English doesn’t have the sound represented by the Greek letter ‘x’. It’s usually represented in English by ‘ch’. While that works in some cases (like ochi for όχι) if you say ‘chania’, no one will know WTF you’re talking about. Though not accurate, people will be far more likely to understand you if you say ‘hania’ or ‘kania’.
Anyway, Χανιά is the second largest city on the island of Κρήτη (Crete), and I’ve been here for a little short of a week. When I first arrived, I wasn’t horribly impressed. But then, I was sleep deprived from a 9 hour overnight ferry from Αθήνα (Athens), and the hostel is in the middle of the non-scenic section of the city. After a nap when I went out to explore though, I quickly discovered it’s far more pretty than my first impression.
There are tiny alleyways filled with old buildings and flowers, a few blocks of a market area, the old harbor, and a few beaches a short trip out of the city. And the weather is amazing. Being on a huge island in the southern Mediterranean definitely has advantages.
So what is there to do here? If you like partying, there are night clubs. You can get food next to the water at the old harbor. You can get some pretty sweet shots of the lighthouse. You can explore old, beautiful alleyways. If you have transport, you can hit up beaches.
One day, we made a day trip out of going to Ρέθυμνο (Rethimno, the third largest city on the island). There’s a separate post about that.
Another day, we rented bicycles, and went out riding. A day at the beach, a lot of riding, and an insane sunburn later, I concluded it was a good day. I definitely recommend having at least a bicycle for the beaches…and a lot of sunscreen.
I hit up the archeological museum here on another day. It wasn’t bad, but I think I’m getting tired of ancient things. You know you’ve been in Greece too long when you see 5000 year old artifacts and think ‘meh’. Although I did still enjoy the old seawall that protects the harbor from the sea so I guess I’m not a total lost cause…yet.
If I had to sum up my time here, I’d say it’s a nice place to visit. I wouldn’t want to live here though. Things are a bit on the pricey side due to all the tourists, and it being an island where most things are imported from the mainland. I’m glad I came now though as it’s still earlier than high season. I can only imagine how crazy this place gets in the summer.
Until next time….