Because they’re capable of doing it without my help. They lose their marbles at the drop of a hat which is why, even if I want to, I can’t. But, they know, that if I start to panic, there really is something to worry about.

Headed to Kovalam had me worried. We had a super early flight and somehow, we were extremely close to missing it. We made it inside the airport with minutes to spare and my bad choices had me swearing under my breath, incessantly. The one time I should have worn sneakers, so that I could do all the running around with ease, I decided on 6 inch heels.

Poor judgement aside, we boarded our flight without much of a delay.

A stop over later, we had landed in Trivandrum.  After a fifteen odd minute drive , we were pulling into the breathtakingly beautiful resort, Vivanta by Taj. Beautifully structured and designed around waterfalls and forestry, the resort oozed serenity and calm. Welcomed with shell garlands, we settled down to cool ourselves, sipping on some refreshing coconut water while our backs were taken to our room.

Having toured all that we could of the resort while the receptionist was confirming the details of our check-in, we decided to stop by the sea. It gave us time to have a quick trip down to the beach, something, all of us were quite eager to visit.

The sun was at its peak, there was salt in the air and the waves were crashing relentlessly on the rocks.

Yes, my vacation had indeed begun.

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We then headed back to the resort where our lovely concierge Roshin surprised us by upgrading us to the Premium Deluxe Suite. Let me just say, the room was spectacular. With a gorgeous sea view, a panoramic view of the resort, two balconies and a walk in bathroom, I was all but ready to kick my heels off and collapse into the relaxing environment that was beckoning me, enticing me never to return to reality.

Having not had lunch, I decided on treating myself to Roasted chicken breast with rosemary, potato mash, mushroom jus and sautéed vegetables.

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I got quite obsessed with mushroom jus by the end of it, my father being witness to it. He actually caught me with my finger dipped deep in the jus, unabashedly treating it like a jar of nutella.


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On our way to the sea in the evening, we got to see more of the resort, landscape and design of the resort and everything it had to offer as we bumped along on the cute buggy that was driving us there.

Processed with VSCO with f3 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetRight next to the beach was a small lagoon. A boatman would, every forty minutes, seat three to four people in his boat and take them around the lagoon. Just as the sun was setting, we got into the wobbly boat, wearing extremely unflattering lifejackets. The boat ride was quaint. The stillness of the water breaking every time the oars splashed, was possibly the only sound one could hear, with the occasional screech or hoot of birds in the surrounding environment. None of us spoke. We simply absorbed the rustic beauty surrounding the village; the swoosh of the oars, hum of the boat floating slowly and our gentle breathing, creating a mild tune to keep us company.

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The water was so still, everything was a mirror reflection on its surface. On our way back, once the boat had turned around, we got to witness the sun setting. Shades of pink, purple and orange kissed the skies and watching it, had my heart fluttering at its beauty.

With our feet back on solid ground, we relaxed some more on the beach.  Eager to let loose the water soul I host, we headed back. The swimming pool in the resort was beautiful to say the least and I really wanted to dip my toes in and swim, something I hadn’t done in ages!

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The design of the swimming pool mimicked the infinity pools that have become so famous, with one side of the pool not walled, instead, ending in a steep drop. The view on the unwalled side of the pool was basically, a never ending view of the sea and the sky meeting, two distinct shades of blue, shaking hands.

Dad decided to give me company while I swum. Having not swum in ages, I decided to really push myself. By the end of it, my muscles were on fire, something I actually enjoyed. While I headed back for an extremely relaxing and LONG bubble bath, my parents headed for their spa appointments.

I think I dozed off in the bath. The warm water and the heady scent of lotus from the bubbles had me relaxed and I lost track of time. When I got out, I felt so sleepy. It was a good kind of exhaustion, not the kinds where you are weary and want to curl up and cry. Donning a bathrobe, I collapsed on the couch, all set with my book. Soon, my parents returned from their spa appointments, smelling of oils and looking, well…sticky.

Dinner was as succulent as lunch. I treated myself to Garlic butter prawns for an entrée and Pesto pasta for my main course. For dessert, I chose Tiramisu with shaved coffee flavoured chocolate.

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Well fed, relaxed to the point that our limbs were almost jelly-like, we hit the bed. For the first time, in what seems like forever, I fell asleep immediately. Actually, I didn’t even realise I had fallen asleep. Middle of the night, when I awoke, parched and in search of a water bottle, did I realise that I had fallen asleep and had been tucked into my bed by my Dad. Slightly embarrassing but adorable too, I’d say.

My first day in Kerala was perfect in every way!


Coriva and Almyra

With only three of us left, we decided to slow down and just let time pass us by. In between all the touristing and driving and sight seeing, I think all three of us (Tony, Mary and me) were quite socially burnt out. I think, we were a tad bit exhausted. Surprisingly, doing touristy stuff can get quite draining as well!

