It was such a god send finding this apartment really – there is lots for rent and lots of apartment buildings that are empty though not many that are over two bedrooms and also furnished. It would’ve been a crazy amount of cash to furnish a place and a bit of a waste as nine months rolls by pretty quickly sometimes.
Anyway – we started our journey in Agios Nikolaos in a small studio apartment right in the centre of the crazy tourist hub but oh such a gorgeous view.
It was definitely the smallest place we have stayed in and there was only room for 3 of us in beds – we stretched that out to 4 with Sandy and I sharing a single and then had three on camping mattresses on the floor.
There wasn’t much more room to move once everyone in bed, the shower was tiny with no screen though we were used to that from China, and when it was bed time it was bedtime for all cause you couldn’t have any pottering about etc. No space. Though it was an excellent introduction to Agios Nikolaos because it really was such a good location and it made everything else we saw amazingly big!
We stayed there for 5 days as we nutted out our new life here and tried to find accommodation, school spots etc. There was one woman who we thought would be very helpful who was the representative of ‘Crete Now’ but seriously – we tried to visit her a few times and email and call to see if she’d heard anything and all she said is ‘I’ll call you when I hear!’ All she was interested in is looking gorgeous, drinking her frappe and looking at the sea outside her window. Not sure how she made any money from commissions. To this day we still haven’t heard from her. We even tracked down one of the apartments on her list ourselves and rang the owner ourselves (who answered straight away) and had a look so I’m not sure why she ‘couldn’t get onto them’.
Luckily, our good Cretan friend in Melbourne, Leonidas put us onto his cousin who’s a real estate agent in a nearby town and he found us the place we are in. In the end we only had two options. The other place we tracked down was €150 cheaper rent per month and had a bigger balcony though the bedroom for the kids wasn’t very flexible with beds so Sandy and I would’ve had to have the kitchen or lounge as our bedroom which was fine but also the clincher was that there was no lift, it was on the 3rd floor and the stairs were quite steep and the door down the bottom opened up to a busyish road with a very thin footpath. Therefore after our family meeting over dinner writing down the pros and cons it seemed that I was the only one who preferred the other place but purely financial reasons really. So, here we are opposite the beach in the only other option we had. It is great though.
The apartment isn’t that big but it has two quite big bedrooms and one of them is big enough to have three beds out, a mattress under a bed and a fold out bed so there’s still room to play in the day time.
Then there is Sandy and my bedroom which is also big with a bed, cupboard and small desk – the room opens to a small balcony where you can see the beach.
The lounge- entrance room which just has a couch (as we used the couch for another bed in the bedroom) and it also doubles as my Bowen Treatment room.
The kitchen is also big but pretty sparse. The landlord put in a fridge and an oven (the place was used by students previously who obviously don’t cook so are happy with a plug in toaster oven) which was really the clincher for this place as we would not have moved in here without those.
There’s also a four person table which we manage to squeeze around for meals.
We could get a bigger table though its kind of better to just make do and spend money on other things. We can’t take a table with us.
The bathroom is also our laundry (we had to buy a cheap washing machine as apparently landlords don’t supply those in furnished apartments – that is something we definitely couldn’t live without) and is ……..well quite functional – if I wasn’t going to have a whinge about how I hate shower curtains clinging to your legs in the world’s smallest shower.
So the apartment is very comfortable and functional and the best part about it is the location. It is so easy that our closest beach is a mere 28 steps away and we can even see the kids on the beach from the balcony. We all go down there most afternoons – sometimes we try to go to a different beach but that is easier to do in the morning cause in the afternoon the kids generally want to go local and not walk a kilometre or so in the heat. The local beach is all sand and along side the marina and it is quite beautiful. Of course the water is very clean and clear. The kids love to build sandcastles and come in and out of the water. Their swimming is getting stronger and stronger.
When we moved in we made a pact that we would try to swim every day we are here – even in the winter.
It is so lovely to extend our roots for a while and have a home and build a community around us. Community is so important. That’s my favourite thing about home.
By Baba Christos