Charming Chania

I wasn’t sure, dear readers, if I was going to be able to find much to say on vacation. But of course, there’s always something to say about a beautiful town. I’m not sure if any of you have been to Crete, but those of you who have will know what I’m talking about. After five days hanging out with my twin sister, we were able to do a bit of our own wandering about. I really do like Chania. It is one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, towns in Crete. A friend of mine who visited a couple of weeks ago would agree. She has fallen in love with the city.

While, I don’t think that I could work here within the system, as things are a little bit chaotic and disorganized, I do think that I could retire here. It is much less expensive than Amsterdam, certainly. My only concern is that I would be bored with nine or ten months of sun and heat, just as I am bored with nine or ten months of gray, rainy, cold weather in Amsterdam. To be fair, however, I am not a hot weather person. I don’t mind the heat, but I don’t like heat where the only thing you can do is lay around on the beach like a sloth. I find that very tiring.

So I figured out a compromise, I will come to Crete from January until the end of June, stay in Amsterdam from mid-June to mid-September, and then back to Crete for the rest of the year. Of course, that won’t be for a while yet. The question of my sister remains unsolved. Since I will have to take care of her at some point, always in the back of my mind looms the idea that I will have to go back to the United States. Which I don’t particularly want to do.

Anyways, back to Chania. I will attach pictures to this post for the first time ever. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to do it it’ll be an interesting technical conundrum. I do hope that it’s easy. Chania has been around forever. It has been occupied by many cultures including the Phoenicians, the Turks, and Moors. My brother-in-law has a restaurant here called “SALIS”. The name comes from an African man who moved here in the late part of the 19th century with his parents. In the Great Exchange, when Turks born in Crete and Cretans born the Ottoman Empire were sent back to their “homelands” he stayed in Chania. He was a porter, by trade and ferried people back-and-forth from the big ships just outside the harbor to the town. The story goes that he had a very good heart and would provide marriage settlements for the girls in town could not afford them. Thereby ensuring their future. The western woman looking through the lens of western culture that I am now, tends to be enraged by the practice of marriage settlement and the selling of young women. Because that’s what it is. But the writer in me is fascinated by the idea of how people got together and how they made marriage and life work. Were they all unhappy? Or was the love to be found in a situation where you probably didn’t know your spouse before the wedding at all. Maybe you met them I handful of times under the supervision of a broker or family members. I didn’t really ask my grandmother how she married my grandfather, nor have I asked my aunt their experiences, As I know for a fact those were two very painful experiences. Salis is still known and talked about by people in Chania today.

Our hotel, pictured below, which is the old British consulate back when the island was an independent country for about 14 years. The inside kind of reminds me of my grandmother’s living room, but that seems to work as modern furnishings wouldn’t work.

It’s not a very good picture but through the trees, you can see the house of the first Prime Minister of Greece. Eleftherios Venizelos is the true creator of modern Greece and the one who is responsible for the Cretan union with Greece.

The best part of walking into town from the hotel is the view. The street that we walked down is named after Venizelos. In DC, otherwise known to me as “home home”, Massachusetts Avenue is the avenue where all the embassies are. Venizelou is that street for Chania. The former Austro-Hungarian embassy, as well as many other palatial buildings,  are on that walk. It’s on the water so there is a constant breeze. Alas, it wasn’t possible to get a shot of them to show you.

The first picture shows my favorite view of the old town, and the second picture is the Venetian lighthouse. It is possible to go and walk to the lighthouse, but I have never done because I am a chicken and the walkway is the size of a ruler. I do not really relish falling into the water.

Our trip back to Amsterdam was uneventful, and we both quickly got back into the drudgery, I mean swing, of work and everyday life in Amsterdam. We came back loaded with many delicacies, including olives, cheese, carob rusks, and dried nectarines, which I love. My sister has opened a shop with her art and had the grand opening on Friday. Needless to say, we brought back a bunch of her ceramics.  Check out her amazing stuff on Instagram.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.

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