Summer in Souda (Summer Sailing 2018)

Greece, in my opinion, is painted in social media and in blogs to be such an ideal getaway country.  The sky is always blue, the sea is even bluer, and you’re eating good food. The nightlife is good, the weather is nice and hot, and the shades of blue and white of the buildings make every photo you snap to be picture perfect. It’s a vacation country and its islands always make it on every ‘Where you Should Travel Next’ list.

On our last cruise in the Mediterranean, we had stopped at Mykonos (which was on the original itinerary for this trip, too) and Athens. This time, our ship was going to be rolling into the port of Souda, which was on Crete Island. The town of Chania, which was only a few miles away from where the ship was docked, was where everybody was heading.

Because everything was within walking-distance, we decided to make the day our own and plan out our own little tour in Chania. After we got off the ship, we did have to purchase roundtrip tickets for the local city bus that would take you from the port and into the marketplace in the heart of Chania. Tickets were only 3.4 Euros per person, which made it much cheaper than finding a tour with the ship.

We got a map and simply let ourselves wander. We wanted to head to Firka Fortress, so one of the locals recommended we take the smaller, neighbourhood streets to get there.

And it was probably the best decision we made of the day.

The neighbourhoods were beautiful, and what I loved about them was that they didn’t resemble the suburbs from back home. It wasn’t just a detached house after detached house. The neighbourhood didn’t just consist of pools, mailboxes, and driveways. Instead, the roads, made of cobblestone, twisted and winded, and the houses were so tightly packed together. And it wasn’t just houses – there would be restaurants dotting the neighbourhood scene here and there, souvenir shops popping up, clothing stores, pottery stores, and so much more. Since we were doing our stroll in the morning, storeowners were out in front, sweeping and cleaning their store entrance. Locals were milling about, catching up with their friends or simply sitting somewhere and enjoying a cup of coffee. It was exciting, yet peaceful, and refreshing to get a glimpse into their seemingly quaint life.

I loved the ways the houses were constructed; it was such a refreshing breath of air from suburbia back home.

We finally got to the edges of the neighbourhood, where Firka Fortress was looming over us. The fortress was originally constructed by the Venetians to prevent any enemy danger for its port. Its construction began in 1610 and was finished a few years before 1645. We just took a few photos from the outside because we weren’t too interested in going inside (and we couldn’t find the entrance).

In the humid air, a treat for the morning walk we had completed thus far was the sea air that cooled our faces and dried our sweat. We sat on a bench by the edge of the water for a little bit, admiring the view and just listening to the sound of the crashing waves.

The next sight that we set our eyes on was the famous Venetian Lighthouse, which seemed so close to where we were standing beside the Firka Fortress, but was all the way across the Venetian Harbour.

There is a walkway that you can walk down so you could find yourself standing at the base of the lighthouse. But in order for us to be looking up at the lighthouse, we had to walk to the other end of the harbour, and then walk down the walkway. To be honest, when we started the walk, it didn’t seem to tiring or too lengthy, but this opinion all changed mid-walk. Under the beating sun, in 35 to 40 degrees weather, the walk definitely felt longer than it should have.

But, as always, there were no regrets. Along the way, we got so many great photos of the harbour, and of the town that surrounded it. It reminded me a little bit of Mykonos with the buildings right along the water.

The walk there also kept us entertained. As soon as you started to get on the walkway to the lighthouse, you could either choose to walk on the main walkway or climb up a bit and walk on a much narrower walkaway that was just above. So of course, we chose the latter. What was interesting was that it was so narrow it could pretty much only fit one person. So if we saw another person coming from the other direction, there would be some sort of silent communication between us and one of us would have to get up on a smaller ledge and wait for the other person to pass. It was a game, almost.

But again, no regrets. Photos taken from the ledge and from the bottom were so, so amazing.

There was even a building on the walk there that we explored a little bit and snapped some more aesthetically pleasing photos.

And the lighthouse definitely did not disappoint either.

To end off the day (and the long walk that came with it), we shopped around on the main shopping street in the town. What I loved seeing were the traditional Greek summer maxi dresses that were sold in practically every clothing store. They came in all different colours and styles, and were perfect for the heat (and were perfect for photos).

We picked up our necessary souvenirs, checked out a few clothing stores, and treated ourselves to frozen slush drinks to cool us down in the Greek heat.

We popped our head into the marketplace, which was where the bus would pick us up again. Sellers proudly displayed olives of all sorts, different meats and cheeses, breads, and a variety of other foods. There were leather goods, clothes, souvenirs, and other small knick-knacks being sold. A calm frenzy.

We were getting sleepy from being in the sun all day so we headed back for some R&R on the ship.

Next post is going to be a bit of a twist, so don’t miss it!

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