Two Girls, 10 Days, and Some Crete Celebrity

By Phil Butler
Phil Butler
Phil Butler
Phil Butler is a publisher, editor, author, and analyst who is a widely cited expert on subjects from digital and social media to travel technology. He's covered the spectrum of writing assignments for The Epoch Times, The Huffington Post, Travel Daily News, HospitalityNet, and many others worldwide.
September 29, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Last month two colleagues of ours ventured to Crete for an end of summer holiday. What was intended as a beach getaway for friends though, ended up as publicity trip too. For Ruxandra Mindruta and Diana Abu-Zuaiter, suntan oil and toes in the sand turned to mini-Greek stardom. Before I relate their tale, I am reminded of a quote from Crete’s most famous author, Nikos Kazantzakis, who penned Zorba the Greek: 

“You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint the paradise, then in you go.” 

A couple months ago I was discussing technical features of the social media intelligence tool Brandwatch with Ruxandra Mindruta. Our conversation led to she and her friend’s plans for vacationing, and as it happened I was using Brandwatch for analytics on several Crete hotels. I guess you can figure out what happened next. Wherever Ruxandra (Roxy) had intended to visit, our wonderful island of Crete ended up being the destination. What followed was fun and interesting for our pals, but also indicative of Greece.

Willing Travel Starlets

Roxy and Diana landed in Heraklion with a loose itinerary of beach-combing and various stays we’d set up with cool hotels on the island. Their first couple of nights the “now semi-famous” pretty girls from the UK stayed with our friends at Lato Boutique Hotel overlooking the port of that capital. Later excursions to Star Beach Waterpark and Hersonissos, Malia and the pedestrian zone of Heraklion, highlighted their journey hitting the high spots of central Crete. And of course dining at Lato’s renown Herbs’ Garden, this and other culinary treats added to their immense amusement. This part of Crete, like all other regions, has its own blend of marvelous attractions, beaches, museums, nightspots, and so forth.

Off to another sparkling resort up the coast, our vacationing heroins visited lovely Rethymno, the coastal villages in between there and Chania to the west, and even as far as magnificent Falasarna Beach (above). Staying with more friends of friends, at Mythos Palace Resort & Spa in Georgioupolis, the girls wined, dined, swam and suntanned along the norther coast of Greece’s largest island paradise. I could delve into every detail of their trip, Roxy and Diana have shared it all with us, but the most telling Greek tale here is not actually another story of paradise. It’s the story of what happened next, our sexy sojourners ended up willing travel stars. 

It’s News to the Greeks

Long story short(er), Roxy wrote a series of  posts for our Argophilia Travel News site about the journey entitled Two Girls Visit Crete. She related the kind and friendly innkeepers, the term Greeks call “filoxenia,” or love for foreigners, and the pristine surroundings many have come to love there on Crete. Little did she suspect, however, that half the news outlets in Greece would pick up she and Diana’s story! Okay, I’m sure the great looks and sexy sunglass selfies did not hurt, but anyone who’s been to Crete knows of this kind of Greek enthusiasm. 

First picked up on the adventures of these two beautiful people gallivanting across Crete. First Crete Plus News ran part one of Roxy and Diana’s adventures,  followed shortly thereafter by Κρήτη (e Crete) and move selfie sharing or parts one and two. Then CretaDrive.com, iterated their versions, just before Athletic Radio 104.2 chimed in. A beach party in Malia, dining at a superb restaurant in Rethymno, some cheesecake selfies at various locals, and now our servers supporting Argophilia Travel have crashed. Yep. Greece has transformed two sweet professional gals into tourism monsters. Okay, not really monsters, but you get the idea. 

Crete: Loving Visitors Famous

Finally, the point I’m trying to make here is, this is how Greece is so magical. We own a PR company, and the aforementioned travel news site plus some others. The kind of genuine enthusiasm Greek media showed for this story, it’s not something one can even manufacture. I assure you, I never so much as emailed or messaged any of the media before the first coverages. I did share thanks with them after the fact, out of social media appropriateness, but the story goes a very long way to prove “filoxenia” is real. Let me leave you with a definition of the term, and the reason everybody is a celebrity on Crete. 

“Filoxenia” is why a visitor to Crete finds his or herself at a family reunion, a wedding party, or taking a bag full of oranges when they only wanted one. The term in English means “hospitality,” but the real meaning is “love of strangers” – and the Cretans do so adore visitors. I’ve written about this many times, but until one experiences it, it’s like any other legend. Now Roxy and Diana know for sure, and you have my story of two girls vacationing that were invited to be island celebrities.

Are you ready for your vacation fame, to don your Ray-Bans and head to Crete? I can recommend no better place for it. 

For more information on fabulous Crete, readers may want to visit the Incredible Crete website.

Phil Butler
Phil Butler is a publisher, editor, author, and analyst who is a widely cited expert on subjects from digital and social media to travel technology. He's covered the spectrum of writing assignments for The Epoch Times, The Huffington Post, Travel Daily News, HospitalityNet, and many others worldwide.