Yassas Greece! Days 1 & 2

Yassas is Greek for hello, and one of the first Greek words we learned upon arrival in Crete.  A proper hello seems appropriate after a few weeks of neglecting the blog!

After getting so close to catching up, we spent the last few weeks consumed with the process of trying to find a new flat.  We absolutely love our place: our neighbours, our local pub, our private garden space, how we back onto the park. We love it all.  Except the mould. That’s not so lovable, and it made me really sick last year.  So, off we went in search of a new home, and now I’m finally thinking back to our trip to Greece.

Whether you know me personally or just through the blog, you’ll probably know that I’m an adventure seeker.  On vacations, I pack the days with new sights, adventures, and experiences.  This time, T and I made a deal.  Our goal of the weeklong getaway to Greece was expressly for relaxing.

Day 1

We arrived at the airport and waited a bit to see if the car rental places would open.  We met a couple from Poland who are living in London and they asked us if we wanted to share a taxi into old Chania. Who can resist saving money, right?  The four of us got dropped of in Chania Harbour, and most places were still closed as it was only about 7 am.  One harbour restaurant was open, so we had breakfast there.  I ordered a greek omelette, which was surprisingly different from the North American version.  Served flat, almost like a crepe, its texture was unexpected but the flavour was nice.  Over early morning beer, we enjoyed great conversation with our new friends, watching kittens wander around the restaurant, and laughed at the casual nature of servers here: sitting at nearby tables with a drink and a cigarette until they were needed.  Their laid-back approach set the tone for our entire vacation.

This is where we learned that almost EVERY meal in Greece, regardless of the time of day, ends with a small complimentary dessert and a bottle of Raki (a very strong, unsweetened, clear alcohol that typically smells like nail polish; also known as Tsikoudia).  At the time, we just thought the server was being super nice!

We decided to take advantage of the quiet, cool morning and we walked along the harbour for a while.  As we walked away from the water toward the city, we were struck by the juxtaposition of graffiti-covered buildings falling into ruin, beside quaint restaurants with vine-shaded patios. 

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Eventually, we made our way to the park to meet up with the hotel shuttle.  We settled in, and tested the bed with a very long nap.  Rested and refreshed, we went up to the hotel restaurant for our first proper Greek meal.  I had the Pastitsio: a Greek lasagne noodle dish that was to die for and that I could have eaten every day (don’t bother trying to find a comparable recipe online; trust me, I’ve tried… you’ll just have to go there!).

Day 2

We awoke to perfect blue skies and a stunning view from our hotel room.  We began our day with the included hotel breakfast, which had a decent range of options including eggs, bacon, sausages, fresh orange juice… a pretty typical continental with a Greek twist.  We napped. We lay out by the pool for a while. 

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Around 5, we finally left the hotel and took in the markets in the harbour again.  There is just such a great vibe there. Cats could be found sleeping at every turn, and while most shops had the typical fare that we’d see everywhere, the odd little shop had locally made pottery and beautiful embroidered fabrics.  We watched one older woman weaving a delicate blue floral pattern into a table runner, working on an antique Singer sewing machine that she told us had belonged to her mother.  

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The markets run along the harbour, so we walked down to the water in time to watch the sunset and to then take in the shimmering reflections on the harbour as the city’s nightlife came alive.  We enjoyed the sunset as we walked along the harbour, and day 2 came to a peaceful close.

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