Crete holidays each year
Victoria Hislop says that for decades, trying to see every country (except the cold ones) was a priority
I used to be dismissive of people who went to the same place on Crete holidays each year, booking the same villa for the same week the following year, even before the current crete holiday was over. What about new places? New countries?
‘Oh we always go to Crete holiday each year .’ But why? Nowadays I cringe at the thought of my former, scornful self.
My grandma had a favourite saying: ‘I know what I like.’ Much as I adored her, I couldn’t understand how someone could be so lacking in curiosity. Perhaps she inadvertently gave me an appetite for travel, for discovery.
For decades, this was a priority. I wanted to see every country (except for the cold ones; I suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon, which restricts blood flow in the fingers and toes) and that’s what I did. My epiphany moment was lying on a beach in Thailand and realising I was homesick. Not for London, but Crete.
After a lunch of gooey pad Thai and with huge tropical clouds massing over my head, I realised I yearned to be in my favourite place with its reliable blue sky and delicious food. I hated Thailand.
All that money to go so far, to somewhere I disliked! Choosing a different destination every year carries with it a huge element of risk. Why take a gamble on whether or not you will enjoy your precious free time? Why not be certain of having a great holiday?
So now I have become one of the people that I used to despair of. And I am extreme. In Crete , there are hundreds of tavernas. But I have narrowed it down to my favourite six.
I’ve done my ‘research’ and found being friends with the owner adds a lot to the evening. Restaurants like to keep regular customers happy, so I never have a bad meal, never had a slug in my salad.
Having holiday habits is advantageous in other ways, too. No more unfamiliar bathrooms, no more fumbling with unknown showers. Where is the hairdryer kept? Is there one? Conditioner? No more breakfast lottery. Will it be a dry roll and a smear of jam in a plastic tub? Is the coffee going to be any good?
I know the answers. The minute the plane touches down, I know I can relax.
My old diaries (I have more than three decades’ worth) are catalogues of countries. Nowadays they record that I go only to Crete holiday . My late grandmother would totally understand.