Seeing Crete with the Locals

Trip Start Apr 04, 2011
Trip End Jun 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Marya's Apartment

Flag of Greece  , Crete,
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday was spent exploring and enjoying the older part of Rethymno. We lounged on the beach and spent some time in the extraordinarily clear and warm water of the Cretan Sea. Since we had a little more sleep than the night before we were able to enjoy dinner at the same time as the locals and had a great meal sitting outside in the warm evening air. The next morning we packed up and got ready to move on a little farther West. A short bus ride from Rethymno brought us to the western city of Chania (pronounced hon-iya) where we are having a truly Greek experience. We are staying with a Greek girl named Marya, who we met while traveling here in Crete. She invited us to share her apartment here in Chania, and she has been showing us around town to some of her favorite places. She took us for lunch at a local café where we had our first moussaka, a truly Greek dish. We also shared shots of raki as a digestif, this local alcohol is always provided along with a dessert when you ask for the check. Moussaka is a casserole like dish made with eggplant, meat sauce, cheese and topped with a béchamel. It was delicious and went well with the other Greek dishes we chose which Marya helped us order. After lunch we spent time walking around the old part of town where she showed us some of her favorite sites along the harbor and within the winding streets that lead up from the water. Marya left us in the early evening to study with some of her classmates since she is about to start a month of Finals testing to complete her degree as an Industrial Engineer.  When she was finished we got ready go out and made our way back through the winding streets of Old Town where we met up with a German friend of hers, Daniel, who has been living in Crete while working at the University. We had many options to choose from as there are countless Cafes along the harbor where people of all ages were out enjoying the warm weather while sipping their glasses of Raki or Ouzo. Marya was determined that we try Ouzo since we had not yet and took us to one of her favorite places which was just up from the more touristy spots along the water. Ouzo is an interesting drink and very similar to the popular Pastis which was the local drink in France. It's anise (black licorice) flavored and clear when in the bottle but becomes milky in color when poured over ice or mixed with water. We had fun sitting under the terrace covered in flowers while talking and laughing. There were moments when the differences in language would become evident and having two Americans, a Greek girl and a German boy talking about something as simple as the ingredients to a local dish would end in fits of laughter after we finally got everyone on the same page. Marya has been a great hostess and we had a fantastic welcome to Chania!
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