Hot Time in the Old Town
Posted by Exile on June 8, 2008
We didn’t exactly get off to a flying start with our holiday. The aircraft was delayed by 9 hours. The airline rang us in the morning as we were about to leave for the airport. Three hour delay, they said, no biggie. Then it was five… finally, after waiting in a deserted airport late in the evening when everything was closed including the bar, we got into the now repaired aircraft and left for Crete. We were offered no compensation, no free drinks.. nada. And even worse, no information during the wait. Just suck it up people. We arrived at our hotel in Chania at four thirty in the morning and had to get the taxi driver to ring the hotel owner to let us in. The airline was delayed again on the way home.. but that’s another story. I’ll never fly with Sterling again. And they owe me for one night in a hotel.
Getting in late meant getting up late. We slept long into the morning. The room was great but the bed was long overdue for a new mattress. I awoke bathed in sweat and lying in what felt like a seething bog as I had sweated through everything including the awful foam rubber pillow. Totally dehydrated, I grabbed at a bottle of luke warm water and guzzled it down. Staggering across the little bedroom, I threw open the balcony doors to get some fresh air and was surprised to find that the air outside was even hotter. I ran screaming to the shower, turned on the cold water and sat down in the cubicle. All this woke my wife and so began our first day on the island. Man, it was HOT.
Our room looked out over the venetian harbour in the middle of the old fortified town of Chania. A lovely place to visit with a maze of small alleys and streets bustling with tourists and every kind of shop from butcher to souvenir and countless cafés and taverns. The harbour front is totally made up of restaurants and bars but one building stood out from all the rest. A mosque. Built during the Turkish occupation of Crete, it still stands on the eastern side of the harbour front.
Knowing the Cretan disaffection with the muslim, I had to investigate. The building had obviously been damaged or destroyed on one side and had been repaired without its former “glory”. At least two of the small domes that otherwise decorated it were missing. The central dome was intact and still forms the greater part of the structure. It is now an art gallery and one section of the building houses the local police and tourist offices. An odd addition to the old city.
We spent four days in Chania. We ate at local “tavernas” in the afternoon, taking the traditional Greek salad lunches and wandered through the streets and round the harbour, shopping and sightseeing at the same time. Long evenings on the harbour front, eating and drinking the best we could find, we enjoyed the cool evening breeze that came in gently from the Aegean sea. The Cretans are a friendly lot and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here. Almost reluctantly, we packed our bags, picked up our rented jeep and headed off to the east, to Rethymnon.
But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to read about that.