Day 17 - Crete
|Thursday, October 26, 2023: Good morning, Crete!
|While we were still sailing in, we headed down to the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast. Tom got the congee, and Debbie got the Pan-Asian breakfast.
|Back in our cabin, we headed out to our balcony to watch the shoreline as we sailed into Soúdhas Bay, ...
|... and as the tugboat Zeus watched patiently as we guided ourselves to the pier.
|Our mighty thrusters swirled up some sand.
|We could see the masts of a shipwreck closer in toward the shore off the starboard bow.
|Debbie brought the LEGO daily calendar out to photograph it with Crete in the background. This was a first attempt. She tried again twice more later in the day, hoping for the perfect lighting.
|Tom updated our location on the map of Africa as he does every morning after we wake up.
|Here's where we are today.
|They announced that the ship was cleared just before 11:00 AM, and we headed onto the pier to get the shuttle bus into the nearby town of Chania. The trip cost €1.50 per person each way.
|It was a twenty minute ride into town, ...
|... and they dropped us off at a small plaza with a statue of Daskalogiannis, a ship owner who led a revolt against Ottoman rule in the 18th century.
|We walked through the city, passing shops, fish markets, ...
|... cool manhole covers, ...
|... and possibly the remains of an ancient moat, ...
|... to get to the narrow streets of the Old Town.
|We eventually arrived at the old Venetian port of Chania, which is surrounded by restaurants, hotels, and shops.
|The lighthouse at the entrance of the harbor was built by the Venetians in the 16th century. There is a walkway along the outer harbor wall if you want to get a closer look.
|Instead, we walked along the other side of the harbor, ...
|... where Tom took this photo of Debbie, ...
|... and Debbie took a photo of the fish in the water. This was the first time on the trip that we'd seen fish in the ocean, and they ranged from little tiny ones to fairly large ones. There were spiny sea urchins embedded in the rocks as well.
|Here's a closer view of some of the bigger ones. The water was crystal clear and we could see them swimming along the edge of the harbor.
|Just before noon, we arrived at Arismari, a restaurant serving Cretan cuisine that Debbie had selected as the recipient of our tourist euros.
|We were seated at a table in the front row, ...
|... with a great view of the harbor.
|We ordered two Coke Zeroes and bread, which was served with a lovely combination of olive oil and chopped tomatoes with oregano. There were four slices of bread and two different flavors of breadsticks. We both agreed that the sesame breadstick was amazing and the bread was delicious.
|We'd also ordered two appetizers to share. On the left was the fried Cretan salty cheese in sunflower seeds, oats, and poppy seeds with red pepper chutney. On the right was calamari with basil pesto beetroot tartar, pickles, and crab apple. We were hoping for fried calamari, so it wasn't exactly what we were craving.
|As we ate, we watched people strolling by and the pigeons that occasionally walked by our table. Their coloring was beautiful and every one was different.
|Tom had been saying thank you in Greek every time the server brought us something, and when we paid the bill, he brought us a complimentary dessert and a bottle of rose water-flavored alcohol. It was very strong, and we tried unsuccessfully to sip it at first, but opted for shooting it once we realized how strong it was.
|Here's another view of the harbor looking back toward the restaurant, which is just past the hotel with scaffolding and mesh across its front.
|We walked past the fountain on the Plaza Venizelou at the entrance of the harbor on the main pedestrian street leading out of the old town.
|As we walked up the street, there were tons of stores selling gelato, but we were craving baklava and there was none to be found.
|There was another small square with the Presentation of the Virgin Mary Metropolitan Church on one side, ...
|... and shops on the other side. Debbie looked through the cute swim cover-ups and bought a pretty blue and white one from this store.
|Here's a picture of it that she took later.
|We were able to resist the other stores lining the street, ...
|... but we stopped to admire this nice kitty who stopped bathing long enough to let us take her picture.
|We headed back to the square where the shuttle bus dropped us off, intending to ride the sightseeing bus that also departed from here, but it was running about forty minutes behind schedule. Instead, we bought a Mars bar, a roll of gummy candies, Tic Tacs, a bag of bagel chips, and a Coca Cola Light from the kiosk ...
|... and boarded the next shuttle back to the ship.
|In the median of this crossing street, there was this tiny adorable building made from brick. We didn't know if it was a well, or if it was a tiny church, or what, but it had to be photographed.
|IKEA! This has to be the smallest IKEA we've ever seen.
|As we got closer to the port, we saw this windmill at a Shell gas station of all places. The blades were turning in the gentle breeze. It reminded us of the windmills on Mykonos when we were there in 2004.
|There was another tiny church at a different intersection.
|Back at the port, we noticed that there were large numbers of crates containing supplies stacked alongside the ship, ...
|... and several open cargo doors where forklifts were placing the crates aboard.
|Out on our balcony, we noticed that there was a fueling barge tied up on the starboard side with a containment barrier stretched out to surround it and part of the ship.
|Having never found baklava in town, we headed up to the Lido in the hopes that they had Greek food for lunch and maybe there was some there. Unfortunately, we didn't find any and instead got the delicious coconut pecan cookies that Debbie loved and a Pavlova in a jar for Tom.
|Out in the sun on the balcony, Debbie decided to take another photo of the LEGO daily calendar, ...
|... and instead was a witness to a Greek tragedy as the display slipped off the post and smashed on the deck.
|Luckily, it had fallen forward and none of the pieces had left our balcony. We picked them all up and carried them inside where Debbie rebuilt it, ...
|... and she took it back outside, this time using the end-table-stacked-on-the-larger-table trick to give it a more stable platform.
|She finally got the photo she wanted with better lighting once our balcony was in the shade. Our minifigs are celebrating the home of the Olympics, with Debbie's minifig wearing a Greek dress, Tom's minifig wearing a crown of laurel leaves and carrying an Olympic torch, and both standing in front of Greek ruins.
|Three hours after we returned, the ship was still being fueled. If you compare the photo from earlier to this one, you can see that the tanker is much lighter now and much farther out of the water. We must be taking on a lot of fuel.
|According to Google Maps, all of the shoreline across the bay was labeled as United States Navy Support Activity, ...
|... where that boat was docked over there. What boat?
|This boat. And that one. And that other one.
|After getting burgers and fries from the Dive-In, we finished watching "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" that we had started last night, and then watched "Cool Runnings."
|Just before 7:00 PM, we watched the sunset over Chania.
|We went back out to our balcony around 9:30 PM to watch as our ship prepared for sail out and as the ferry across from us loaded the last cars and trucks aboard before it also departed. We were both scheduled to leave around 10:00 PM, and we were curious who would be ready first.
|Let's zoom in on that logo at the top of the ferry.
|Their logo is the island of Crete. We were in a bay in the third sticky-uppie from the left on the top side of the island.
|Debbie's awesome zoom let her get this photo of the people sitting in chairs on the inside near the top of the ferry, ...
|... and those lower down in what appeared to be a dining room.
|The tugboat Zeus was back, hovering around us in case we needed assistance.
|A little after 10:00 PM, we slid away from the dock and started to execute a 180 degree turn, and the ferry Elyros sped away from the dock and headed out to sea ahead of us. Sneaky rascals!
|Our turn complete, we now had the lights of Souda and Chania behind us as we slowly made our way out of the bay and into the Aegean Sea, headed west toward our next destination.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy