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December 13, 2007

A day out in Rethymno

We took a day out to Rethymno the other day. It is €12 each return, and the buses go between Chania and Rerthymno every hour on the half hour during the day in off-season. Unfortunately we literally just missed a bus as it was turning out of Chania station, so we bought our tickets and paid our first ever visit to Δεκατρια. Well, I say our first ever visit, when K. was here we popped in and bought some take-away ice cream, but we've never sat in it before.

8987_thirteen Δεκατρια, which means Thirteen, is the cafe on the corner of Plateia 1866, where a lot of people seem to hang out to watch the world go by. In fact, although it is thoroughly modern and tourist trap looking, when we walked in it had quite the intimidating air of a καφενιον about it. We quickly scuttled upstairs to leave the men to their cigarettes and newspapers, and sat in what soon became apparent was the ladies and foreigners section.

Rethymno is a beautiful town, with probably a larger original section of Venetian buildings than Hania can muster. We had a good walk around the narrow streets, checking out lots of Christmas baubles and tat. Claire was also looking for a baking tray designed for festive mince pie making.

By contrast with Chania's harbour, Rethymno's had virtually shut down. In the summer Claire had visited with her mum, and they had barely been able to walk around it due to the number of tables and chairs set outside bars and cafes. In December, there was only one open.

We found a spot to eat though, the Samaria. The food was really nice, but the service was a bit so-so. It took ages to get our bill and pay, and to our outrage, there was no free dessert!

8993_rethymnobuilding We then nearly got caught up in the hub-bub of a demo. Rethymno was having a day of action arranged by the local council to protest against the 'criminality' of Ζωνιανα, and to demonstrate that the picture of the Rethymno region being portrayed in the press wasn't a true representation of the area.

We stopped and had a final drink by the sea in a bar under the imposing site of Rethymno's castle, and then made our way back to the bus station. There we witnessed one of my worst fears become a reality. A poor guy had nipped off the Chania - Heraklion bus to go to the toilet whilst it dropped passengers on and off, and picked up the post and parcels. It usually hangs around for a good five minutes. He emerged from the bus station to find that the bus hadn't waited for him!

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