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First Gear is the Hardest

sunny 86 °F
View Eastern Mediterranean Trip on sellnow's travel map.

We met our rental car at 10am back at the port, and after a quick detour to the airport to drop off the person who met us, we were on our way to a town on the West edge of the island, Chania. In Greece, and maybe in all of Europe, when you get a rental of any sort it comes with an empty gas tank. You then have to race to the nearest station to fill it up – this is a little unfair to a person new to the city, and in our case, new to driving a stick shift vehicle. The very nice gentleman gave us directions to Chania, and told us 11 km down the road is a gas station, “you will make it, it is easy” he says and waves us off, smiling. Well, we turned off a little before our station (he didn’t tell us what the name of the gas station was) and ended up on some random roads with crazy traffic. In Greece, there isn’t much for rules on the roads. You drive two people to a lane (or if you are daring, we have seen three), motor bikes dart in and out of everyone, streets don’t really have names, and if someone is too slow on a turn – you just go in front of them. And as a reminder, we have a driver that is not comfortable yet with a stick shift. Needless to say, it was a high tension situation – gas light blinking, narrow streets, chaotic traffic…you get the point. We stop off at some random home finishing store and the man was nice enough to point us to the gas station, which thankfully was only a quarter of a mile down the road. I am glad Nate asked, as we were just about to turn back as we were in a very industrial part of town and who knows what would have happened then.

Once the tank was full, we now had the challenge of figuring out how to get back on the highway. Again, signs are pretty minimal and the roads narrow and windy. Let’s just say that after a couple of stalls, Nate getting honked at immensely twice, almost crashing once and four or five turn arounds, we were able to get on the highway in the opposite direction. That was at least a start. We went up to the next exit, which had a nice on/off system and were finally on our way to Chania, which was a much smoother 2 hour drive through the mountains. The highway, although still a little nuts to drive on, was a lot easier to navigate as all we had to worry about were the cars darting in and out and not the whole stop and go, shifting in and out of first gear.
Driving through island of Crete. Much more green than we expected.

Driving through island of Crete. Much more green than we expected.

Chania is an old Venetian port, where the remnants of a fortress still remain. They have a lot of little shops and restaurants (like almost every other town we have visited on this trip) but they also have a market with fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, meats and of course, fish. As we didn’t yet know our kitchen situation in our new hotel, we didn’t buy anything but would have love to. After a stop for the cheapest gelato we have seen (which doesn’t mean it is very good), we decided we should head back towards our hotel so we could try and check-in by 4pm.
Chania port town

Chania port town


Lighthouse in Chania

Lighthouse in Chania

Old guys fishing, and they are probably out there everyday

Old guys fishing, and they are probably out there everyday

Old Venetian fort in Chania

Old Venetian fort in Chania

Chania Market

Chania Market

Upon arriving at our hotel, we found it somewhat deserted which was concerning as we had pre-paid for three nights. Two of the balconies had swim wear hanging to dry, so we knew it couldn’t be out of business, but we couldn’t find anyone around. We stopped up at the big grocery store to try calling, but weren’t able to use the pay phone and they didn’t sell the phone cards we needed. We then headed back to the hotel, as they are supposed to have free wi-fi, so we could try calling them via skype, but of course that wasn’t working either. Nate then went to a smaller grocery store up the road, and the very nice lady allowed him to use her phone for free. He has a way with grocery store ladies; this is the second one that has allowed him to use her phone. Eventually, we got it all figured out, got our room threw on our suits and went for a dip in the pool. This is the first pool we have had on our trip, but since it is maybe 50 yards from the beach we felt a little bad being in the pool instead of the ocean (since the sun was setting, the pool felt warmer).

As neither of us slept well the night before, we made our pasta dinner and headed to bed to make it an early night. Nothing like the beach party at the resort down the street, but since neither of us are 21 any longer and our purpose of the trip is a little more laid back, we are very happy to be at our peaceful beach villa.

Posted by sellnow 20:59 Archived in Greece

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