So we decided to take a bus to Coriva Hotel Beach, having bid adieu to the two people who had valid driving licences. The fantastic thing about beaches in Greece is that they are all public property. This means that even if a hotel or resort is built on the beach, the beach is not the property of the hotel. Others, those not checked in to the hotel, can simply walk in and head to the beach and relax.

And that’s exactly what we did.

Having arrived, we headed straight to the beach. The beach itself was serene and a shade of blue darker than what I had seen previously, in other locations. The sand wasn’t really sand. It was actually black pebbles which made it a bit difficult for anyone headed out for a swim. The stones were blistering hot and walking on them to get a quick dip meant frying the soles of your feet. That unfortunately, was not fun.

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Mary didn’t wish to swim so Tony and I headed out. I think mid way, we both got really competitive and started swimming really fast towards the buoy visible at the horizon. Mind you, this competition began without any words being spoken. I have no recollection as to who won though. I do remember returning and slumping on my sun bed, exhausted and breathing very heavily.

This was perhaps the only beach where I saw women topless. Almost all of them had their bikini tops off, lying face up, soaking in all the sun. It was while I was lying face down, dozing off, that Tony decided I should join the ranks of all the rest of the women out there. Without me realising, he undid the strings of my top. How I sat up and got Mary to retie the knot without flashing anyone is beyond me but hey, I did succeed.

So score 1 for me, 0 for Tony.

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We then headed back home to dress up for a fancy dinner. Mary took us to Almyra, a five star restaurant in Ierapetra. Situated at one extreme end of the island, the view this restaurant provides, is spectacular.

Built atop rocks, one gets a breathtaking view of the sea at night along with a panoramic view of the entire island, glowing like fireflies.

Having dined on some exquisite pasta and sea food, we were just paying the bill when catastrophe struck. All the bills Tony pulled out of his wallet, were blown away by a gust of wind. Running and jumping, Tony chased after his money while Mary and I looked on in horror. We were worried the bills would blow out to sea. Thankfully, they didn’t. Tony caught them two floors below our seating and had to fish one out of the swimming pool. Nevertheless, he retrieved all his money.

Our walk back home had us capturing Ierapetra in a state of stillness. It wasn’t something I had witnessed before and it was an experience all in itself. The otherwise bustling, exuberant crowds had disappeared with barely any people on the street. Our voices seemed usually loud as we debated politics on our way back, the click-clack of our heels and the swaying of the trees all round us, possibly the only sounds giving us company.


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Wearing six inch heels allowed me to reach Mary’s height cause on any other day, I think I reach her shoulder.


Bidding Sarah farewell was an adventure of its own. She had to take a bus from Agios Nikolaos to the airport, so we decided to make a trip of it.

We left early morning so as to have more time on our hands to explore Agios Nikolaos. Despite it being 8 or so, the sun was bearing down on us, making us sweat like crazy.

Unlike Ierapetra, Agios Nikolaos attracts more tourists and is more stereotypically Greek in its layout. The landscape is similar to Santorini with more white exteriors and architecture. The terrain isn’t flat and has a lot of uphill/downhill driving unlike Ierapetra which is flat and stretched out.

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Since none of us had grabbed breakfast, we stopped by one of the finer Greek cafes which were reputed to serve the best frozen yoghurt and coffee. As is well known of me, I conveniently forgot to document the name of this cafe. Oops. BUT, the frozen yoghurt, oh my god! I am very selective about my yoghurt, half of them taste medicinal to me. I was therefore, weary, despite Mary urging me otherwise. I gave in and ordered a frozen yoghurt with muesli, mangoes and cranberries.


My extremely divine yoghurt.

I fell in love with it. Is it possible to fall in love with food, because I did. I guzzled down the yoghurt within three, maybe four spoonfuls and was already contemplating, ordering another one. Unfortunately, my extremely massive cup of coffee decided for me. Now when I think of it, my order must have seemed so weird, piping hot coffee with a size of Fro Yo. Hah!

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Once we had catered to the needs of our tummies, we decided to head out to the bus stop to drop Sarah off. Unfortunately, Mary was unfamiliar with the directions. Greeks are so incredibly sweet! Even if they were unaware of the route, they still tried to help. This didn’t bode well for us, since we were more often than not, sent off into the wrong direction. The time spent following the wrong paths had us all tensed since we were all worried Sarah might not make it. In our panic, we also almost died at one point. Dipa had taken over the steering wheel since Sarah was too stressed to drive. We were going uphill and had to stop, to get directions obviously, when the car started rolling backwards. I think all of us swallowed our screams and thankfully, Dipa got back on track and we didn’t encounter anymore almost-accidents. Thankfully, just in the nick of time, we reached the station and we made sure Sarah boarded her bus.

