Monday, 8 October 2012


About twice a year my parents make their pilgrimage to see their daughter who lives in Greece ... not that they have another one or anything. This year they made it over in May but as fait would have it, there was a small hiccough that got in the way of their combined second trip - Dad had temporarily come out of retirement to fix a problem somewhere in the Mediterranean ...unfortunately not in my bit of the Med. This left Mum with the dilemma of what to do whilst the cat was away .... the mouse decided to play, hopped on an airplane and with a skip and a jump she was on the island.

This not being her first trip meant that, well, she had seen most of this end of the island and with itchy feet was raring to do a bit more exploring so we booked a hotel in Chania, at the other end of the island.

Chania is well known in the touristic circles, it had the good fortune of being ruled by the Venetians who used all their engineering and architectural know how to create a beautiful coastal town complete with walled city and port.

Depending on who you talk to the old town reminds you of different places, to me it could be Italy Mum argues that it's more Syrian.  Given that after the Venetians came the Turks, there is merit in both sides of the argument. The Venetians left their Italian architecture, the Turks left behind their beloved mosques – many of which have now been converted to churches.

Once an important port of call on the trading route between east and west, Chania is now awash with tourists of all shapes and sizes and of a surprisingly diverse mix of nationalities.

The old town has adapted from the merchants of old to accommodate the modern tourist and their needs. Despite its picturesque outlook the port is lined with bars, restaurants, and shops selling expensive food, drinks and tourist tack.  However, take a wander down the meandering back streets and the opportunities are endless. The shops are packed to the rafters with a huge variety of excuses to get the credit card out and start burning a hole in it! From stunning works of art by local artists to jewellery, hand made carpets and olive based beauty products.

Eventually having walked up almost every back ally and side street in the old town we managed to leave laden with Christmas gifts and well ... let's be honest now, one or two items of self indulgence!

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