Well I guess we should have seen this coming. The day of closures. Because sometimes even the best laid plans must be up-ended. I thought Monday would be the problem day, and planned accordingly. Today was Tuesday…
We slept in a bit this morning, had a late breakfast and were on our way. On this end of the island, there aren’t a lot of spectacular ancient ruins, but one that I’ve seen mentioned repeatedly is Aptera. It dates back to the 7th century BC, and sits above the current city of Chania.
It is reputed to have a nice theater. I can’t confirm this however because, despite what the websites tell us, it was closed. Fortunately they didn’t close off the entire site and we were able to explore some of the area. There honestly isn’t a lot to see. Mostly the area is overgrow rubble. There were a few things we found, however, when we headed down one of the paths.
Such as this ancient Roman-era house with peristyle. A peristyle is a porch with columns that surrounds a courtyard. I was surprised to see the columns still present on this site, given that they had been so often scavenged in Turkey.
Walking further down the path, we passed an olive grove where these sheep were taking their rest. It’s hard in this photo to recognize them as sheep, as they just look like a giant puffball. I heard another guide telling a couple that this is how they keep sheep here. The sheep keep the weeds down and produce the best fertilizer. It honestly makes a lot of sense. Those Greeks knew what they were doing.
Beyond the olive grove the path grew steeper and rocker, but that didn’t stop me.
In due time, it opened up and we found the ancient city gate.
From there we had spectacular views of the bay leading to Chania. We didn’t notice many sea birds here, but again we noted the faint music of goat bells in the distance.
Returning to the path for our trip back, D was surprised at its treacherous nature. He insisted we hadn’t come down that way, but indeed we had, and we returned that way. The sun was high in the sky at that point, but the breeze off the ocean still kept us cool.
Back at the car we gazed briefly at the ancient Roman cistern, before driving to the other side of the mountain to the Ottoman Fortress
Here we had another outstanding view. The water was crystal clear, and another fortress sat well below us. We heard a couple nearby saying “we were just down there,” and decided to go.
We really should have asked them if they were talking about the same thing we were thinking. It turns out they couldn’t have been. There was no way to get into that fortress, and it wasn’t in any guide I could find anywhere. So this was fail number two for the day.
This brought us to lunch time, where we returned to the site of last nights spectacular dinner, where the cook had promised D avgolemono soup. And it was delicious. The picture, of course, shows the Greek salad. I’m a bit surprised that Greeks don’t just call “Greek salad” by the more-efficient “salad.” But they don’t. Regardless, whatever they call it, it is delicious.
We tarried at the restaurant for a time, allowing our dessert and Raki to digest, before finally going to Chania. We hadn’t yet been to the old town, and wanted to explore it a bit.
It was a beautiful afternoon when we entered the densely woven streets of the town.
I had a goal in mind, which was the market. It is reputed to be heavily frequented by tourists, and therefore oriented toward tourists, but I read that there are unique items to be found. We found … That it was closed. I double checked the opening hours, confirming that it should have been open, but this was definitely not the case. Attributing the closure to the holiday week, we did some light shopping in the area shops and stopped in one church for a visit.
On the way out of town, as we walked past this lighthouse, the rain once again began to fall. And we hurried back to the car and the ride back to the hotel