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Chania, Crete

June 29, 2007

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Chania, Xania, Hania are all names for the old capital in Crete with its  charming, softly hued Venetian buildings, lovely harbor and idyllic beaches. We got a cute room with lovely sea views and terrace in a quiet section of the old town on attractive Theotokopoulou street, close to everything. It was called Nora’s Pension and only thirty euros per night.

There is a lively woman from Scotland who owns and runs it and I found out about it from “stanbr” (from Fodor’s Greek forum) who had stayed there recently. It is in a lovely, quiet area that several people suggested and this sprightly blonde  had converted this ancient house into an eight room pension. She and her Greek boyfriend also owned a little cafe next door where we enjoyed a tasty alfresco breakfast.

We lugged our bags up the blue spiral staircase to the top and immediately turned on the air conditioning as we were experiencing another heat wave. I later read that over a hundred people in this part of the world died because of the heat as temperatures were well over a hundred degrees fahrenheit. I don’t like or do well in excessive heat and the entire area we would be traveling was affected, but I hoped that we would manage by having air conditioning and pools in most places and doing part of our travels by boat.

I had expected to be out of this hot area by May or early June at the latest, but alas we just fell in love with the Greek Islands and could not pull ourselves away. It is probably hot just about every where at this time of year and at least we appreciate Mediterranean best because there is not the humidity of other areas and usually cool breezes at night. The good news about traveling on whims is it is all good and one seems to always be where one needs to be.

After we rested some in the cool room and caught up a little on our sleep during the hottest part of the day, we were more than ready to start exploring this quaint old town after watching the sunset from our room. It is the kind of town where there are endless adorable nooks and crannies and the people are very friendly. We were pleasantly surprised that it was not that crowded as we were traveling so close to high season.

We had dinner at the recommended Taman, but I was not that thrilled with what I got. DaVinci got some wonderful cheezy peppers and Mozart was happy with her often ordered Spaghetti. People seem to come out of the woodwork and it gets quite lively at night at all the outdoor eateries in a typical European way.

We had a shared kitchen and a refrigerator in our room so we picked up some snacks for the next day and made a friend with the local shop owner over his fresh vegetables and fruits. There are horse and carriages around that add color altho I feel sorry for the horses, hat and all. The harbor is enchanting at night all lit up and reflecting in the water so we walked around enjoying the ambiance.

The next day we came across a stand that has those funny little colorful string things that kids like in their hair, so of course Mozart had to do that. She has been wanting it for a while as we see them on other kids from time to time, so I had promised that she would get one the very next time we saw them. She was pleased as punch to be sprouting her own little pink tail.

We all enjoyed our relaxing stay in Chania and are very grateful that we did not miss it and at least got a taste of Crete. There are lots of large chain “holiday” hotels along beaches on the other side of the island (where most tourists go) but we were more than happy to miss that as it is not really our style. We did not even care for the new town of Chania which was typical modern European blight without any charm, but the old town was a joy to explore and experience.

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crete

Chania is most the most atmospheric city in Crete. Next time you have to explore inland of Chania prefecture as well wonderful beaches around.

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