Crete, Greece & Lappeenranta, Finland

Helsinki, 12 degrees 

17 wonderful days of holiday are now spent. They have included lots of sun, relaxation and great times. I have made two major trips during these days; one to Kato Stalos, Crete, Greece and the other one to Lappeenranta, Finland. I went to Kato Stalos with my wonderful boyfriend, it was our time. To Lappeenranta I went alone to visit a dear friend, nowadays living in the United States, so just here visiting for a month. Her son had his baptism during the time I was there, and I officiallly became his godmother

Here follows some memories from the trips that I’ve made.

Crete, Greece

My first impression of Chania, Crete, Greece, to where we flew from Helsinki was that it had a very warm and humid climate. The airport was quite small in Chania. Even though it had been raining in Crete the last couple of days before our arrival, the ground was dry and the island didn’t have that much green lawn. Nevertheless, the landing was beautiful since we saw many islands on the way to Crete.
We went through a Finnish travel organizer called Lomamatkat.  I guess it belongs to an international company since we saw the same logo with another name for Danish customers at the hotel. The company had organized the trip quite well I thought, and I was surprised that once we landed, we had guides taking us to the buses to go to the hotels. This was my first charter trip, so I guess I was acting like a true tourist for the very first time.

The bus trip took around 40 minutes since the airport was located on a hill. On the way to Kato Stalos, located about 10 km from Chania, we saw some parts of the city of Chania. We immediately saw the sea. We realized that Chania didn’t have a large beach and therefore most of the visitors lived in the smaller towns west of Chania where there were kilometer-long-beaches. The houses in Chania were mostly built in slopes. On the way to the hotel, our guide told us about local life, food, the weather and actually even toilets. We found out that one couldn’t throw toilet paper in the toilet in Crete, but in the trash bin since the waste pipes were so narrow that they would have got stuck with paper. 

 Source: Flickr

Kato Stalos was a small and very touristic town filled with restaurants, bars, small minimarkets and coffee shops. All the supermarkets were to say the least overpriced, so soon we realized that we wouldn’t save any money by making our own food. The restaurants were reasonable priced so we ate out most of the time.

Some typical traditional dishes that we had were Greek sallad, mousaka, souvlaki, tsatziki, filled tomatoes, garlic bread, lamb spit, and meat balls with red sauce, filled minced meat beefs with feta, tomato and pepper and pastisio. Desserts were traditionally a bottle of ouzo with ice cream, fruits or crème caramel. An interesting detail was that the waitresses always brought bread to the table without asking and then it always had a price. 

We even found a Swedish coffee shop in the town, so we spent some time there too. It made us feel as home. Kato Stalos was filled by Nordic tourists, so everywhere we went we heard Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. There was very little local in Kato Stalos.

Our hotel Atlantis was very nice, with roomy apartments with their own kitchens. We had a pool at the hotel and a beach bar. The hotel Atlantis was located just at the beach so it was very effortless to go there in the mornings.  

At the beach bar there was a nice waitress that we talked to a lot. When she once saw that I had got sunburned on my back, she suggested that I should put some yoghurt on it. And she added “if you want to make it more interesting, you should have your boyfriend lick it off”! I was really surprised, hehe. 

The beach in Kato Stalos was very long. We had arrived in the beginning of the season so the beach was stil quite empty. Our hotel offered free sunbeds next to the pool, but the ones on the beach were 6€/day. The sea water was very salty so I had to wash my hair every day because I wet my hair in the sea. The beach first had a stony part, before one got to the sand beach part in the water. I liked the fact that there weren’t a lot of sellers on the beach. The only ones that “disturbed” us was massage givers, but there were no watch or sunglass sellers. 

We spent one day in Chania as well. It was funny to notice that there was one bus driver and one ticket sales person on the bus. Nobody did two jobs in Greece. Chania had a famous leather alley from where one could find great items made of leather. I bought some slippers made out of sheep wool and leather for my mom and she loved them. We also went to a local market in Chania where one could buy vegetables, cheese, clothes, jewelry, sea food, shoes and fruits. Chania had its own Starbucks coffee shop even though the city was smaller than Helsinki. One could also find the most beautiful turquoise jewelry in Chania, but it was far too expensive for me. But a girl can always dream!

 Source: Fashionindie

There was a nice Venetian harbor in Chania with restaurants, cafes, a lighthouse and a mosque. The restaurants all had people trying to get you into the places though, so it was difficult to make up one’s mind about which one was the best when they all were trying to persuade you at the same time. 

The general picture I got from Chania was chaotic. In the parks you could see people just sleeping on the stairs and benches and the traffic was crazy, even worse than in Italy (sorry Italians, but I think you know what I mean). There were bicycles, scooters, cars and buses just chasing each other, making up lanes where they wanted.   

Crete left me with good memories. We spent some unforgettable moments on the beach. We accomplished what we wanted: we spent a week of relaxation and quality time. We had some great weather (28-35 degrees every day) and food. But still, we were both happy to get home. In the end, we love our everyday life together. 


I had been to Lappeenranta once before, about two years ago, so this time it had more to do with catching up with a dear friend than to visit the place itself. Nevertheless, Lappeenranta is one of Finland’s most beautiful summer cities so well worth a visit. My friend had got a son little over a year ago, but since she lives abroad, this was the first time I got to see him. 

On Friday when I arrived, there was the baptism of this stunning baby boy. Like I said, he had turned one year just two weeks earlier so it was quite a late baptism but since the family hadn’t been to Finland during his first year, this was the first possible moment for the baptism. I was touched since we’re talking about my godson. I got to read a small part from the Evangelic. I was happy to notice that my godson wasn’t shy at all, but immediately acted in a natural way around me. I find him a very happy boy.

The days in Lappeenranta were spent seeing the old part of the town with the bastion, going on a Saimaa canal and Lake Saimaa cruise (biggest Finnish lake, 4th largest in Europe), visiting a home museum of a Russian merchant, going to my favorite coffee shop in the city and seeing the astonishing annual sandcastle that highlight the harbor of the city each year. We also shortly visited Imatra, so I could see the famous Spa Hotel Rantasipi Imatra State Hotel which looks like a castle. 

After these program filled days I feel energetic enough to go back to work!

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