A chubby man called Manolis leads us to a tiny red Micra. My suitcase struggles against stones on the ground and on noticing, Manolis picks it up with a giant hand, as if filled with feathers.
”This is your car. And this is for you,” he presents my father with a bottle of red wine, a product of Crete of course. After loading our suitcases into the boot, Manolis hands us his mobile number on a scrap of paper and insists that we call him if we need anything at all during our stay. He then bumbles into the distance of the pitch black airport car park.
My father starts the car and the stereo comes alive with bouzouki and cheery Greek song. He dances in the driver’s seat in excitement of the coming week and off we go to find our hotel, a good 45 minute drive away.
Crickets line the roads singing their hearts out in the arid grasses. The unmistakable perfume of pine resin floats in the humid air and a huge orange crescent moon hangs low in the night sky, its reflection splayed out on the sea to our left.
Families dine on terraces by the dim light of lanterns. Huge insects crash and die on our windscreen. The music plays on, familiar words and rhythms lament.
I have that feeling in my gut, the one I get every time I am here, not Crete, but here in the Mediterranean. A feeling of excitement and homecoming. I am about to fall in love all over again.