I guess I should explain the title of this trip report. In late 2018 and early 2019 my wife (Lollypeter) and I were both diagnosed with life threatening illnesses. After surgery we are both fully recovered and were able to return to Greece in September where we celebrated our new healthy lives.
It’s a long trip from Vancouver Island to Athens. We had a rather circuitous route. Nanaimo to Toronto, a 4 hour delay then our flight to Warsaw. Finally, a late night Aegean flight to Athens. We arrived at Peris hotel exactly29 hours after we left home.
Next morning we took the early flight to Chania, Crete. Chania captured our hearts many years ago and we return time and time again. The initial excitement of wandering the old city back alleys and the Venetian harbour creates the illusion that we have stepped back in time. That initial experience has never changed for us and Chania remains our favourite city in Greece.
We stayed at Natalie’s Rooms/ Pension Nora. It is under new management but the charming two story 400 year old Cretan house still oozes charm.
We spent our time in Chania getting over jet lag, wandering the old town area and taking long walks.
We found a street market which had a couple hundred stalls, selling fruit and vegetables, olives, olive oil, cheese, homemade wine and of course raki in liter and a half plastic bottles.
Raki is produced from all the grapes and pulp left over from wine making. This is distilled and produces a rough alcohol drink. It has taken us 20 years to learn to appreciate Raki and we can drink a shot without a trace of a shudder or a grimace. One of the most pleasant recipes for raki is to add honey, cinnamon, cloves. (That’s called carnation when translated from Greek. It took us a half hour in different spice shops before a clerk figured out what we were looking for.) It takes a few days steeping the ingredients in the raki but the end result was wonderful honey brown liquor which we enjoyed throughout the trip.
Our 4th and last day in Chania proved to be a highlight. We walked to the KTEL bus station to try and find a way to get to Falasarna or Agia Triadia, however, my wife stopped at a small booth at the entrance to the bus station and asked the lady about what she was selling. This is a new tour company called Smart Tours. They offer several different half day tours including a wine and oil tour, Akrotiri including Agia Triada Monestary, and Theriso Gorge. This day they were running the Wine and Oil tour. It promises to be” off the beaten path to places the locals love.” This turned out to be the best tour we have ever taken. The bus only holds 12 so the group was small. We visited an old bridge and witnessed the results of the flooding in the spring. The next stop was the German War Cemetery. It was sobering, particularly when we read the ages of most of the soldiers who were just teenagers.
Next stop was a the Odigitria Monestary in Kissamos, then into the mountains to visit the olive grove at Vouves where one of the oldest olive trees in the world still produces olives. This is the tree where a twig is taken to be awarded to the winner of the Olympic marathon.
Our next stop was at the village of Anoskeli where we visited a modern olive oil operation and winery. Included was an olive oil tasting with small snacks plus a wine tasting of 5 different wines. This was the most generous pour we have ever seen in a wine tasting. Oh yes, the lady Nicole we met at the bus station not only promotes the tours but was also the tour guide and driver. She was quite responsible and partook in the oil tasting but not the wine.
This is a long report and I have run out of space. I will continue on another post.