A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Island of Crete

After a week on Crete, we are finally starting to feel a little relaxed. In hilly Agia Pelagia we enjoyed a simple and friendly town with a relatively private beach. In Rethemynos and Chania we spent time in coastal towns, a bit more developed and touristy but spent time exploring their narrow streets and venetian ports.

Not enjoying the touts so much trying to reel us in for dinners as we stroll down the waterfronts, especially as our pricy rooms leave little left to eat with, and I’ve been making most of our food out of our kitchenette. It’s pretty hard to keep walking past the smell of all the greek specialties night after night, but I keep reminding myself that all these people have to go back to work in two weeks. Besides we could always downgrade our room for more money for food but are really enjoying our private little pensions, most with two burners, fridge, tub, and air conditioning.

We did eat a proper dinner in Rethymnos, although our growling stomachs from skipping lunch made us weak and we were lured into a tourist trap, but still thankfully wolfed down the greek salad, tzatziki, and moussaka. As Ron pointed out, “It’s not as good as Myconos (a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Polk St in SF).“ So true, we were truly spoiled with the food in San Francisco. It did come with a dessert (if anyone knows of it?) that had polenta consistency but tasted like frosted shred of wheat cereal, which we both quite liked.

The next night we went to one of the only waterfront restaurants that was recommended and frequented by the locals called Samaria and enjoyed their mixed grill and our first taste of raki. They call it greek fire water and it reminds me a bit like a tequila. It was on the house with a giant bowl of cherries. Sitting outside on a warm night listening to the waves rolling softly on the beach was pure relaxation. Funny, but the best food we have had in our week in Greece has been a gyro at a tiny unmemorable shop in Agia Pelagio. Stuffed with pork, tzatziki, paprika, and a bunch of fries it was huge, simply scrumptious and maybe $3.

In Rethymnos we stayed in a funky little place called Olga’s Pension that was run by a joyous and jovial greek man named George. He was quite the character with all the local store owners and colored our experience of the town in a much brighter color. There was also a hotel cat that slept on the reception desk and gallivanted around the rooftop garden that let us give him effusive attention and made us dearly miss our kitties back home!

In Hania (or Xania or Chania, take your pick) we got a huge studio at place called Vranas for a rock bottom price and spent time lounging on the red leather sofa, reveling in the 10 o’clock movies every night, the first english language tv we’ve seen since we left. And eating out on the balcony overlooking a little square filled with restaurants, that felt like our own private taverna. And here is also where we made the discovery of frappe, a delicious sugary sweet iced coffee, that is our new favorite morning-time treat.


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