We were kind of sad to leave Iraklios, especially after the two really nice meals we had, but it time to move on. We checked out of our hotel and walked the couple of kilometers to "Bus Station A" and bought our tickets to Chania. Compared to other cities w had quite an easy time finding our way to our hotel, even though it was tucked away down a little street a few yards from the Venetian Harbor. Once you find Plateia 1866 it's just a matter of time before you hit all the tourists and you'll know you're there.
We walked along the waterfront, past all the tourist tavernas and shops and found a quiet little side street where Madonna Studios was located.
There are 5 studio apartments in an 800 year old building that is Madonna Studios. I've got to truly say, of all the places we've stayed, this is one of our favorites. And one good reason is the hospitality. The one woman running the place is named Thomais and embodies the spirit of your favorite aunt in the world. She is kind, warm, and as we were to find out very generous. When we arrived there was a little welcome gift set out for us.
Which included apple cake, cookies, and water.......it really made us feel welcomed. The place had a small kitchenette which we ended up using and a small television which was did not use. The Missus was taken by the rustic charm of the place and immediately told me to run downstairs and take a photo of Her on the little patio.
There was another little patio overlooking the small courtyard. We ended up having coffee here in the morning, some wine in the evening, and even eating dinner here one night.
For some reason the place just seemed right up our alley..........simple, but charming.
We loved watching the tiny street below.....even when nothing was going on.
After taking our sweet time stowing our stuff and taking a nice post bus ride shower, we headed out past the now maddening crowd on the waterfront. Even though the place was crowded, the beauty of the Venetian Harbor shone through. One only needed to look out at the Venetian Lighthouse which guards the harbor, a Chania landmark.
The Missus' birthday was approaching and She decided that Chania would be the perfect place to do some shopping. Somehow, we ended up past most of the tourists, in the area near the Agora. The Missus looked into this little shop, which had opened so recently, that they didn't even have a sign yet.
It was a cute Mom and Pop operation. The owner's son was a very mellow and nice guy, and the Missus found something She liked.
The young man was so nice, we asked him for a lunch recommendation. He had a couple ofsuggestions and told us that his nearby favorite, "is not very pretty, but they make good food, is reasonable, and is even on the waterfront, but many locals eat there." Sounded like the right place! He drew us a little map with the name of the place, Vassiliko. We thanked him and with the Missus's new earrings in tow headed out past the Mosque and the Great Arsenal and easily found the little Taverna.
It was indeed not a fancy place, looking a bit worn, but there seemed to be quite a few older gentleman eating there, a good sign.
What we noticed during our visits, we made more than one, was that tourists would sit at the outer four or five tables and order something like tzadziki and a glass of wine. All the men were having some major meals.
Of course, we were in Greece, so the Missus had to have some wine.....this time the house white.
We started with horta, because the Missus couldn't get enough of it, and also because the gentleman taking our order told us that we needed some vegetable to make it a balanced meal! He was a hoot and we have an even funnier story about him later.
Anyway, the horta was nicely prepared, slightly bitter, with a mildly sweet flavor.
We saw another table just going to town on the small fried fish, basically fried whitebait so we had some of that as well.
On the way from the bus station I passed two fishmarkets and there were a couple of items that looked really good. The clear waters around the Greek Isles is so breathtakingly beautiful, but it is not especially fruitful, except for a couple of animals.
The Missus is not particularly fond of octopus, but I just had to order it.
Grilled and seasoned with salt, lemon, and olive oil, this was heaven. The octopus was so tender you could cut it with a spoon! For the Missus it was love at first bite, She had never had octopus like this before and just loved it. This was one of, if not our favorite dish of the trip. So perfectly simple.
The Missus was afraid of the cuttlefish, but after the octopus She was game.
Not as tender as the octopus, but this had picked up a bit of smokiness during the grilling process.
And the meal ended in just perfect fashion for us, some cheese pie, savory and mildly salty, drizzled with honey, and some raki.......
Vasiliko was the perfect place for us, not crowded with tourists, and we could still people watch while having lunch.
Lunch had energized the Missus and She decided to make the kilometer or so walk out on the sea wall to the lighthouse.
It an easy walk, though perhaps a bit windy.
The Missus climbed up the stairs of the lighthouse to take a zillion photos. The view of Chania's waterfront from here is amazing.
Though I took this photo....wish I had a panoramic camera for the shot. It's almost too eays to take a nice photo here.
As we walked back to our room for an afternoon nap, we reflected on how really pretty this city was.
This part of Chania just seemed to be made for postcards.......
It was hard to take a bad shot......
Thanks for reading!