On the south coast of Crete there weren’t many good beaches.
Most of that spectacular coast consisted of rocks and mountains.
And so the beach where were staying – an ellipse of sand lapped by clear blue waters – was a rare gem.
And it wasn’t yet overdeveloped.
In the nearby town, about a kilometre away, there were a few hotels and restaurants but out at the beach, there was only one hotel on the beach front and that’s where we were staying.
It was October and we were the only people there.
The hotel was basic; the rooms were very small but they had their own cooking facilities – and very large balconies – the idea being that in summer, people wanted to spend most of their time outside. We were on the second story at the front and as long as the weather was sunny, the balcony was a fine place to spend time; we had a view of the beach and the ocean, and the high rocky promontories at either end of the bay.
On the beach directly in front of our hotel was an open-air snack bar under a flat, thatch roof with a floor of weathered planks. it was closed yet it became a familiar fixture in our lives. Late in the afternoons and evenings we sat near the end of the floorboards, where they met the sand, and looked out to sea. We had two chairs to sit on which had been left behind because they were very much worse for wear; loose, wobbly, but nevertheless with a bit of care, possible to sit on, especially if one didn’t move around too much.
The autumn nights on the beach were too beautiful to miss.
The sea, the sound of lapping waves, a sky ablaze with stars.
And the cats….