Upon our arrival to Chania, Crete in the morning, we were able to drop off our luggage at our hotel. One thing I found interesting about Greece was their conservation efforts. As a country, Greece places a huge emphasis on conservation. From water to electricity, every citizen is mindful about their environmental and economical impact. This means elevators are tiny (very, very tiny), water is used minimally, and in order to turn on the air conditioners in the hotel room, you had to place your room key in an electric slot. Since you only received one room key and needed it to get in and out, you often returned to very hot rooms.
After dropping our luggage off at the hotel, we headed to Old Port for breakfast. This was our first true introduction to Greek food and their methods of cooking. In Greece, only fresh ingredients are used. Fish is delivered every morning, fruits and vegetables are always fresh, and even peanut butter contains no additives or added sugars. No matter the meal, you could always taste each ingredient and tell it was freshly delivered that day, no freezer involved. Even on the days I ate pasta, I would finish the entire bowl and not feel bloated or uncomfortable. I attribute that to the real, natural ingredients used. It certainly took some getting used to and I often found myself looking for gummy bears or Cheetos but I do wish we had more affordable natural choices surrounding us in America.
Post-breakfast, we had about an hour to walk around Old Port and explore. Old Port is beyond beautiful. The colors of the buildings reminded me of Venice and all the tiny alleyways had me believing I was in a romantic comedy.
Next we headed to Falassarna Playa Paradiso beach for a beautiful beach day. While the water was freezing cold, it was some of the clearest water I have ever seen. With mountains and hills towering all around, it is impossible not to fall in love with this beach.
Following our beach day, our entire group met in Old Port for a traditional Greek dinner complete with live acoustic music. Perhaps one of my favorite things about meal time in Greece was the wine. At most restaurants, you could order a glass of house wine for about 3 euros. That’s cheaper than most restaurants here in the states. Who doesn’t love cheap wine?
Afterwards we headed towards the center of Old Port where the nightlife was most active. We ended up at a bar called the Scandinavian Bar, a small bar with a dance floor above a closed restaurant. When we walked in, there was no one there. We would learn in the coming two weeks that Greeks do not go out at night until around 2am.
I’m a firm believer in making your own fun. And that’s exactly what we did. We had so much fun, the bar offered to buy us a bottle. It was towards the end of the night and most of us were tired but we accepted anyway, so as not to insult the bar owners. We drank about 1/4 of the bottle before we all decided to call it a night. There was a debate going on around me of what to do with the remaining bottle of alcohol. Deciding it was a gift given in kind, I tucked the bottle of alcohol in my shorts and walked out. It would come in handy the next night, I thought.
Lessons of the night? Make you own fun. And take the vodka. It was a gift, after all.
Our second full day in Greece was beyond full and I felt like we had barely covered the surface of Chania. Good thing we had one more day here!