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  • Writer's pictureEva

Snake Goddesses and Feta Cheese? Yes, Please!: Crete, Greece

Hiiiii everyone - welcome back!

It's been a minute - life has truly been Lifing in my general direction and I'll be honest about something we've all noticed: this blog has taken a backseat to some very important Work with a capital W. As an artist, it's important to let yourself breathe when you need to, life a life worthy of great songs and great art, whatever type it may be. So, I can only imagine I'll be back here when I'm feeling creatively inspired or nudged by it - and my processing queue isn't too intense. That's how I live my life - somewhere between intense discipline and flexibility, structured freedom, art and life, life and art. With that said, I'm happy to be back - we've got some ground to cover.

Remember how last year I went to Portugal with a friend - the same friend who's been to Vilnius twice now? (The only one - she's amazing!)

Well, this year we decided to head further south to Greece - and it was so worth it. The decision was between Greece (culture, great food) and Tenerife (a bit warmer), and we were both wrestling with this decision more than necessary. But when a friend of mine here tipped me off to Crete, I decided to check it out with burgeoning curiosity.

Well, it turns out some of my favorite - and I do mean favorite - Minoan pieces from art history were located in the exact town I planned to visit. And that, my friends, pretty much sealed the deal.

I was in.

There were so many moments I, of course, wished The Scientist could have been with me (palaces!? frescos!?), but I really value these trips with other people who add so much color to my life. I immersed myself in it completely.

I got to Heraklion almost a full day before my friend, so I had time to explore on my own - old Venetian forts, eating a gyro while Taylor Swift's "Style" played in the background, rummaging through markets and little shops. But once my friend got to town, we made our way over to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to visit my figurine friends. Because I minored in Art, these figurines and Minoan pottery made a powerful impact on me - I couldn't believe I was living this opportunity.

The best part? We came in the off-season so the tickets were half-off AND there were almost no people in the museum. So once we got to the Snake Goddess figurines I was so excited to see, it was just me and them for a good while - the opposite experience of Gustav Klimt's 'The Kiss' in Vienna. It was so moving for me to have my own moments with these ancient pieces. I highly recommend the off-season for this reason alone if you're an artist and/or art appreciator.

Another power move? We went into the grocery store to buy some fresh feta and olives, and I kid you not when I say it was the best feta of my life. After that point, I had feta as much as I could. Dolmas were also on point at Erganos (so good we returned for a second visit!) while we found the best lamp chops nearby. Something I loved about Heraklion - and maybe it extends to Greece as a whole - is that in almost all cases, the restaurants gave us free dessert and spirits (raki) on the house. Ouzo, their anise drink, is also a buzzy, fiery drink I had a couple of times - super unique taste.

But I didn't just come to Greece for the food - I'm a beach girl.

The good news is that city buses are relatively reliable - with a great city-wide app! - so we took the bus out to the beach more often than not. While it's beautiful and sunny in Lithuania right now, I took every moment possible to spend time outdoors in Greece, in the sunlight, with my feet in the sand. I don't take any of it for granted, and this trip cemented my desire to vacation in January-February-March so I can return to Lithuania refreshed and ready to ride out the rest of winter. Ammoudara is your best bet if you're shorter on time or don't have a rental car - so even though we attempted to venture out to another beach, Ammoudara was the clear choice for us. I only managed to get fully in the water one day, but I'm still glad for the beach. A Greek island? Come on. No time for complaints here.

I still feel so full from the warmth of this island, its locals, and my cultural experience. I'm typically someone who only visits a place once - if I can help it! - because there are so many places to explore in the world. And I really feel like I got the biggest bang for my buck - for my Euro? - going to Greece in February. Will I come back to the mainland or another island at some point? Probably! I do live in Europe, after all. But getting to walk around the Knossos Palace with so few people in perfect weather conditions - while imagining it crowded to the brim in the heat of high summer - yeah, I'm in.

Have you experienced a touristy place in the off-season? What was it like for you? Are you an art history nerd like me? Let me know!

As per usual, feel free to subscribe at the bottom of this page to receive a bi-weekly email from me on whatever's on my heart that day! And as always, I'll see you next time here at Into the Forests I Go - iki pasimatymo - see you soon!


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