When I was a young kid in school, around 10 years old I guess, we had to write a report for geography. We didn't have a computer, but my mom had a super fancy typewriter that I would use for this. And since I have a more visual brain, I wanted to add some photos. The internet didn't exist yet and we would normally go to the library for information. But I was smart enough to know that the downside of that would be that I was not allowed to cut out the images from the library books. And I also didn't want to ask my parents to take me there. And so I became creative.
I snatched a pile of my mom's travel brochures (which she collected somehow) and dug through them. Since these didn't contain enough information about one country and I didn't want to go to the library I was a bit stuck. And finally, I found a brochure about Greece and its many islands. "Eureka!". I would write my report about the many islands of Greece and would only need superficial information about every island to fill the report. They looked so gorgeous and amazing that I also decided to do my speech about it a few months later.
It took me until this year to finally visit my first Greek island....🤭
Don't think that I didn't want to! I just didn't want to end up in one of those party spots. And as a solo traveller, exploring the islands felt a bit like a challenge (and too expensive) to me.
I booked a jeep safari with the cruise organisation, which was cancelled due to lack of interest by the elderly people of the cruise. And so I ended up with a plan B, just visiting some towns on the Island.
We were dropped off in front of the central market of Chania, the "Agora". This indoor market building is from 1913 and the design is based on the market of Marseille. It was just massive! You will find a huge amount of local products here and I just couldn't resist. I bought an olive oil based shampoo for my oversensitive scalp (the shampoo turns out to be amazing!!). The market is also packed with tourists, so don't stay too long!!
We were on our way to the old port of Chania and everyone was in a bit of a rush so there was hardly any time for me to wander off and take more photos.
The Orthodox Cathedral, or church of Trimartiri
We passed the Orthodox Cathedral and I quickly snapped a picture. The construction of this church was completed in 1860 and has the style of a three-aisled basilica. The three doors you see are for the three aisles. The middle one is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The left one is for Saint Nicholas and the right one for the Three Hierarchs. The square in front of it is one of the largest in Chania... And then I had to run after the group to catch up.
The highlight of Chania really is the port. The sea was getting a bit rough and you can see that clearly in my photos. Walking too close to the water on the promenade was a bit risky and so the benches were all empty (yoohoo, photo op!!)
The water was a bit wild
I instantly fell in love with this part of Chania. The port is a remainder of the Venetian occupation and has a typical Venetian fortification. The lighthouse is from 1629 and it takes a bit of a detour to get there. Time that I didn't have, unfortunately.
And so I enjoyed the wild water in the port and the lovely colourful houses/bars/shops along the promenade. It was hard to imagine that during the second world war, this lovely city suffered immensely during the battle of Crete. Part of this city was completely destroyed by a severe airstrike. And if that didn't hurt enough, the Germans were freaked out so much about the resistance on the island that they started a massacre.
A large part of the inhabitants was executed by the Germans because of their resistance. And also the whole Jewish population of Crete was eliminated, somehow by accident. This is a super tragic story that deserves to be more well known around the world. The short version: On June 9th, 1944 a German ship carrying most of the Jewish prisoners away from the island was torpedoed by the British and sank. Almost every Jew from Crete died that day.
After the war, the city of Chania slowly turned into an important tourist destination. This sort of overshadows the impressive history of Chania and you will really have to look for the signs in the area telling this story. And that wasn't part of my trip that day.
So yeah, I will have to come back to Chania, visit the few monuments of the second world war. But also the archaeological sites, which it has plenty of!
What the Chania port would look like on a calm day
Also in this series:
- Somewhere in Europe #1: San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain
- Somewhere in Europe #2: Bilbao, Spain
- Somewhere in Europe #3: Algarve, Portugal
- Somewhere in Europe #4: Alghero, Sardinia, Italy
- Somewhere in Europe #5: Dresden, Germany
- Somewhere in Europe #6: Genoa, Italy
- Somewhere in Europe #7: El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain
- Somewhere in Europe #8: Lisbon, Portugal
- Somewhere in Europe #9: Helsinki, Finland
- Somewhere in Europe #10: Málaga, Spain
- Somewhere in Europe #11: Malta