Once we bid adieu to her, post relaxing and freshening up, we headed to Mochlos.

Mochlos is a small village that serves food right by the sea. The view is absolutely breathtaking but getting there isn’t easy. The roads are winding and topsy-turvy. One has to be extremely skilled to drive down the roads to get to it but the views on the way are spectacular. On our way there, we stopped at Panorama, a tourist spot from where you can take pictures and get a wonderful view of the horizon.

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Come evening time, we had safely arrived at Mochlos. We seated ourselves at Kapilio where we all decided to dine, pescetarian style.

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Spaghetti with octopus braised in red wine.

While Dipa and Tony decided to order the fish platter which had an assortment of fish, Mary and I decided to have Spaghetti with fish on the side. I loved my dish and still dream of tasting it again, sometime soon. Having never tried octopus before, it was a first for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I think I prefer it more than squid now, which is saying something.

While we dined, we had the most beautiful view. Honestly, I don’t think any meal since, has trumped my experience there.

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As it was getting quite late, we decided to head back, which was another adventure of its own. The roads were pitch black with no reflectors placed anywhere, nor were there any lamp posts. It was a little scary, especially when turning on the mountainside, since there was no way of knowing if there was a car headed from the opposite direction until too late, but we reached home, safe and sound, nonetheless. We crashed soon after, the sights of Mochlos making for the perfect dream.


Sun Kissed

With the delicious smell of melted cheese and ham wafting through the air, I woke up, all smiles, on my second day in Greece.

After gulping down chocolate milkshakes and munching on crunchy sandwiches, we decided on heading out to the beach. Mary being the delightful host that she was, had it all planned out. Sun screen and water bottles packed into our bags, we had soon hit the road.

The beach Mary was leading us to was called Mikri Poli, rather it was a resort with a very picturesque beach.

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The beach at Mikri Poli

From the minute we landed, Dipa and I were a tad bit too excited, having stumbled across an Ictotherapy Spa. For all of you who don’t know what it is, Ictotherapy is a kind of spa treatment where you dip your feet in water and tiny fish come rushing towards you and nibble at your soles, eating away at all the dead skin, making your toes and feet extremely soft to the touch. Since it did not open till mid evening, we decided on heading to the beach and having a lovely dip in the sea.

Our way down to the sea was tiring but so beautiful.

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Dipa and Mary decided to try out the very fancily designed swimming pools, so it was upto Sarah, Tony and me to find beach beds, a task that didn’t take up too much of our time. Soon enough, we were swimming and splashing around in the sea. Having brought wooden paddles and tennis balls with us, we tried our hand at the Greek version of tennis and were not so bad by the time we stopped after being terrible at it for at least an hour.

Hey, practice makes perfect. There’s a reason why we say it.

We were joined by Mary and Dipa, who had lazed around in the pool and had had their own fun while we frolicked in the sea. Dipa and I then headed to the spa to get our feet nibbled at by fish and boy was it an experience.

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The sensation of these fish going at it at your feet is a weird mix. You feel ticklish but relaxed all at the same time. After about twenty minutes of feeding these fish my dead skin, I was allowed to take my feet out of the water and have them massaged and cleaned up. By the end of it, I kept hugging my feet, THEY WERE SO INCREDIBLY SOFT !

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Having planned our spa treatment perfectly, we met the rest of the gang outside the resort and headed to the village called Makris Gialos where we would dine on divine Greek cuisine. The setting of this village was extremely beautiful and calming and the gentle sound of the waves crashing on the rocks made for the perfect tune while we chatted and licked away at our plates.

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The village of Makris Gialos.

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I have no recollection as to what everyone else ordered at the sea side cafe, but I can still taste the silky smooth Cheese Cream Chicken with fries, said and rice that I had decided on savouring.

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Amazing Cream Cheese Chicken with Fries, Salad and Rice.

Before we headed back home, we decided on capturing a picture of Manos Stephanapolis, the name we had given to our car and its two fantastic drivers, since Sarah was leaving the next day.

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Sarah and Dipa with Manos Stephanapolis.

Once back home, we showered and dressed up and hit the city. We dined on food and raki at a restaurant called Meraki and then spent the rest of the night, walking around Ierapetra.

We walked past and around the fort guarding Ierapetra and then spent countless minutes staring at the clear sky, wishing to come across a shooting star.

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The fort guarding Ierapetra.

We ended the night by sitting on the beach, munching on amazing gelato and sharing stories of places we wished to travel to and what we would call ‘our happy place.’

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Here’s a blurry picture of all of us. From left to right: Dipa, Tony, Mary, Sarah and me.

Keep your eyes peeled Mavericks, another post about my travels in Greece will be up before you know it !

