The Venetian Fort overlooking Chania's outer harbor. Chania, Crete's Venetian quarter, was the perfect place to stay. For centuries this tiny harbor port area has been fought over and controlled by Minoans, Mycaneans, Romans, Byzantinnes, Ventians, Genoese, Turks and Egyptians.
The Plateia square in Chania commemorates a rebellion against the occupying Turks, during which an Orthodox bishop was hanged. I felt the eeriness of the square even before I knew its history.
I finally made it inside a Greek Orthodox church. Make a note of this "First Time for Me" Internet: I have no words.
The weather was just right for exploring by car or by foot. The famous Samaria Gorge was closed from hiking but we managed to find plenty of beautiful spots to walk and hike.
Such as this cave, the Agia Sophia (translates "Wisdom of God") cave. We hiked up a steep hillside just 20 minutes to reach the entrance. To get a sense for the size, this photo was taken from well inside (but not the deepest part) of the cave. You can barely make out Mr. Wild Dingo standing just left of center. It was creepy and wonderful at the same time.
Legend has it that a miraculous icon of Saint Sophia fled from Constantinople and "took refuge" in the cave. Remains from neolithic and Minoan times, such as clay shards, are found all over the cave. A section of the cave is actually a small chapel, likely placed in the cave to exorcise the spirits of the ancient goddesses once worshipped here.
We like Rethymnon enough to visit it twice. It was my second choice for a city to stay in. I wanted badly to eat at a famous fusion restaurant, Avli, but it was closed.
So we went back another day. We chatted with a local souvenir store owner who was tickled to find a couple of American ex-pats, living in Switzerland and visiting Crete during the low tourism season. He referred us to this hip happening place above, the Living Room, where you could get coffee, tea or an adult beverage. We had a few drinks, enjoyed the music and waited for Avli to open.
And of course the views in Reythmnon were stunning.
We were the only ones in Avli which meant we had superior service. The food was outstanding and well worth the wait.