Hania - Crete Day 5
After touring the Western Crete Mountains, dinning in Sfakia, and discovering some truly incredible places, we are staying in Hania today, on our own. Old town Hania is an old walled city, which has remains of Minoan, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish sites, buildings, fountains and churches. One can see minarets next to church bell towers in Hania and Hania Prefecture. A lot of what we see in Old Town Hania dates from the Venetians. After a typical Cretan breakfast, we head out to discover the old town.
Our first stop is Market Hall. There is much to see and all manner of tourists are visiting the various stalls offering all kinds of food and merchandise. It reminded me of Faneuil Hall in Boston, except it is so much bigger. But, it is the same concept one can eat, shop and be entertained right there. Interesting that many of the shop owners are from elsewhere. Our most fun moment, trying on a sumptuous leather belt but not buying because I intended to return but did not have time. Our most delicious moment, this cheese sandwich made with several type of freshly made sheep milk cheese and the Greek salad that comes with it, washed down with a “frappe”.
Discovering Old Town Hania
Then we go in search of a post office. Find it about 4 blocks away, Patty goes to get stamps to send some cards home. We have a walking map of old town and we should just begin. We must first get back to Market Hall, crossing the streets here is a life threatening adventure.
The idea is to walk around without a preplanned itinerary, just follow the streets and see what the town feels like. It was pretty magical. Even more magical was that at siesta time, somewhere between 3 PM and 6PM, the shops close, the locals go home, and a pregnant hush falls over the old city. It is during this quiet time that we begin our walk. The cafés are full of young locals and tourists, but the streets are almost totally empty except for a Cretan cat here and there.
We are walking and looking intensely, it feels as if we are peeping toms. We stop every 10 steps for a photograph, we can hear families in animated conversation eating a meal, from time to time we can see through the sheer curtains if a window is open. Ladies are watering their garden on the front porches, people are rushing home. We have the streets, alleys really, to ourselves. What fun...
Today there was no list of things and places to photograph, it was just taking pictures as they came. I ended up with some 650 pictures. I will share a few of them with you. This crop is organized in 3 categories, doors – windows – alleys, old with new, lines and colors, end of day. The charm of it being that behind the most dilapidated front wall there can be a beautiful home, or a restoration in progress. It seems that the most profitable trade on Hania at the moment would be that of plasterer. Remember that in taking the pictures we had no agenda, the patterns just happened.