Day 259 - Chania on the Cretan Coast

Trip Start Jan 10, 2011
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Trip End Jan 08, 2012


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Flag of Greece  , Kriti,
Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Breakfast was a relaxed affair overlooking the windswept shoreline and the white caps breaking up the navy water painted into the hor white caps breakingacross the izon. When we set out Eli was behind the wheel with Mia navigating and Mr. & Mrs. Craig (senior) in the backseat.

We took the other route out of the picturesque dead end of Elafonisi along the western coast.  Almost immediately we began to skirt a huge gorge that was unexpected by all of us.  Extremely windy roads were often for 2-way traffic but only 1 car wide.  Thankfully there wasn't a lot of traffic and the habit of honking as you approached the blind corner (at least for us) prevented catastrophe.

Eli’s mom picked up some local olive oil when we stopped at a lookout spot.  We stopped a couple more times along the absolutely stunning sea side road that now at least had guardrails (mostly) and enough space for 2 vehicles (mostly).  It was a series of postcard views one after the other; wonderful in the bright sun of the day.

Eventually we arrived in Chania (pr Hahn-ia) where Mia tenaciously navigated towards our hotel on a crappy map but was repeatedly thwarted by one-way streets.  The hotel had neglected to inform us that their actual entrance was pedestrian access only!

After all of the hassle it was well worth the trouble as the B&B was wonderful.  It was part of the old fort and included a view of the fort courtyard, outer wall and the sea beyond it.  Fabulous – thanks mom/Irena!

We stashed our stuff, cheers-ed to our reunion and went for a walk around the boat free inner harbour shaped in a near perfect U.  The restaurants were obviously well below capacity with many completely empty.  However, we had one particular place in mind – Aroma café which was in an old Venetian building built around the late 16th century.

We sipped drinks and hungrily dug into our food. Eli’s mom ordered another Greek salad and we discussed the warning that people had given us both that 'once you have Greek salad in Greece it will never be the same in Canada’.  Sadly it’s true.

After lunch we walked around the old town relishing the festive ambience with reasonably few fellow tourists. Irena arranged a treatment at the "Dr. Fish" ‘spa’; something that none of us had done despite us seeing it in India, South East Asia and China.  After 15minutes of keeping our feet still and having the fish gently nibble our toes, soles, shins and calves we had had enough and probably satisfied our lifetime need for this treatment.

Afterward, the ladies went shopping while the boys went back to the hotel to relax.  We reconvened as a quartet for dinner at a lovely restaurant in a courtyard with walls but no substantial roof.  After an earthquake a number of years back collapsed the roof they had simply continued on without it.

Our server, Rafael, was Albanian by descent but had lived in Chania for many years.  He was a swarthy type with dark hair pulled back into a pony tail.  He gave us an overview of the menu and after moving tables, when we realized we were downwind from a tabaco testing family, we ordered a variety of appetizers for a Greek Tapas style meal.

The food was good and the wine in the Greek style, which was to Howard, Irena & Mia`s liking.  Before bringing the bill Rafael brought over a mini but ample glass pitcher of Raki.  We appreciated the gesture but were a little gun shy after the experience last night.  However we toasted with the Albanian in good spirit as he partook.  When he came back to pour our second round Howard & Eli gamely took one (Irena & Mia`s shot that is) for the team.

By then the patrons had thinned out and there remained only a few tables of Greeks.  The live musicians played a crowd favorite and most everyone got up to dance together soft taping their feet with shoulders raised and fingers snapping.  We followed the lead of the locals and revelled in the moment.

On our walk back we stopped into a café overlooking the harbour for a nightcap.  Turns out their cocktails were MASSIVE and we returned to our B&B eagerly falling into our luxurious beds.
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