Thursday, 29 September 2016

Loving Chania

Wednesday 14 September 2016. We are in Crete today, in the wonderful town of Chania (the locals pronounce it as though the 'C' is not there).

The town is a four mile (6km) bus ride from the port and this costs Euro 1.70 each way per person. We fell in love with this place on our last visit with David and Jeannie in 2015. This time on the bus from the port someone asks if anyone has ever been here before. We say yes and when asked, we tell them how to get to the harbour but once we get off the bus they follow everyone else instead and on the way back we hear people saying "I thought there was a harbour...?"

The harbour is a few streets' walk from the bus drop-off but is well worth finding. It has a large three-sided basin, with a further basin off to one side and this is where we are sitting as I take this photograph. The fisherman has a couple of lines out and catches the occasional fish. I'd have called them tiddlers really - he'd need a big plate of chips if he was to have a decent dinner from them...

Opposite us is the deserted harbour wall or mole, with a lighthouse built in 1824-1832 on the base of a previous Venetian lighthouse. The region was under the rule of Venice from 1252 more or less continuously until the Ottomans took over in 1645. Chania has deeper roots than these however, as a Minoan city is buried beneath it. This was called Kydonia and lasted roughly 1000 years until the Romans came in 69 BC.

We sat for a while and I got out the sketch pad. The sun beat down and we were a little exposed where we were - there were no trees or other shade and we got extremely warm!

As we sat, two groups of riders on the ship's mountain bikes came past us. The easy tour, free-wheeling and taking their time. The more athletic group whizzing through in a blur of pedals and sweat and determination...

We were in dire need of a drink after sitting in the direct sun for an hour and my Coke came complete with its own mini-bar equipment and accessories! As we sat cooling down and enjoying our drinks a couple of familiar faces from the ship came past. Alan and Pat, both in their 80s, a lovely couple who never failed to get up and dance to Tomas and Maris each night in the Water's Edge bar.

"Did I see you drawing?" he asked as he passed. I showed him the sketch and we talked about it for a few minutes before they moved on.

Fran wanted to buy some sandals for both herself and for Miss Jeannie, back home. Sizes seemed to be a problem. As a consequence we spent more time in the shopping streets than we did on the harbour, but it was a pleasant day and we found once again how the shopkeepers were willing to search cheerfully high and low for exactly the item required.

At one shop a very attractive lady had just started to talk to us when another girl came in and slapped her on the shoulder before passing into the shop without a word. Almost staggering, she laughed at my surprise and said "My Bestie!" "Do all your friends hit you?" I asked, tapping her lightly on the arm. "Ooh! Thank you!" she said. "Ask if she's got these in a size 6..." came a tolerantly amused voice on my other side...

Singer/guitarist Ben Moss who took turn and turn about sets with Tomas and Maris each night. We remembered him as a shy 18-year-old on the Thomson Celebration four years ago. He's maturing into a great and confident artist.

Though once again tonight someone else is up on stage... Everybody does The Shadows for a guitar instrumental, but I like to be a bit different and play a Bert Weedon track which lets me talk about Bert's book Play In A Day. It gave so many famous guitarists a kick start to playing. I almost got it right too... I followed it with an audience participation sing-along - Billy Fury's Halfway To Paradise.

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