Livas through Chania

October 1, 2011

I just returned to Belgrade this morning after three hours of sleep and a weekend on Crete, in Chania, to be specific.

A childhood friend of mine was going to be doing some island hopping alone for a month and convinced me to come down for a few days. I was able to make it happen thanks to a few properly-timed flights and non-striking Greek workforce. I flew via Athens and showed up late afternoon on Wednesday. I made my way into town and met up with Paul and his newfound lady interest, a native of Greece named Anastasia he had met several weeks earlier and continued traveling with in a flood of romantic optimism. We had a fantastic dinner lasting until the wee hours of the morning at a little restaurant tucked away in one of the more scenic alleys of old Chania, invariably a tourist trap, but the foreigners cleared out relatively early, replaced by the later-dining locals. The raki flowed freely, and even once we stopped ordering the waiter would come around and refill us every few minutes, saying “This glass has a hole in it, let me replace it for you.” By the time the restaurant closed we were all sufficiently sloshed. We walked around for a bit and ended up settling in a bar a little outside the old town. I chose not to drink anymore (definitely a good call, in retrospect), and in fact headed home not long after arriving there. I found a nice field of grass on the way home and decided to lie down for a bit. I ended up falling asleep, awakening some time later and finding my way back to our beautiful hotel overlooking the old Venetian port in the center of Chania.

The next day was spent lazily around the center of town. I shudder to think what that place is like during the tourist season, as it was, the old town was almost entirely overrun during the day. We spent a lot of time at a cafe, them playing chess, me coaching their game and invariably getting into trouble for pointing out missed vulnerabilities with a bit of a bias. We found a cool-looking bar in another of the old town’s alleys later on in the night and decided to check it out. It was completely decked out with American dollar bills, license plates, hats, and a plethora of other nicknacks the drunk patrons decided to leave behind. It turns out it caters heavily to the foreign (mostly American military) presence on the island. The music was good, and the people seemed to be enjoying themselves, and the heavy-breasted bartenders kept the drinks coming and mingled with the clientele, mostly regulars. One such tender of the bar, Suzi, originally from London, had been living and working on Crete for eight years.

Anastasia left for Heraklion the next day to catch up with a friend, Paul and I ended up walking way down the coast just to do some exploring. We didn’t find anything particularly spectacular, but there were some good views, and a couple nice beaches. We stopped at one of the beaches on the way back and had a swim. The water was quite pleasant, and the waves were big enough to provide for some adequate entertainment. We finished off the day with some dinner on the town and another visit to the bar from the night before. The vibe was decidedly less cool that night. It was Friday, so it was much more crowded, and it was very noticeably a military bar at this point, in fact, the bartenders were pretty much the only girls in the place. We called it a night at about 0100 being that I had to wake up four hours later for my eye-bleedingly early flight back.

I opted not to take a nap when I got back with hopes of crashing early tonight, but I’m not sure how long I can make it. With the summer winding to a close here, keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post about a hiking trip in the works down in Montenegro.

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