Groovy in Greece – Chania and Rethymno

Today I have booked another day trip, this time heading to the western part of Crete. I grab my on-the-go breakfast again at the bakery stand next to the hotel and walk over to my pickup spot. I prebooked with Get Your Guide, but if you want to book local, I believe the company is Cretan Odyssey. In the transfer car I meet James and Paula, a couple from Australia. We start chatting so yay, some friendly people on this day trip! I sit with them on the big bus and we drive for a few hours to Chania (pronounced Han-Ya).

It is the former capital of Crete, and has a rich archaeological history as well as modern influence from many different cultures. We are given a basic map, and sent off to explore this charming medieval town. We walk into the old town, located along the harbour and rich with Venetian and Turkish architecture.

It’s bustling with people, with horse drawn carriages lined up ready to go.

We walk past the Kucuk Hasan Pasha Mosque,

past a row of small restaurants and cafes, and loop around to the Firkas Fortress.

We go inside the fortress to look around because it’s free and the views of the Venetian harbour from here are pretty cool.

The lighthouse

I split off from Paula and James because I want to sit, have a drink and people watch in the old harbour. We don’t have much time here to do a full explore, getting lost in the narrow streets. I choose a place called Lithos, and order Greek salad and an Aperol Spritz.

Here are a few cool shots from around the Old Town

We meet back at the bus and now it’s a short drive to our lunch/swim stop at the beautiful Lake Kournas.

It is the only freshwater lake on the island, and lies in a valley among the hills.

We sit to have lunch at a local taverna overlooking the lake.

I’m not super hungry, so James and Paula order food and let me try a few things. Most notably the regional dolomades…stuffed zucchini flowers. So good!

There are tons of geese that hang out around this lake; they’re noisy but cute.

But not super friendly…..we finish lunch and head down to the water and I try to get closer for some pics of them but they only like you if you have food. Haha.

I didn’t realize we’d be swimming today so I don’t have my swimsuit with me; I roll up my shorts as high as they’ll go and wade into the lake. The water is crystal clear.

There are a couple of older men trying to get up onto a paddleboard, and it’s like a comedy skit. Everyone around the lake is watching and laughing and it’s awesome.

The last stop of the day is the town of Rethymno; we spend most of our time in the Venetian Harbor and walking around the oldtown.

But first we take a walk out along the harbour wall over to the lighthouse to have a look.

It was built by the Egyptians after the Turks left Rethymno. It’s soooo hot again today so I’m anxious to find a bit of shade.

We wander through the cobbled alleyways, looking in a few shops and ultimately stopping for a gelato.

Too big for me!

We find this cool church

and pass through the Porto Guora, the grand entryway to the old town that was a gate from a Venetian fort built in the 16th century.

If we had more time here, it would have been cool to check out the Fortezza, a castle on a hill overlooking the town.

Now it’s time to take the bus back to Heraklion. James and Paula have a bit further to go but they want stay in town for a bite to eat so we find a cute restaurant and sit outside in the busy alleyway in the middle of all the action. I’m still not super hungry and nothing on the menu is calling to me, so I order a glass of wine. We part ways after dinner, and I’m so glad I met these two today…made my time so much more fun! I head back to the hotel and not long after I realize I am kind of hungry so I pop over to a busy souvlaki place called Chop Chop, and grab a very yummy chicken souvlaki in a pita and scarf that down before I crash for the night…….

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