Today after a nice breakfast in the restaurant overlooking the beach Chris collected our car for the next week. He’d shopped around before we left and had a good deal with fully comprehensive insurance and two car seats. Like the car seats in every foreign hire car they were basic compared to the British ones but were good enough. While he handled the paperwork I got the kids an ice cream each to keep them happy. Once Chris had carefully tested the car and filled it with petrol (and I’d filled the kids with icecreams) we all piled in for a drive.
Sadly rental companies don’t tell tourists the customs for driving in Crete so here they are as far as I can tell
1. If there’s a hard shoulder or space on your right then pull in to let faster cars overtake / allow room for the lorry over taking a coach on the opposite side.
2. If here is any doubt who has priority at a junction then it’s a free for all – you can play safe and give priority to everyone else or force your way through depending on your own driving style.
3. Hard shoulders disappear suddenly at bridges so don’t over take on approach to a bridge.
4. Stay close to the right when going round sharp bends – you never know what’s coming round in the middle of the road!
5. Even a good map (like the AA one) won’t list every village or show every junction. If you are lucky enough to see a road sign follow it and keep heading straight ahead until you find another sign, be prepared for the spelling on the maps and road signs to differ as well!
We passed Hersonissos (a bit like a small Benidorm) and decided to go past Heraklion on the new national road. The kids were quickly asleep and we decided to head back after a while, and wondered whether it was worth looking into the capital city. Coming off the national road into the chaos that is Heraklion was a brave and scary move. Scooters everywhere, no clear priority at junctions and a serious lack of road signs led to a half hour baptism of fire for Chris as driver andme as navigator before we got back to the new national road.
We got back in time for lunch which we ate at the pool side bar, Pergola, this was more snacky than the main restaurants but still had a good salad bar and feta for me. Ciaran hadn’t woken up happy and screamed the pool side bar down to the disgust of some German ladies who had either forgotten what toddlers are like or had brought up the only children never to work themselves into a state. Eventually Ciaran calmed down enough to manage a few chips, meatballs and chicken nuggets. After lunch the kids played angry birds in the bedroom with me while Chris swam and sunbathed.
We went into the main swimming pools when it was slightly cooler. I sat in the shallow kids pool with Ciaran while Ben had an orange juice with his Dad at the swim-up bar. After all showering and having dinner at the seaside each facing restaurant it was bed for the little ones and booze O’ clock for the adults.