Welcome to Ellotia! Our little house on the hill in Atsipopoulo, Crete, near Rethymno.

Sitting on the steps of the theater at Knossos. To our left, Europe’s oldest road leads toward to the city of Heraklio. Knossos was a little disappointing because when Sir Arthur Evans excavated it in the early 20th century, he reconstructed many sections in the way he imagined it might look, but many doubt the accuracy.

This is a taverna with no name in our little town of Atsipopoulo (which Michael liked to call People Poop Alot–very mature). Manolis the owner is sitting down with us to tell us about his visit to America 20 years ago. When we asked for a menu, he just showed us what his wife Eleni had cooked and invited us to sit down on the porch. Then plates of food started appearing at our table. Best meal we ate in Crete so we returned a second night. Lamb balls, tomatoes over hard bread and covered with feta, french fries, fresh anchovies, lamb stew, sausage, and green vegetables cooked in olive oil. Delicious!

Backgammon death match! Greeks eat dinner late, like 10 or 11 at night. And before they go to dinner, they have a nescafe frappe, sometimes with a snack, and they play backgammon. So that became our nightly ritual, as well. We often played at our favorite evening spot, Figaro. A canopy of bright pink bougainvilla covered the outdoor seating area and young Cretans filled the joint, making us feel a little bit like locals.

Ping Pong death match at Casa Ellotia.

Prevelli Beach, also known as Palm Beach. The narrow, gravelly, bumpy, rutted, winding road leading to this gorgeous beach sat on a high cliff that edged a deep ravine. Two cars could not have passed each other safely so I wasn’t sure what I would do if anyone came the other way. Pieces of the road had fallen down the ravine, leaving behind a semi-circular death trap. Looking to my left frightened me so I just kept staring at the road ahead. “Straddle the bumps!” Dave ordered. Right. Once we got to the beach, it was filled with sunbathers who’d arrived by boats that pulled right up to the beach. They’d let down an anchor and the wimpy daytrippers splashed onto shore in their floppy hats and baggy shorts.