Beachy time

Musings

I’ve been in Chania for a whole year, and spent most of last summer there too, but it wasn’t until this August that I truly discovered some of the great beaches we had at our disposal. All it took was renting a car. We were thrilled at first because we had a means of transport and could pretty much pick any point on the map and head for it. Sounds like a great way to spend a week with visiting friends, right? Packed like sardines in the not-so-spacious Huyndai Atoz is one thing; doing the whole road trip transfixed in one position with no radio is quite another.

You see at first we didn’t notice that there wasn’t a radio affixed to the car, because it’s something you take for granted. The antenna was there. The radio? Nowhere to be found. I actually stumbled upon this little detail when I mechanically made for the turn on / volume knob and hit a flat surface. Then I tried to pull it off, thinking it’s a cover. But no, no such thing. If you’re having trouble visualizing this, here’s what it looked like:

It looked like a freaky skeletor-style face

It looked like a freaky skeletor-style face

Luckily we had one of those cassette / CD players which we loaded with batteries and connected to our iPods. We were so bad-ass.

We headed to the nearby beaches, testing the waters, but soon enough we ventured out to a big tourist attraction, Elafonisi. An island is connected to the mainland from a tiny stretch of sand. On some days it tends to be windy there, with lots of waves, but luckily the sea was calm when we were there. As the wave washes over the sand on the shore, the color of the sand is pink from the shells. We took a leisurely walk along the coast and kept stopping to collect shells. I have so much material for new beading adventures!

Looking for shells

Looking for shells


Infecting others to do the same. I enlisted my boyfriends help too!

Infecting others to do the same. I enlisted my boyfriend's help too!

We were pretty lazy at Elafonisi, because the later it got, the less people on the beach and the calmer the waters. And the colors in the sky? Magical!

Dive in

Dive in

And then we looked on the other side as the sun set and we ran across the beach to take photos. The golden hues were to die for!

My favorite hour

My favorite hour

After this great beach, we thought we’d head out to Balos, near Gramvousa. The photos we’d seen of the place told of a very exotic location that looked nothing like the Greek beaches we were familiar with. And let’s be honest, how many of those postcards for sale aren’t entirely changed by photoshop? So we were skeptical but curious. In fact we were so curious as to follow the map instructions even though part of the route was marked as dirt road. But hey, we were on a road trip, right? And next to dirt road, the route was labeled “scenic”. What more could we ask for? We wanted adventure, and adventure we got.

The dirt started out…dirty but drivable. As we progressed in our average 10 km / h the size of the rocks on the ground increased so that it was bad enough we were ascending at an angle on a dirt road, we also had to manoeuvre our tiny radioless car around those huge boulders. It all seemed like a bad Atari game, really.

Bumpy road ahead

Bumpy road ahead

On our way there we came across a lot of friendly free-roaming goats. They posed for us too.

Friendly goat

Friendly goat

A mere 20 km later, we arrived at the parking area, because what followed was a 2 km walk on a footpath. We had to descend our way on the other side to find the exotic beach of Balos.

On the footpath to the beach

On the footpath to the beach


Our first sight of the beach right at the top

Our first sight of the beach right at the top


The breathtaking view!

The breathtaking view!


More of the beach

More of the beach

Spot that boat over there? Well, in case you ever visit Crete, this beach should be in your list of sights not to miss. And that boat is your gift from God. Forget the dirt road, the walking all the way down to the beach (don’t even get me started on the steps we had to go up!). A mere 50 minutes cruise and voila! You’re at the beach. Unless you’re more the adventure type. Like our macho group.

Then again, on our way back we had the full moon and despite the rocky ride, it was a great view to enjoy the whole way home. Radio or no radio.

Full moon, the sea and a perfect ride home

Full moon, the sea and a perfect ride home

Plain best customer ever

Jewelry

I must have mentioned that at some point in July, I got home to a wonderful surprise — Stella stumbled upon my shop and fell in love with my plain yin and yang earrings. I got a wonderful message from her that completely made my day. Recently (read: a month ago, in my recent internet past), she sent me a photo of herself wearing the earrings! One more location on the plain bananas map: Montreal.

Thank you Stella!

Thank you Stella!

You can catch more of Stella here.

Summertime and the living is easy

Jewelry, Musings

Ok, so it’s technically not summer yet — we’re still a week or so away from entering the summer month triad. Yeah, sure, go ahead and convince me that with 30 ℃ there’s still a week left until summer. I won’t buy that. It’s here — I can smell it, feel it and even sweat it. Out come the sandals and dresses, the summer hats and sunscreens and bring on the ice, will you please? It’s boiling out here.

But out here, is where I want to be. I find it hard staying indoors when the weather is treating me to this abundance of sunlight. Cleaning our relatively big veranda was a task we’ve been postponing for a few weeks, but with mercury rising, Saturday had us doing the unavoidable. And today, I’ve been doing nothing more than laze around outside, drinking my coffee, reading my book and enjoying the evening breeze.

My summer table

On the veranda, where I pretend I'm at a coffee shop

I couldn’t even bring myself to stay indoors and work on my little beading corner, even though I really wanted to create today. Solution: move the beads outside and create to my heart’s content.

Last night, on a walk down Chania’s old harbor, I suddenly realized how buzzing every place was — so many tourists, so many locals out for a drink in the cool breeze of these early summer nights. The island is dressed in its summery persona already and I felt lucky to be living the island life, so close by the sea.

Inspired by these realizations, you won’t be surprised to see that the result of my beading efforts led me to island colors and beachy themes. Sea-shells definitely couldn’t be absent from these leg bracelets I made:

She wears seashells by the seashore

She wears seashells by the seashore

I will be listing these on Etsy as soon as I take some more photos on a beach location near me. I have to say, I’m in love with the colors, and I’m so glad it’s summer.

On a different note, the first plain bananas package has safely arrived at its destination. I will be mapping the plain bananas’ journey across the globe (though after much frustration, I’m still looking for a map to do this online – open to suggestions) with buyers’ pictures. It’s an open invitation to help me with the project and already the first item has been mapped. Thank you Gigi for the love and the photo. Plain Bananas loves you too.

Here’s where these earrings have gone:

(If you would like to see a map of this, you can always check my flickr account, which is the only place I have input this, so far).

plain bananas travels to Philadelphia

plain bananas travels to Philadelphia

The journey will continue.

Summer, welcome back.