The week prior to my arrival in Crete, I checked daily on multiple hotel / hostel booking sites for accommodation. There was not a single place which met my current budget of 10 to 15€ per night with review ratings of 7.0 or above.
What to do!?! I have never arrived in a new location without reservations for the first night accommodation. I dread wandering from place to place with my luggage in tow, looking for a bed. Many travelers I know does this on a regular basis but I am not one of them.
When I found a place for 18€ it was far away from the port city of Heraklion where all the places I wanted to visit while in Crete are located. I didn’t want to rent a car as it would blow my budget.
On my final night in Santorini, I found a place called El Greco Hotel located in the heart of the Old Town Heraklion. I had to pay so much more than my alloted budget. However it’s within walking distance to all the points of interest.
After check in, I asked if the “High season” has begun – the answer was what I feared – Yes. This means I will not find anything for my budget for my remaining stay in Greece.
Paying the extra to stay in town was definitely worth it though. No need to commute on intercity buses which would be necessary on a daily basis. I even popped my head into the surrounding hotels and confirmed that I did find the best deal in town. The only hostel I found was cheap alright but dirty and made me feel unwelcomed.
On my second day in town, I left the hotel thinking of visiting the Historical Museum by walking through Handakos street. I missed a turn and decided to Let it Go and Allow whatever that needs to unfold – Unfold.
I ended up standing in front of the Pantokratoros Bastion. It was one of many places I wanted to visit and since I saw the door was open, I stepped inside. I discovered an exceptional Tribute exhibition to commemorate and celebrate the anniversary of a famous Cretan painter from the Venetian period. His name is Doménikos Theotokópoulos, also known as El Greco.
The light bulb lite up in my head, I looked at the lady sitting at the desk and I told her I’m staying in the El Greco Hotel. She beamed a huge smile and said here’s a present for you. She handed me the printed catalog of the whole exhibition titled “Homage to Greco”. I was so grateful for the gift!
Inside my head, I’m wondering what’s the connection. There is synchronicity at play. I know there are hidden meanings in many events in my life, what’s the story behind this occurrence?
After thoroughly enjoying the art exhibition, I walked along the top of the old city wall. The view of the town was beautiful. Imagining how the old town looked in the 16th century kept my mind busy.
After a stop at the Saint Andreas Bastion and the Natural History Museum, I arrived at the Historical Museum – my original intended destination. To my surprise, they have a small exhibition of El Greco’s artwork.
In my head, I’m thinking the Universe is messing with me now. The museum maintains a well curated catalog related to Cretan life. It was captivating. Though the back of my mind, I kept wondering what’s the deeper meaning for me to be in Crete.
I believe in past lifes. I believe that my thoughts and decisions in this life have affects to past and future lifes. I believe the travels I do in this life are to revisit places I once lived in another life.
So perhaps I knew El Greco when he was alive between 1541 and 1614.
This isn’t the first time I’ve visited a location and found a strong connection. Some places I’ve been to in the past few years have given me a sense of familiarity, like I’ve already been here before. Yet it was my first visit in this lifetime.
I don’t usual bring this up but it’s occurring too often and I felt the need to share this, so if you’re still reading this, thanks!
Later on that night, as I took a stroll in the Web of pedestrian streets around my hotel, I came upon the Municipal Gallery. It was the first time I’ve seen it’s doors open despite this being my 4th time walking past it in the last 2 days. Low and behold, it’s having an exhibition of El Greco’s artwork.
I just surrendered and celebrated the recognition El Greco is receiving on the 400th anniversary of his death. He’s made Crete proud despite the fact that he left Crete for Italy and Spain and never returned.
Have you been to a place where you were met with unfounded connection?