Crete: Discovering the West

Discover the west.

This was an organised excursion through thomson/first choice that I hadn’t really wanted to do beforehand, but after missing out on Phaestos and Gortys, I agreed to this trip. So after a whole day relaxing by the pool we set off on a trip to Hania via Souda Bay and followed by a visit to a small family business where they make olive oil, raki, ouzo and wine.

As the first stop, Souda Bay was possibly my favourite place of the day and I really had not expected that. It’s a simple stop and there is little point in staying there too long. It’s a war cemetery for the allied forces that lost their lives during WW2 on Crete. I believe there’s also a German cemetery further west. The immaculate and uniformed rows of headstones aren’t all labelled but a good portion are and there are lovely poetic red flowers blooming in and around them. At least they were blooming when I was lucky enough to visit.

From Souda Bay we continued west to Hania and,  I have to say, at first I was disappointed. I think the memories of Rhodes were far too prominent in my mind becausr I was expecting Hania’s Venetian fortress to be like the walls of Rhodes old town. Except they’re barely even still there. I was expecting the ‘brilliant’ shopping of Hania to resemble the winding atmospheric traditional lanes of Rhodes old town. Nope. Not that shopping on holiday excites me. It just didn’t look how I’d pictured it. I was picturing Rhodes!

Not wanting to shop or go in the museum (because all the books say Heraklion’s are better) we opted to wander around the harbour and find somewhere to have lunch. It might have been touristy and not 100% traditional but the lunch we shared felt pretty damn Greek to me. We shared a mixed grill and it was meatylicious! Plus we got to watch the world go by until we walked along the harbour front with all the Venetian facade buildings.

We did then spend a little bit too long waiting for the coach as did quite a few others. Which perhaps wasn’t made better by the final stop. I did find the methods for making raki and ouzo fascinating (I must still try raki) but it wasn’t essential and was not on the itinerary along with the twenty odd minutes that we got to spend at lake Kournas – it was a lake!

In the end I enjoyed the trip more than I had expected but in hindsight I might not do it again. The fantastically relaxed meal by the harbour could have been done anywhere and the raki making wasn’t good enough. Souda Bay was definitely worth a visit but could perhaps have been done on public transport. So, this Thomson excursion was a bit of a bust.

~ Persephone M

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