We’d arranged a day at the Acqua Plus water park near Hersonissos. After a bit of thought, we decided to take the bus rather than go by car. The hotel had daily bus trips, so we went for that. Except it wasn’t a hotel trip. Acqua Plus has figured out that they can make shed-loads of money by sending buses out every day to collect people from the biggest hotels all the way from “West of Heraklion” across to Agios Nikolaos.
I guess many tourists on the island would love to go to Acqua Plus but don’t have a car, so a daily bus is ideal for them. The bus added about €10 each to the day.
The bus picked us up at 8:40, so we were up for breakfast well before and were ready for the bus in plenty of time. The hotel gave us a packed lunch each to take with us. More of that later.
As we were staying west of Heraklion, we were the first place on the pickup route. From there we followed a fairly long route through Heraklion’s western suburbs, which are apparently full of big hotels. And from there we went right down to Heraklion’s port because we had another pickup to do there.
As we were driving towards the middle of Heraklion I noted the presence of a massive new tower block right in the port area – all steel and glass and well out of character with the other buildings. It got bigger and bigger until eventually I realised it wasn’t a building at all. It was, in fact, a cruise ship. A big one. We think, after downloading a “stalk a ship” app when we got back, that it was the P&O Cruise Ship Azura. Whatever it was, it was flippin’ massive. I know people love them, but my personal view is that they’re posh floating prisons. I don’t find it relaxing to laze around doing nothing. So the prospect of doing that constantly, albeit in luxury, is not one that appeals to me.
Anyway, back at the plot, once we got out of Heraklion there were no more stops. We arrived at Acqua Plus at around 10 am.
Off We Go
We were just in time to join the massive queue to get in, as they didn’t open until 10 am. It took us at least 20 minutes to get through the queue. At the front of the queue, we saw the signs that said that due to “tax reasons” we weren’t allowed to take in any food or drinks. Nothing. Not even bottles of water. That made a mockery of the hotel providing us with lunch. But as is often the case, there was nobody actually checking whether you’d taken stuff in our not. So bum to that then.
The park itself is supposedly Crete’s largest, and it contains Greece’s biggest water slide (38m high). It contains loads of other things too. Most of them have a water-based theme.
The first place to find obviously was the changing rooms and lockers. This day was also going to be a great test of how waterproof the supposedly waterproof sun cream was. So there was lots of squirting and rubbing in before we got into the action.
It’s difficult to say exactly what we did all day because there were lots of different things and we can’t remember the names of any of them. Some were straightforward slides that you just jumped on. Others required sitting in a big inflatable ring. One of these got named “Unlucky Stucky” based on it being a succession of pools with slides between, and the rubber rings kept getting stuck in the pools.
Throughout the morning it was reasonably quiet. We found that we weren’t queuing much. And more importantly, there was an adequate supply of inflatable rings. That was good.
We decided to join a fairly long queue to buy lunch at their official eatery. We could have eaten our own stuff, I guess, but it didn’t really appeal when compared to chips. OK, they had other stuff too, but mainly chips. To be fair, they were decent chips. Each of us had a different accompaniment with them. As we weren’t driving I also decided that beer at lunchtime would be acceptable. It was cold and wet.
After lunch, we had a good think about the massive slides. We queued ages to get up to the top and then when we were near, The kids decided they didn’t fancy it anymore. To be honest, I didn’t either, so Kas did the big slide on her own while the girls and I just walked back down again.
We farted about in the “Olympic-sized swimming pool” for a while. Kas and Ami decided to go on the big, uppy-downy job – whereby you basically slide down one side and up another rather than straight out into a landing pond.
By about 3 pm I’d had enough, so I went and sat on a seat in the dining area (in the shade) while the girls played in the pool for a while.
After half an hour of snoozing the girls managed to persuade me to go have a few more goes on Unlucky Stucky. By this time the whole park was “minging” busy and we were unlucky enough that there was a bunch of lads at Unlucky Stucky that were determined to all go down together, but were also quite keen on kicking each other off the rings. The result was a bit chaotic, because they were blocking up the whole thing and generally being irritating. I was irritated enough that I ducked out of a couple of last runs. I was beaten.
On the Buses
We were supposed to be outside at 5pm so we packed up at about 4:30. That should have left plenty of time to get changed, get ice creams, and get out. Sufficiently long, naturally, that the kids moaned about being made to pack up way too early.
But then they wanted ice creams, and they needed the toilet, and we had to queue to pay on the way out. On the way in, they attached a barcoded wristband to each person and you use that for acquiring food and drink. You just pay once at the end. It’s a good idea except that there can be queues to get out. Because they have to scan every single wristband you have to have your whole party present before going to the till. So by the time people had finished dashing to and fromm the toiloet and we’d queued and paid, it was only about 2-3 minutes before 5pm. Just as well we hadn’t packed up later then. Especially as all the buses leave at the same time, so everyone who came by bus is trying to get out at the same time.
Once in the car park we discovered that the 5pm time was advisory rather than mandatory. Some buses were in the car park, but not ours. A bus arrived which looked like the one we’d arrived on but it had the wrong bus number, so we didn’t go to it. After waiting for ages I went and asked a guy with a clipboard what was happening and he gestured us towards the bus that had the wrong number. The driver had gone inside to get the correct number for his bus. It was all a bit confusing.
The driver took a different route back through Heraklion from the way we’d arrived. The excitement of the journey was enhanced by the people who’d got on at Heraklion Port in the morning apparently forgetting that’s where they needed to get off again. Come on, guys!
But otherwise, the trip home from Acqua Plus was uneventful and we were back at the hotel in time to get cleaned up and go fo dinner at 7:30. As per the previous couple of nights, dinner was a functional affair conducted in near silence. The kids couldn’t get away fast enough, which was disappointing. They might have been irritated by having to share a room but hadn’t clicked that there was an opportunity to spend time elsewhere. Or maybe they were irritated by us rather than each other. Or maybe they were tired. I don’t know what was up, and they sure as hell weren’t going to tell me.