To begin our adventures in Crete, we rented a car to drive from our home base of Heraklion to visit the old town areas of Chania and Rethymnon. We have a T-Mobile plan which is supposed to include service in numerous foreign countries. However, for our last two trips abroad, phone and text would work but not data. After numerous calls to T-Mobile we decided that it must be something about our phone. We went to the Apple store in Charlotte, and they made several changes. But there was no way to know if it would work without going abroad. I am happy to report that text, phone, and most importantly, data is working well here. I also learned that Waze works as well abroad as it does at home.
Linda was our driver and Waze was our guide. The road between cities was mostly two lane, but slower cars typically drove on the berm to make passing easier. The real problem was negotiating the narrow, crooked, one way streets in the town and finding a parking spot near where we wanted to be. Waze made an impossible job merely difficult.We enjoyed seeing the diverse countryside of Crete. This shot shows the abundant wildflowers, rocky coastline, sandy beaches, and snow capped mountains of Crete all in one shot.The blue domed churches of Mykonos and Santorini are replaced with red tile domes on Crete. We have also noticed that the restaurant food is more diverse here.The buildings on Crete are no longer all white and it seems you can see the snow capped mountains everywhere. This is the Orthodox Cathedral in Chania.The Mosque of Hasan Pasha (the first Ottoman governor of Crete) was constructed in 1645. It originally had a small minaret, but that was demolished in 1923. It is now an art gallery.The age of this stone lighthouse on the harbor is unknown, but it is believed to be one of the oldest in the world.
The harbor was especially beautiful.Much of the area above the port held buildings that had been bombed during WW II.This building had once been a mosque as evidenced be the minaret, and was now a church as evidenced by the cross on the clock tower. As you can also see, graffiti was a serious problem throughout Crete.
After a four hour walking tour of Chania, we headed back to the town Rethymnon. Waze and I had picked out a parking lot ideally located near the start of our desired walking tour. When we arrived, that lot was being cleaned of debris from a recent fair and we weren’t allowed to park there. We then spent the next thirty minutes hunting for a parking spot.We spent most of our time there exploring the Fortezza (or fortress) which looms over the city on a high point near the water. It was built by the Venetians in the 16th century, and was captured by the Ottomans in 1646. It remained an active fort until the early 20th century. By that time, many residential buildings had been built with the walls of the fort. At the end of WW II, the city began to expand and the residential buildings were abandoned and ultimately torn down. Today it is a tourist attraction.This building was a cathedral within the fort under the Venetians and was converted to a mosque under the Ottomans. The bottom picture is the interior of the dome.The flower pots on the railing of this balcony were a little over the top!A mosque in the old town.The old town was filled with pedestrian only shopping streets and residential streets such as this one. We returned to our home base in Heraklion before the rental car office closed so we wouldn’t have to find a parking spot at our hotel. On the next day we will explore Heraklion.