Monday, September 3:  The sleeping at Barbara Studios is lovely, with a breeze billowing the curtains into the room and the chirping of birds in the courtyard.  I want to sleep in, but since I only have two days in Crete, I make myself get up and take a shower.  There is a little kitchenette in the hotel, a coffee-maker and toaster, bread and jam and orange juice in the refrigerator.  I shower, prepare the little breakfast, and think about what I will do with the day ahead.

I head out into the streets of the old Venetian-Turkish quarter of Rethymno.  The town, which used to be inhabited by the Minoans as early as the 4th century BC, began a period of growth when the Venetian conquerors of the island (who ruled from 1210-1645) decided to put a commercial stop between Heraklion and Hania (also spelled Chania).  Today’s old town, one of the best preserved in Crete, is almost entirely built by the Venetians.

A small church I pop into in my wanderings

my table from last night at Alana ~ in the light of day

The town has an aristocratic demeanor, with its narrow streets of wood-balconied houses dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, and Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains.  The Ottomans, who ruled from the end of Venetian rule until 1897, put their own flourishes on the town by adding such architectural elements as minarets.

the curvy lanes of the old quarter

a funky shop and its owner

happy in Rethymno

Today the city’s main income is from tourism. Agriculture also plays a strong role in the local economy, especially olive oil and other Mediterranean products. The town is also the base of the Philosophical School and the University Library of the University of Crete as well as the School of  Social and Political Sciences.

balconies and bicycles

I simply stroll through the streets this sunny morning, popping in and out of shops to check out the beautiful things for sale.  I’ve decided to ramble the streets of the town, taking pictures and enjoying the sights and sounds as I make my way slowly to the 16th-century Rethymno Fortress.  I stop in to buy some colorful earrings in a shop where I chat awhile with the young Greek shopkeeper, who wants to add me to Facebook after I take a photo of her and her shop.

the cute shop where I buy some earrings and have a chat with the owner

Later I also buy a couple of necklaces, which are lightweight craft pieces and not expensive at all.  Artists on the street sell beautiful watercolors and pen & ink drawings of the Greek islands, which I would love to buy but I don’t want to deal with carrying them around Greece for the next couple of weeks.  I love these kinds of wandering moments while traveling, where I pop in and out of places with no time constraints, chatting with the local shopkeepers.

I come upon an outdoor movie theater with an outdoor cafe.  It looks so inviting, but it also looks possibly like the season is over.  The movie posters stuck on the walls look torn and faded, a little worse for wear.

movie posters at the outdoor theater

the little outdoor cafe outside of the movie theater

the movie poster for Mama Mia! ~ one of my inspirations for Greece

After enjoying my stroll, I head toward the Rethymno Fortress, a remnant from Venetian days…. I pass the blue Mediterranean along the way.

the view of the Mediterranean from the road leading to Rethymno Fortress

See the slideshow below for more photos of the streets of Rethymno.

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About nomad, interrupted

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.

23 responses »

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

    one of my favorite places in Greece…

  2. adinparadise says:

    What a lovely stroll I just had, Cathy. 🙂 That Med blue is just breathtaking. Love the pics of the old quarter, and the shops. You really had fun there.

  3. The photographs are wonderful…bold colors …blues and golds. Lovely place to shop and spend some time. The little girl playing in the fountain with a headscarf on next to you is a great shot.

    • Thank you, Lynne! I loved the colors and the warm coziness of Rethymno. It was probably my favorite place in Greece. Thanks for the compliment about the photo with the little girl, not that I can really take credit for it! 🙂

  4. Marco says:

    Awesome, I especially like “Revisiting Alana”

  5. restlessjo says:

    What a beautiful post! I stayed in Rethymnon quite some time ago, but I can still picture that pretty little harbour on an evening.

  6. You pictured it beautifully, well done! 🙂

    • Thankyou Ioanna. I adored Crete. Which part of Greece are you from?

      • I live in Crete! I currently live and work in Chania, visit my parents in Heraklion and spend my summers in a small village near Sitia! So i practicly go around Crete a lot! 🙂

      • Wow! That’s so lucky for you! Because I honestly think Crete was my favorite part of Greece. I loved it. You are so lucky. I just hope you will fare well in the financial crisis. I am worried for the Greek people. I’m so happy you like my pictures and stories of Crete. But, as you live there, yours would be much better. 🙂

      • I am positive we will be all right at the end…. Trust me you are picturing Crete very beautifully! I live here so i take its beauty for granted…. I am so glad you anjoyed yourself in my island! 🙂

      • I’m glad you feel positive about the situation there, Ioanna! Thank you so much about the pictures. Isn’t it funny how we take our own homes for granted, but then we see it in a new light through a visitors’ eyes? That happened with me when Ailsa of Where’s my backpack? traveled to the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C. I’ve lived there for over 20 years and I never knew it existed. Also, I hardly have any pictures of Washington and it’s a beautiful city. I’m glad you get to see your home from a stranger’s eyes… 🙂

      • It is just the way you said it! I hardy have shots of myself in Chania! I always think about it and say i should take some before leaving but i never did! Untill a friend of mine came and i showed her around. I enjoyed it so much, felt that i were a tourist too! 😀

      • Isn’t it the greatest thing to see your own home through fresh eyes?

  7. Robin says:

    Beautiful photos. I love all the colors in Greece. I hope to go there someday. 🙂

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