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September, 2016

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Rethymnon, on Crete’s north coast delivered exactly what we wanted for our three-week break – sun, sea and sand. We’d chosen the resort as there were things to do if we got bored, but the sights were not so ‘must do’ that if we ‘didn’t do’ we wouldn’t feel guilty.

We stayed at the “Sentido Aegean Pearl”:, the last in a long line of hotels on a 4km promenade. The majority, manage a part of the beach across the road – it’s called an ‘organised beach’ and was a new concept to us. Basically if you stay in the hotel, you get the use of their immaculately lined up sun beds, but if not, you pay a small daily price of €6 for two beds and an umbrella.

The only downside was a line of stones and pebbles on the beach which led into the sea. We always wore rubber shoes when swimming but even so, my partner still found it difficult to get out.

In the first two weeks of September, the weather was still hot (between 28 and 34°), but at the beginning of the third week, there was a huge storm. This had the positive effect of dropping the temperature to a more manageable 24 to 26°, but the downside was that the red flag flew everyday which meant no swimming. The life guards were quick to whistle you out if you went in as we were told a surprisingly high number of people drown each year.

A 20 to 30-minute walk (or €5 taxi ride) took us into the old town with its cobbled, narrow streets filled with tourist shops and restaurants. On the headland was a huge fortress and lighthouse which can be explored when not too hot.

We ventured out on the “open top bus”:, and there are also trips available on what they call the red and “yellow”: trains (basically vehicles dressed up like trains). You could also venture further afield on day trips to the islands of Santorini or Spinalonga or walk the Samaira Gorge. The furthest we walked to the “Irini Restaurant”: at lunchtime.

Helen Jackson

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