Relaxing in Chania, Crete

By Marvin Feldman
This item appears on page 11 of the October 2020 issue.
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Marvin Feldman on the promenade at the Old Venetian Harbor in Chania, Crete. Photo by Carole Feldman

To begin our Greek adventures in 2019, my wife, Carole, and I, courtesy of the US Air Force (due to my status as a military veteran), flew from California to the US Naval Support Activity (NSA) Souda Bay in Chania, on the island of Crete.

Our 13th-century Venetian hotel, Porto del Colombo Boutique Hotel (Old Town, Chania; phone +30 28210 70945, portodelcolombo.gr), formerly the French Embassy, was a jewel. Our room, which we had booked on Expedia.com, cost about 80 (near $95) per night, including breakfast, and overlooked Chania’s stunning Old Venetian Harbor. We stayed there five nights, Oct. 16-20.

The receptionist greeted us with almond raki (alcoholic drink) and sweet snacks. It was great to be back in Greece! And it was a pleasure to relax Greek style.

Dining at outdoor restaurants with traditional Greek music, having a comfortable night’s rest followed by a bountiful breakfast (read freshly squeezed orange juice and cappuccinos) at our hotel and then looking “just around the corner” at a leisurely pace, this is just what we were seeking.

We had delicious dinners at several outdoor restaurants in Chania, including Taverna Semiramis (8 Skoufon St., Old Town) and To Xani (Parodos Kondilaki St.). At each, we spent about 25 for the two of us, and enjoyed the music.

Everywhere we went, we heard multiple languages from Northern European tourists who had escaped their countries’ harsh winters to visit sunny, warm Crete, as we had. A delightful boat ride out of the harbor was the perfect way to experience Chania.

Friday night religious services at the beautiful little Etz Hayyim Synagogue (Parados Kondilaki; etz-hayyim-hania.org), with about 60 attending from all over the world, were wonderful. The congregation was celebrating the synagogue’s 20th anniversary of its restoration.

From Chania, we would fly on Sky Express via Athens to Corfu for a week’s stay, then travel through northern Greece for a couple weeks (Sept. ’20, pg. 22) before returning to sunny Chania on Aegean Airlines, checking in at the Porto del Colombo again for two nights, Nov. 5-6.

After strolling the promenade of the Old Venetian Harbor again, we dined at the delightful Ta Neoria (Akti Enoseos 5, Chania Town; phone +30 2821 052255), a waterfront restaurant that our hotel had recommended. For the two of us, our meal cost about 25.

Many hotels, shops and restaurants had closed in the meantime, as the tourist season was winding down. It was a big change, but it was nice to enjoy the, now, rather quiet town.

On our final day in Greece, we visited the excellent harborside Maritime Museum of Crete, which details ancient Greek, Roman and Venetian history as well as modern Greece’s independence struggle, countless wars and the German occupation of Crete in WWII. The entry fee was 3.

For Carole, an Australian, the display showing Australian troops trying to save Crete during that war was particularly moving. Both of us were amazed when we realized that this harbor area, and the entire island of Crete, had been fought over for thousands of years.

Heading home, Lady Luck was again with us, as we caught a military flight to Norfolk, Virginia, flying commercial flights home to Jacksonville.

Greece was glorious!

MARVIN FELDMAN
Jacksonville, FL

 

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.
Marvin Feldman on the promenade at the Old Venetian Harbor in Chania, Crete. Photo by Carole Feldman

To begin our Greek adventures in 2019, my wife, Carole, and I, courtesy of the US Air Force (due to my status as a military veteran), flew from California to the US Naval Support Activity (NSA) Souda Bay in Chania, on the island of Crete.

Our 13th-century Venetian hotel, Porto del Colombo Boutique Hotel (Old Town, Chania; phone +30 28210 70945, portodelcolombo.gr), formerly the French Embassy, was a jewel. Our room, which we had booked on Expedia.com, cost about 80 (near $95) per night, including breakfast, and overlooked Chania’s stunning Old Venetian Harbor. We stayed there five nights, Oct. 16-20.

The receptionist greeted us with almond raki (alcoholic drink) and sweet snacks. It was great to be back in Greece! And it was a pleasure to relax Greek style.

Dining at outdoor restaurants with traditional Greek music, having a comfortable night’s rest followed by a bountiful breakfast (read freshly squeezed orange juice and cappuccinos) at our hotel and then looking “just around the corner” at a leisurely pace, this is just what we were seeking.

We had delicious dinners at several outdoor restaurants in Chania, including Taverna Semiramis (8 Skoufon St., Old Town) and To Xani (Parodos Kondilaki St.). At each, we spent about 25 for the two of us, and enjoyed the music.

Everywhere we went, we heard multiple languages from Northern European tourists who had escaped their countries’ harsh winters to visit sunny, warm Crete, as we had. A delightful boat ride out of the harbor was the perfect way to experience Chania.

Friday night religious services at the beautiful little Etz Hayyim Synagogue (Parados Kondilaki; etz-hayyim-hania.org), with about 60 attending from all over the world, were wonderful. The congregation was celebrating the synagogue’s 20th anniversary of its restoration.

From Chania, we would fly on Sky Express via Athens to Corfu for a week’s stay, then travel through northern Greece for a couple weeks (Sept. ’20, pg. 22) before returning to sunny Chania on Aegean Airlines, checking in at the Porto del Colombo again for two nights, Nov. 5-6.

After strolling the promenade of the Old Venetian Harbor again, we dined at the delightful Ta Neoria (Akti Enoseos 5, Chania Town; phone +30 2821 052255), a waterfront restaurant that our hotel had recommended. For the two of us, our meal cost about 25.

Many hotels, shops and restaurants had closed in the meantime, as the tourist season was winding down. It was a big change, but it was nice to enjoy the, now, rather quiet town.

On our final day in Greece, we visited the excellent harborside Maritime Museum of Crete, which details ancient Greek, Roman and Venetian history as well as modern Greece’s independence struggle, countless wars and the German occupation of Crete in WWII. The entry fee was 3.

For Carole, an Australian, the display showing Australian troops trying to save Crete during that war was particularly moving. Both of us were amazed when we realized that this harbor area, and the entire island of Crete, had been fought over for thousands of years.

Heading home, Lady Luck was again with us, as we caught a military flight to Norfolk, Virginia, flying commercial flights home to Jacksonville.

Greece was glorious!

MARVIN FELDMAN
Jacksonville, FL