Wednesday, July 23, 2014

{travel} colorful chania + exciting news!

Soooo I'm skipping over like.... 5 other trips to write about one of the most beautiful places in the entire world (but seriously), GREECE! So, why don't you dollop a few scoops of Greek yogurt into a bowl and drizzle generously with honey? It's gonna be a long one!

I went to Greece with my best blogger friend, Courtney. We started reading each other's blogs in January, met up for a few glasses of wine later that month, and booked a trip to Greece together in February. We had no idea if we'd still be buddies 5 months later when we bought those tickets, but luckily we never even had to worry about that at all. Bloggers make for the best travel partners. We love to wander aimlessly through cities and take photos of ALL THE THINGS OMGZ. What else could you want on vacation? ;)

We ended up in Crete because we found really cheap RyanAir tickets from Athens to Chania, and like every other English teacher abroad, we chose to go to the island that was cheapest to get to. I am so glad that we found those inexpensive tickets, because we both absolutely loved wandering around the old town of Chania.

Sights & Activities: One tip I hope to pass along to you if you ever find yourself in Chania? Book a room with a view of the Venetian Harbor, even if it is the absolute most touristy area of Chania. It's all worth it because then you get to wake up and look at this every morning. And that is pretty awesome.

Venetian Harbor: This harbor was built by the Venetians in the 1300s for trade purposes and to protect the port city from pirates. It is completely worthwhile to spend a good chunk of time walking along the water until you reach the lighthouse at the end of the harbor. Beware though, you will definitely be dodging restaurant promoters left and right. Because Greeks speak English SO FREAKING WELL, we decided to go with the Spanish right. Lo siento, no entendemos. Worked like a charm. Below: the view from our room at Loukia Hotel.

Eats & Drinks: You know that feeling you get when you travel? The feeling of absolute bliss mixed with that nagging voice in the back of your head that keeps telling you, "Don't forget to eat vegetables! Have you had a piece of fruit today? ANOTHER deep-fried piece of meat? Okay fella - it's time to go home and start eating healthy again or else you are gonna gain that vacation five!" Yeah.. that doesn't exist in Greece. The food is so wholesome and fresh that you won't feel like you are on vacation. And that is a wonderful, wonderful thing. 

Stelios: Remember how I said to stay along the Venetian Harbor? Well... whatever you do, don't eat by it. UNLESS you go to Stelios, a local seafood taverna and ouzeria, where prices are reasonable, quality of ingredients is important, and Greek is spoken more than English. This little taverna was tucked away at the very end of the Venetian Harbor just before the walkway to the lighthouse begins. We loved Stelios so much that we ate there twice! On our table? Dolmades: grape leaves stuffed with a rice, herb, and ground meat mixture, topped off with a dollop of Greek yogurt of course. Dakos: hard Cretan dried bread that is baked several times and then topped with EVOO and finely chopped tomato and mizithra, a light, crumbly white goat cheese. Kinda like a Greek version of bruschetta if you will! Cretan salad: Ready to branch away from the delicious but generic Greek salad, I ordered the Cretan salad. This one is served up with some of the bread used to make dakos, chopped up spinach, cucumber, tomato, olives, red onion, and more mizithra. Loved it.

Greek Breakfast: The breakfast eaten around the, well - Greece. The Greek yogurt in Greece is so creamy and thick you almost feel like you need to chew it! This ain't no watery Greek yogurt imitation, ahem Spain. And don't even get me started on Greek honey! It is especially delicious when it comes out of a ceramic cow. I mean.. look at how cute that little guy is! I want one! We started most of our mornings on the island with Greek yogurt with honey and an iced Freddo Cappuccino. Take me back!

The Well of the Turk: You know how they say that good things come for those who wait? Well, good things also come for those who get lost and run around in circles until they finally find a nice local to point the way. Yep, that's what it took to find this gorgeous, delicious restaurant. And good things... my how they did come. Tucked away into a narrow alley off of the main tourist drags, The Well of the Turk is totally worth the work it takes to find it. Their menu is an eclectic combination of Turkish and Cretan delights, such as apaki, smoked Cretan pork that has been marinated for hours in vinegar. Although the food is absolutely delicious, the ambiance is what makes you want to come back for more.

Ambiance: What I loved most about our time in Chania definitely has to be the hours we spent wandering through the narrow alleys, slipping into a shop every now and then to peek at the jewelry. I loved the colorful contrasts and the GORGEOUS bougainvilleas. I also adored the slower pace of life. Whether it was a leisurely lunch spent listening to the table of old Greek men in the back of the restaurant crack up over a cat video (seriously), one too many iced Freddos to go, or a casual glass of wine on our balcony with a view of the harbor, it was nice to let go of the stress of big city living and just relax, Greek style.

Okay, on to the EXCITING NEWS part! I've decided to open up an Etsy shop in order to sell some of my travel photography. A few of the photos in this very post are on sale for $25.00 in my shop. Shipping is free. If you are interested in purchasing one, check out Wayfaring Wanderlust on Etsy. :)

xx, Jen

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