Monday, September 3:  After lunch in Rethymno, I drive west 60km (about 50 minutes) to Hania (also spelled Chania).  Panos at Barbara Studios was raving about it this morning and suggested I should go see the town while in Crete.  Of course, since I only have 2 days here, I figure I may as well go today, so I can explore other parts of the island tomorrow.

alongside the old town of Hania

I love driving my zippy little rental car, and I cruise along with the windows open.  More rolling hills and the happy blue Mediterranean lie to my right as I drive westward.  I find what I think is the old Venetian quarter and nab a parking spot right on the coastal road along the Sea of Crete.  I don’t have any particular sights to see here; I figure I will just wander and see whatever there is to see.

my little car parked by the Sea of Crete in Hania

I walk along the harbor, passing by some colorful waterfront cafes.  I have already decided that when I return to Rethymno, I will go to a particular cafe for a Mythos beer, after which I will shower, relax and go out for a late dinner.  So I don’t stop at these cute cafes.

a cafe run by a dog 🙂

I wander into the harbor with its marina.  I adore marinas, and I especially love old fishing boats with character.

a boat in the harbor at Hania

a fishing boat with character

I come across the Church of Agios Nikolaos, which was built as part of the Dominican Monastery of St. Nicholas in 1320. During the Turkish occupation (1665-1898) it was used as barracks for Turkish troops before it was turned into a mosque. The unusual two-floor minaret, with two balconies, was added to the northwest corner. The mosque, known as the Hioughar Tzamissi or the Sovereign’s Mosque, was the most important in the city. Hania was the first area to be taken by the Ottomans and the sword of Turk Darvish, who was first to enter the city, was kept there. A 1944 earthquake threatened the minaret.

Church of Agios Nikolaos with its Turkish minaret

the Church of Agios Nikolaos

I wander through narrow little lanes with Venetian and Turkish architecture and fairly nice open air cafes.  I walk through quiet residential lanes with beautiful doors and potted plants and old-fashioned bicycles in front.

a solitary woman on a motorbike sending text messages in Hania

I walk a circuit around the town and make a stop at a little cafe in front of the Church of Agios Nikolaos, where I have a cool fresh-squeezed orange juice.

a little cafe for refreshment

fresh-squeezed orange juice

I’m thinking as I’m walking about that the town really looks a little shabby, not nearly as nice as Rethymno.  I start to think I should have just stayed in my little town.  It is only later, after I’ve left Hania and returned to Rethymno, that I realize it’s no wonder I found the town shabby.  I was in the wrong area of the old town.

I said in an earlier post that I have a Type A personality. Obviously that is failing me miserably here in Crete.  The problem is that I didn’t do my homework.  If I had simply looked at the map of Hania in my Lonely Planet Greece, I would have easily figured out that the right place to be is on the west side of the Venetian port and the marina, not directly south, as I am.

a little kitten in a basket

I still enjoy myself, despite the heat and being a little disappointed.  I’m not overly impressed with the commercial area.  The nicest part is strolling through the residential streets in quiet and solitude.  Once I escape the commercial area, I find the neighborhoods charming and peaceful.  There is no point in dwelling on how I missed Firkas Fortress or the truly atmospheric part of town.  I missed it and that is that.

charming little home in Hania

My philosophy of travel is changing all the time.  I used to create a checklist and would beat myself up trying to see everything on that list.  I have loosened up a lot as the years have gone by.  Now, I figure I see what I see, and then forget the rest.  What else can I do with limited time and resources?

a beautiful little home in Hania

Here, in a slideshow, is what I DO see.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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About catbird in japan

As of July 15, 2015, I'm now taking a break from living abroad. I'm living in Oakton, Virginia and looking for my next opportunity. Last year, I lived in China and taught English at Sino-Canadian International College. I also taught at a university in Nizwa, Oman for two years, and in Korea's public schools for one year. I love to travel and have been to 24 countries.

14 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on a nomad in the land of nizwa and commented:

    an afternoon trip to Hania, Crete

  2. Carol says:

    Shabby possibly, but I don’t see that in the photos. I see things that are different than at home, whether we talk my home or your home in Virginia or in Oman or in Seoul, or . . . wherever else your home may be. I tend to spend time uselessly regretting what I’ve missed, whhich shows that you are smarter (or a more experienced traveler, of which I am certain) than I.

  3. It may have been the wrong part of the island, but the photos are lovely anyway. There’s charm and there’s charm and you still captured some of it.

  4. Marco says:

    I love the colous and of course the kitten in the basket, ha ha. She looks like a critter we had at the office a year or so back.

    • I’m glad you checked out my post, Marco, because I had you in mind when I posted the picture of the kitty!! I knew you would love him. Even I loved him, and I’m not even a fan of cats!! 🙂

      • Marco says:

        Thank you, CB – I really appreciate it. (I’m trying to catch up though, all posts will be read in due course!) and you have to be real bad not to like a kitten. So did you have it made into gloves or a bag?

      • Haha, Marco, I didn’t say I didn’t like a kitten. I said I’m not fond of cats. When you cannot even breathe in their company, though, that makes a person desperate to avoid them. My husband had 3 when I first met him and I thought we were doomed. I figured it had to be them or me. Luckily I wasn’t allergic to his (for some bizarre reason!), but I found I didn’t like them. They were headstrong, not at all affectionate, and all over the furniture and kitchen counter-tops, and places they shouldn’t be. They have no concept of “personal space!” I found that really annoying….

      • Marco says:

        LOL so you prefer your cats made into a winter coat? Are you that allergic to them that they affect your breathing? That makes it very trying indeed! v

      • Yes, between the itchy eyes and my throat closing up, it’s difficult to enjoy being in their company! Add the personalities, and I’d rather just stay away…. 🙂

      • Marco says:

        *sniffs a kitty armpit* aaaaah that’s good stuff!

  5. adinparadise says:

    I love all of your photos taken in the “shabby” part of town. 🙂 The one of the boat, and also of the narrow lane, are stunning. and as for the cute kitty, I would want to kidnap it and buy it a more comfortable basket to sun itself in. 🙂

    • Thank you, Sylvia. Though I mention the “shabbiness,” of course I didn’t take any photos of anything shabby. But actually, these are some of my favorite pictures from Crete. That little kitty was adorable, and I’m not even a cat fan!!

  6. Lovely Shots! I can’t believe i stumbled upon my home! 😀

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