Some insight perhaps to their demise
Trip Start Jul 01, 2010
78Trip End Jun 30, 2011
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Where I stayed
After finally extricating ourselves from the chilled-out scene in Matala, we headed to Hania/Chania where we hung out for a week. Hania itself is a really nice town on the north coast. It was an ancient Minoan settlement, then an important city-state in Classical Greece, and then there was the Byzantium era which lasted until 1204. The Venetians eventually took over and ruled from the 13th century to the 17th century and much of the city's interesting look comes from buildings erected in that time.There's also an Ottoman influence because they kicked the Venetians' asses in 1645 and were in charge until the 19th century when the Greeks finally reclaimed the island as their own
We'd often be asked by shopkeepers or restaurateurs where we were from and when I said Canada their faces would light up and say, “ah, Canada! I love Canada. From where? Montreal?” Always Montreal they asked and when I said yes they'd invariably talk to me in French. I was really surprised how many people spoke at least a bit of French there. The owner of the hotel we stayed at, Constantino, was even an old Montreal boy from Park Ex. We had fun shooting the shit about the good old days in Montreal but there was no need to ponder too deeply the reasons he came back home to to Crete. Beautiful landscape,beaches, great food and culture, tres relaxed lifestyle and of course the weather...warm and beautiful pretty much most of the year.
Bank of Greece part I: An unexpected little side adventure presented itself while in Hania. We had to exchange some Euro travellers cheques and were told the best rate to be had would be at the Bank of Greece
Bank of Greece part II: We only took a small amount because we were going on a long hike in the Samaria Gorge (more on that on another post) and didn't want to be hiking with whacks of money on us. So a couple of days later we had to go back to the bank to exchange the rest of our traveller's cheques. No problem with the math this time but a pretty incredible thing happened nonetheless. We're waiting at the counter while the girl (thankfully buddy`s not working that day) is completing part one of the process (calling for verification,checking signature, etc,) and in walks a guard with a suitcase full of money. Before continuing let me give a quick description of this bank. It is rectangular in shape and after passing through the cone of security, you immediately enter into the smallish, main room where there are two long counters on either side behind where many employees are sitting, engaged in various bank-like tasks, trying to look busy. The counters are chest height and there's no glass or separation of any sort aside from the counter itself. The back part has some metal bars with openings where the tellers saunter up to when the mood strikes them. Hopefully this coincides with when you`re there trying to get money. In the middle of the room sits a large wooden table which is perhaps one of the few items we've seen in Crete that is not made of olive wood. There are only two chairs around this table that could easily fit 8 and these are the only chairs for customers to sit on in the whole bank. Chisa is seated (not sleeping by the way) on one of these precious chairs as I watch the girl do her thing behind the counter
Fyi, here's some important information regarding the Bank of Greece and it's taken straight from their website, "The Bank of Greece is the central bank of the country. It was established in 1927 by an Annex to the Geneva Protocol and started operations in May 1928..." "It has a nationwide network of 18 branches, 38 agencies and 8 outlets." "The Bank of Greece is responsible for implementing the Euro system’s monetary policy in Greece and safeguarding the stability of the Greek financial system" hmmmm, veddddy interesting....