Chillin’ in Chania

A few days in Chania wasn’t nearly long enough.

Chania from above

This was the view from the balcony of my £11 a night apartment.

Chania, Crete

It was hard to tear myself away, but I had to because Chania is far too lovely a place to miss seeing properly.

When we drove into Chania late at night, I was a little disappointed. I’d loved Paleochora so much and Chania seemed modern and busy in comparison.

We checked into our 3rd floor apartment with a balcony and sea view, but couldn’t see much in the dark. I took this photo which showed a lot more than I could see with the naked eye and was surprised to see it look quite promising.

Chania harbour in the dark

The next morning I awoke to the amazing view above. Standing on my balcony with a coffee and looking to the left I could see the snow-capped mountains.

White Mountains

Sandy beaches snaked along the left side of the harbour. This was Nea Chora or ‘New Harbour’.

Beach, ChaniaNea Chora, Chania Nea Chora, Chania

The views at sunset were pretty good too.

Sunset over Nea Chora, ChaniaA short walk led along the seafront to the Venetian Harbour, so called because it was built by the Venetians in the 1300s. It’s lined with restaurants and tavernas, an old fort, a lighthouse, a mosque that was being renovated and the maritime museum. Tantalising glimpses of the distant, appropriately named, White Mountains drew the eye just as much as the harbour did.

Venetian Harbour, Chania

Venetian Harbour, Chania Venetian Harbour, Chania Ventian Harbour, Chania, from the fort Venetian Harbour, Chania Venetian Harbour, Chania Venetian Harbour, Chania White Mountains, Chania Mosque, Venetian Harbour, Chania Mosque, Venetian Harbour, Chania Man renovating mosque, Venetian Harbour, Chania

A morning visit to the Maritime Museum gave me a good overview of the history of the area. Whilst there I discovered a room with three elderly men working on a model ship. The level of detail was phenomenal. They told me it was a hobby and each ship could take several years to make.

Replica boat building Replica boat building

Another museum I tried to go to was the Greek National Football Museum. It was started by a local fan, hence it being in Chania rather than Athens. Unfortunately, each time I passed it was closed, so I never made it inside.

Greek National Football Museum

I drank thick coffee and shots of raki in the tavernas and celebrated a friend’s birthday with one of my best ever meals at the To Stachi vegetarian restaurant.

Restaurants, Venetian Harbour, Chania Restaurant, Venetian Harbour, Chania

Taverna, Chania Street full of tavernas Coffee and retsina

Exploring the narrow, winding backstreets behind the harbour I found a synagogue. The Jewish population had dwindled over the years so by the time of the Nazi occupation there were only about 300 Jews left. In May 1944 they were imprisoned and then put on a ship heading to Piraeus. The ship was torpedoed by a British submarine killing all onboard.

Narrow street, Chania Narrow street, old chania Old Chania street Birdcage, old Chania

The synagogue fell into disrepair until the late 1990s when it was placed on a list of endangered monuments of cultural importance. Money was raised and the synagogue reopened in 1999 following renovations.

Synagogue, ChaniaMany buildings were covered in graffiti which I put down to mindless vandalism. Later, someone translated it for me and I realised this wasn’t ‘I woz ‘ere’ or ‘Shaz luvs Wayne’ type graffiti, but rather political slogans. I saw it in a new light, and although I still thought it spoilt the buildings, was impressed by how politically engaged people seemed to be.

Graffiti

On my final afternoon, I discovered the market. Called the Agora (meeting place) it was filled with goodies like olives, cheeses, Cretan knives and mountain tea.

Chania marketThe following morning, I drank in the views from my balcony for the last time. I may have arrived feeling disappointed, but it was nothing to the disappointment I felt at leaving.

Nea Chora, Chania

Author: Anne

Join me in my journey to live a life less boring, one challenge at a time. Author of the forthcoming book 'Walking the Kungsleden: One Woman's Solo Wander Through the Swedish Arctic'.

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