Chania... Now this is how you holiday

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Constantino Apartments

Flag of Greece  , Crete,
Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our first encounter with Chania is to get completely lost in the maze of streets that is the new town (in our defense I quote sleep deprivation, park benches are not that comfy). So we have no chance whatsoever in the old town where metre wide streets wind around restored 17th Century buildings (Venetian quarter) and empty derelict buildings resembling a rubbish dump (Turkish quarter). No map of the town is even close to correct.
The fortified Venetian port is beautiful, especially set as it is upon clear sparkling blue water. The only battles it sees these days are the fierce competition between the dozens of restaurants that line the prime waterfront real estate.
We took advantage of the sunny weather to catch a bus into the mountains which make up Crete's interior, to the top of Samaria Gorge, where it was cloudy and raining. Doh. By the time we had hiked and slid our way down to the bottom of the gorge, the sun was out in full force again and we passed a few people hiking topless (men) or in bikini tops (women) - I think they might have been trying to even out the 'tan' that would put a boiled lobster to shame.
On the 16.5km hike through the gorge, we passed a number of tiny stone churches and the now abandoned town of Samaria, an oasis of green amid the red and brown cliffs. On reaching the coast the wind suddenly picked up and it looked as if the ferry (the only way out of town - roads can't go through the mountains) might be canceled. After a 5 hour wait though, the ferry lurched up to the beach, which had turned into a swirling sprinting mass of colour as a few hundred mildly panicking people converged on the only ride out of town.
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