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The perfect day on Crete

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Experiences… I live for those precious moments.

On my birthday I had been taken to Plaka, a small village on the east of Crete.
We had lunch in one of the sunny tavernas located just on the edge of the water and then we swam across to the Spinalonga, an old leper colony.
There is something magical in swimming to the island, it feels like a proper adventure; being surrounded by the high hills, crystal clear water and deep blue sky.

(I can only imagine how great swim-run must feel, it is on my race list for the next year! – which one I should do, any suggestions?)

The sea was beautiful, calm and warm. The crossing took us around 20min, probably faster than the touristic boat and much cheaper. I’ve checked later, from pure curiosity, it was £8 per person for the boat plus another £8 for the entry. We didn’t pay it either, as there was no one there to sell the tickets on the side of our landing!

(Yet another reason to learn and practice an open water swimming!)

We took our time wandering around the small streets and soaking a sunny yet dark and quiet atmosphere.
I could almost feel the shadows of the locals, minding their own business, living the lives of abandoned. The stories from The Island, the book by Victoria Hislop, has instantly sprung to my memory. If you didn’t read it, do it, you will not be disappointed. It is a great tell, partiality very sad, partially very cheerful, as the life itself.

After spending 45 minutes on the island; it is rather small; having a recovery can of refreshing Radler, and receiving many odd looks from the fellow tourists
(we didn’t take clothes for change, so we had to parade around in the semi striped wetsuits), we swam back.

Maria, our friend and fantastic host, was waiting for us, on the mainland, sunbathing.
It was still only early afternoon, and we were ready to hit the road again and look for another adventure.
I was aware that the girls have prepared more for me that day. They kept the secret well.
We drove on the dusty and winding roads. Maria was always on the phone, chattering in singing Greek probably for the directions and finalising the details.

We couldn’t find the place for a long time, we got lost a couple of times but it was just fine, the day was perfect anyway.
We have been getting deeper and deeper into the mainland. Tarmac has finished, we have entered hilly billy territory.

And then we have arrived at the shooting range!
Oh yes, I was about to shot some guns. I have never done it before, in Poland you didn’t have to go to the army if you decided to do the masters. Now we have a professional military anyway.

The shivers of joy have gone through my spine, I was very excited!
The place was big and open, full of fierce-looking people, shooting all range of guns, from the small pistols to the semi-automatic assault guns. Bang, bang, bang!
In Crete, it’s legal to own a weapon, and the Cretans are very proud of this right. They show their love by killing random road signs, and vivat during the weddings. This old tradition is still strong in the small mountain villages, where the raki is high-octane and the heads get very hot very quickly.

First I was given a small calibre sports pistol, and then, after finishing all the bullets, I was upgraded to the 9mm gun. I had a great instructor, Diamomonopolis who has to show me how to load, reload and shot. After 15 minutes of practice, I was hitting 25m targets quite accurately.
Quite scary, the thought has crossed my mind, that in less than 30 minutes you can teach a person how to take life.
In the same time, there is something raw and primal in holding the gun, firing it, feeling the firm back kick, bang and hit the target. Very peaceful and meditation like too. Bag of mixed feelings.

At the end of this shooting experience, a bday gift from the instructor itself, shooting in the automatic mode. I did feel like Rambo and was laughing with joy like a little boy.

The perfect day has ended with a tasty dinner in Maria’s apartment, a couple of glasses of excellent Cretan white wine and the chocolate cake!

Experiences. I live for those moments. And my wife knows me so well. I will remember this day for a long time. Thank you, Joanna, Maria and beautiful Crete for making this happen.

Leszek

PS.

We are planning another trip to the Crete very soon. We will again swim, cycle, run, eat, drink and have amazing time. And this time we would like to go with us. Ask us for details.

In the meantime, if you want to have a little taste of the experience, join us at our annual Fitness Soul Weekend Away! For details check this link: WEEKEND AWAY

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