Till then…

Sand In My Toes

With 2014 coming to a close, my friends and I, huddling together to fend off the biting London cold, decided on a summer trip. With one too many demands about what we wanted to experience during this vacation, we decided on Greece, the land of delicious food, sun and sand.

Tickets booked, plans made, all that was needed was the date of departure and soon that too happened.

Funnily enough, none of us booked our tickets for the same date or place.

Ian and Sarah booked their tickets to Athens and from there, a boat to Ierapetra. Dipa would join them and Mary (our lovely host) in Ierapetra and they would finally be joined by Tony and me, two days later.

Unfortunately, this meant, the entire group would spend only one day together because Ian would be leaving the next day for his Euro tour. So we decided on making the most of the one day we had to spend together.

After a LONG 11 hour journey ( 4 hours of flying, 4 hours of chilling at the airport and 3 hours of travelling via bus), Tony and I finally arrived at Ierapetra, tired and sweaty.

The first and only sunrise I witnessed in Greece thanks to a four hour early morning wait at the airport.

Soon enough Dipa and Mary had come to pick us up. We entered Mary’s lovely summer house only to be welcomed by a snoozing Ian, wrapped in bed sheets. I put an end to his deep slumber right away by placing my ice cold cherry flavoured slush on his bare chest. He was displeased to say the least.

Despite it being almost mid afternoon, everyone excepting Mary and Dipa were still sleeping. They woke up (thankfully) once we arrived and we headed out to brunch since all of us were extremely hungry. Mary being not just our host but food guide and translator extraordinaire, led us to a cafe called Aperitton where I got to munch on some of the most delicious savoury crepes ever.

Also, the portions served were GIGANTIC.

From left to right; Tony, Dipa, Mary, Kate, Ian and Sarah.

Once we had satiated our tummies, we headed back to our house to slather ourselves in sun screen before we headed to the beach.

After a breezy hour’s ride, we had arrived at our destination, although I was sweating bullets by the time we reached, not because of the heat but because there was a wasp chilling next to me the entire ride there and had I mentioned it, Dipa, one of the two designated drivers, would have screamed our ears off in fear and then driven us off the cliff or something.

I know, I know… my heroic act saved us all. Guys, you can thank me later. Sooner than later though okay ?

The beach Mary had brought us to was called Blue River simply because the sea was joined by a frigid cold river from the side.

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The entrance to Blue River.

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The ice cold river joining the sea.

We found ourselves a few beach beds and having dropped off our bags and sun hats, we were stripping ourselves of our clothes, running for the clear blue sea.

I have always known I was a water baby and my soul jumped in happiness the minute my feet touched the water.

Pure love for this.

While Sarah, Mary and I swam as far out into the sea as we could, Ian and Tony decided to sun bathe while Dipa decided to first practice her swimming skills in the two swimming pools placed close to the beach. After an hour, she too joined us and we spent most of the afternoon, coaxing her to swim further into the sea. Dipa being Dipa refused to budge if her feet didn’t touch the sea bed.

After we had convinced Ian to go for at least one dip in the sea, I decided to be a human totem pole. This was extreme fun right until Ian decided to fall backwards and dunk me in the water. I knew something was up and was holding onto his head, thinking he would fail if he tried to throw me off, but it never struck me that he would just fall backwards and dunk us both.

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Being a human totem pole.

Dipa, not the best with a camera, actually captured this hilarious incident and took a brilliant photograph of Ian and me, where the only things visible are our feet and a lot of froth. I shall refrain from uploading that picture though.

We then decided to clean up and head out for dinner but not before Sarah and I had a picture taken in the pretty alcove next to the river. This meant me wading through the ice cold water which was not fun but oh well !

My moonstone and I.

Before we left, we decided on a group picture because why not ?!

Dipa then drove us to a beautiful restaurant overlooking the sea and the historic Leper Island where Greeks suffering from leprosy were shipped off, called Spinalonga where we were treated to delicious sea food and fresh salads. Yet again, the portions were gigantic and I realised I would have to get used to this generous act of the Greeks with no complaints.

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Spinalonga Cafe.

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The Leper Island

Sarah took over the driving on our way back and I… well I dozed off. This would not have been an issue had I not claimed my ability to go without sleep a few minutes before my eyes decided to glue themselves together. I was teased about this the rest of the night although in my defence, I had way too much Raki (Greek alcohol) in my system.

Once we reached home, we showered and dressed up, to own the night.

Basically, we had one too many bottles of Raki and food. We looked amazing while we did that though.

Soon enough, it was time to hit the bed since Ian would have to leave early morning the next day and Tony and I were exhausted from our long arduous journey.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next Greece post with more beach stories and more food Mavericks !

Signing off with a picture of my adorable goofballs.

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From left to right: Ian, Sarah, me, Mary, Dipa and Tony