Crete's Chania and Red Beach Near Matala

Rob and I spent five nights on Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. We flew into Heraklion, then rented a car to drive to the charming harbor town of Chania. Our hotel, Domus Renier, was exquisite and the owner, Litsa Paraskevaki, was warm and welcoming. She spent three years renovating a very old building, and it is beautiful with attention to every detail.  

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The harbor at Chania.  

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Yup.  

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A BIG beer.  

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Chania lighthouse.  

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A detail--exposed original wall at Domus Renier.  

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Rob with Litsa, the owner of Domus Renier.  

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Original details were retained or re-created.  

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Red Beach, near Matala in southern Crete.  

A Whirlwind Week

It seems like yesterday when we were in Mykonos. In truth, we've been to Santorini and Crete, and arrived today on the Greek island of Rhodes. Somewhere along the way I lost several days to an upper respiratory infection and a trip to the urgent care clinic in Chania, Crete. Even so, we managed to do plenty and see much of these spectacular places. Rob even made me climb a steep mountain to get to Red Beach (a fav nude beach, especially for Germans, it seems) near Matala in Crete.  I've included several of my fav places below (sorry, no nude pics).  And, with antibiotics I'm back among the living. We're on Rhodes for three days, then Cyprus! 

 

Our hotel on Santorini, the Volcano View.  

Our hotel on Santorini, the Volcano View.  

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Early morning view to the west.

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Santorini sunset.  

We explored both Fira and Oia, the two tiny towns on Santorini, but they were both very touristy with tons of souvenir shops. We took lots of pictures though--there are stunning churches and mosques here.   

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St. James cathedral in Oia, Santorini.  

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We spent a lovely afternoon on a catamaran cruise while on Santorini. 

We spent a lovely afternoon on a catamaran cruise while on Santorini. 

I'll put up another post with images from Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands, of which there are 150. 

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Two Nights in Mykonos

The island of Mykonos is known for its gorgeous beaches, white buildings with blue shutters and doors, and vibrant nightlife. Even the shops stay open till 2 a.m.  While we were here, we took a half-day tour of the nearby island of Delos, a World Heritage site with ruins that go back 6,000 years.  

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The Hotel Vencia.  

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The view from our hotel room.  

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Delos ruins and harbor.  

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Inlaid tile in the atrium of a house on Delos--from the 6th century BCE.  

Photos from the Acropolis

On our last Day in Athens, last Friday, we visited the Acropolis, a millennia-old hilltop temple where the goddess Athena was worshipped. The history of the site is long and storied, and the ruins are stunning. Here are some photos. 

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In front of the beautiful new Acropolis Museum. Not to be missed.  

Incredible walking tour of Athens--for foodies!

I'm not really a foodie, but we thought this four-hour tour would be fun, and we were right. Sophia, our amazing guide, took us through the "real" Athens north of Monastiraki Square. We started at 11 a.m, and ate our way through the traditional cafes and food markets, starting with Greek pie. We would know it as philo dough stuffed with various ingredients such as spinach and cheese. The milk pie (she says any bread is called "pie"), is like a sweet custard--delicious. We sampled their traditional doughnut, seasoned with cinnamon and honey, and walked through all the food markets (the fish and meat markets were the most interesting). Of course, after several hours of shopping the food markets, we had to do as the Greeks do and have traditional Greek coffee. Not that strong, but very thick and sedimenty. We finished the day with a scrumptious traditional Greek salad: tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese sprinkled with oregano. Accompanied of course, by Santorini wine and ouzo. Many thanks to Sophia Dimokratin and Athens Walks Tour Company for a fabulous day. 

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Traditional Greek breakfast "doughnut." 

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Meat market.  

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Cottontails? Rabbit is very popular in Greece, as are goat, pork, chicken and beef. 

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Rob hamming it up. 

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Octopus and squid.  

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Stingrays.  

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Nuts and spices.  

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Tasting roasted and raw pistachios.  

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Traditional Greek coffee: coffee grounds and water are put into a small copper pot and nestled into hot volcanic sand until it percolates.  

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Sophia offers a variety of olives for tasting. 

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Most "Italian" olive oil actually comes from Greece.  

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Spicy beef, sausage and water buffalo with cheeses and stuffed grape leaves.  

Hello, Athens!

Arrived last night in time to enjoy a beautiful corn moon and gorgeous views of the acropolis and the temple of Zeus from our hotel. Today, a foodie tour of Athens. More tomorrow!  

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The Acropolis from our hotel roof deck.  

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Gorgeous corn moon (look it up).  

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Temple of Zeus ruins. The view from our hotel room.