We thought another trip to the beach was in order as we neared the end of our trip. We decided to stick with Neo Chora as it was so beautiful there. We felt the heat a bit more today, so we started off our beach visit with a snack at the beach hut. We’d just settled on the beach; settling onto the sand and T was putting his toes in the water. Suddenly I hear yelling and splashing and T is running to help a few other men who were struggling to carry an older gentleman out of the water. I won’t dredge up the details; but needless to say it was a terrifying experience. We put my towel under his head while we all waited for an ambulance, so of course I wasn’t arguing when the paramedics picked up both him and my towel and ran off. It wasn’t until after the shock that I realized it was Jessica’s pink towel they had taken. I was quite proud of myself for not getting upset about it: after all, it helped a man in need and it’s only a towel. My memories don’t disappear along with it, right? No longer in a beach mood, we walked back to Chania and had a quick dinner at Kariatis.
The short version is that the pasta was bland but not memorable, there wasn’t much of a harbour view, and they were out of about 3 of the things we asked for. On the upside: the servers were attentive, and instead of serving Raki, they served a very sweet homemade wine which was a nice end to the meal. After eating, we were quite ready to unwind and have a quiet night in at the hotel. We were able to call the hospital and find out that the man was still alive, and in the ICU. That was all we needed to hear; it was time for bed.
After a quiet morning, we wanted to make the most of our last day. After yesterday, we weren’t really in the mood for the beach, so we thought we’d start with lunch. We asked our driver for a recommendation for one thing T was really wanting and hadn’t had yet: a proper Greek gyro (pronounced like hero in Greek). If there’s one piece of travel advice I could offer, almost a year into this adventure, it’s this: trust the locals! If you want the best food, the authentic experiences, then ask the people who live there. As much as I love TripAdvisor (and you know I do!), I also know it’s often missing the small, family places that offer genuine local experiences.
So- we found ourselves at Patridogeysia on Pithagora Street. Why I loved it: great food, local vibe, well-staffed to deal with the bustle, AND a traveler plus: great prices! With kebab and other sandwiches at 4 euros and below, most non-alcoholic beverages around 2 euros, and lots of combos, 2 people can have a filling lunch with a drink for less than 10 euros.
We walked through the city after lunch, and found ourselves in a beautiful park with a small zoo. It was full of vibrant flowers, and a couple of peacocks who were caught up in spring fever! We watched them puff up and shake for the ladies.
From there, we wandered aimlessly for a while. We found ourselves on a street that headed in the direction of the water. Empty boxes, rubbish, and discarded fruit and vegetables suggested a morning market that we had missed, and we passed more dilapidated buildings before finding ourselves at a part of the ancient wall that we hadn’t seen yet. The juxtaposition of ruin and beauty is so interesting in this city. There is graffiti everywhere and yet the beaches are clean and the water is like glass.
Another part of the Venetian wall. Fortifications were built in response to the threat from the Ottoman empire. They weren’t messing around. 6 km of wall was built, more than 20 meters in height – and that elegant angle isn’t for aesthetics: it was designed so that cannonballs would ricochet off of it. I don’t normally do this, but here is a wikipedia (gasp! I know!) link if you want more info about the wall system. I found a few other sites but none that spoke to me. Feel free to share ideas and I’ll happily update 🙂There were SO many schools of tiny fish everywhere we looked today! We followed the water along to the old harbour; and walked along the Venetian wall. Anyone know what this is? The stalls look an awful lot like urinals, even with holes opening to the sea below…
Eventually, we decided to peruse the menus at several of the harbour restaurants before settling on Lithos. We weren’t super hungry, so we we decided to order an appetizer, an entree and a dessert and share them all. The meat was so tender, the drinks were refreshing, but what really made it an experience was the dessert. No kidding, it was the best baklava of my life! It was sweet and crisp and full of flavour. I wanted to order a few to go. Mmmm.. I’m hungry now as I think about it!!
We got back to the hotel and made a quick call to the hospital to check on the man from the beach. He’d been moved from the ICU which was good news. Then we went up to the bar to say our goodbyes since we were leaving so early in the morning for the airport. Well- a ‘quick goodbye’ turned into ‘let’s have some drinks and hang out at the bar’ which turned into all the drinks! It was a fun last night and we’ll leave it at that 😉
At 6 am the next morning, we had a taxi waiting to take us to our very early flight. It was also the day the Samaria Gorge trail was to open for the season. We missed this well-known hiking trail by one day! Oh well, just one more reason to go back (not that we need it).
In summary… go to Greece, ask the locals where to eat, enjoy the beaches, bring sunscreen, and stay away from the raki! You can’t go wrong.