Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rethymno, Crete

So earlier this year my mom and I had decided to go to England for vacation in November.  My mom has a timeshare, so we were going to use that for the hotel and then my miles for the plane ticket.  Unfortunately, the timeshare wasn't available.  So I told my mom to just call the timeshare people and ask what was available in Europe.  I think she said yes to the first place they named -- Crete.  Too bad they didn't actually check to make sure the hotels were open when we wanted to go.  Basically, the hotel was closing two days before we planned to leave.  We just paid for a hotel in town for those last two days.

Anyway, for 10 days we lived in a small town outside of Rethymno.  Rethymno, to be fair, is also a small town, but we are talking Crete where pretty much every town is small.

Rethymno is a cute fishing town with an old, now unused, mosque and Venetian fort (required for any sizable town on Crete) and a Venetian fountain (required of all settlements on Crete).

One note about Crete that really surprised us: an amazing amount of graffiti.  It didn't matter where you were, there was spray paint on the wall.  And very little of it was interesting -- it mas mostly just untalented kids tagging.  I actually don't mind graffiti if it is interesting, but I despise it when it is just someone unimaginatively written name.

A little socioeconomic information:  Crete is one of the wealthiest areas of Greece (4th wealthiest region and first wealthiest island).  A large percentage of Europe's olive oil is produced on the island and Crete also houses 2/3 of Europe's greenhouses.  So the economic crisis wasn't really something we heard a lot about on Crete.  A few people mentioned that they thought it was better when they had the Drachma.  And they did choose their new Prime Minister when we were there (actually the day before we went to Athens).

Crete is a really interesting and beautiful island.  Mountains in the center, beautiful beaches around the edge.  And Crete is home to the first advanced European society -- the Minoans.  We spent a lot of time exploring their palaces, graves, and just enjoying their interesting history.

But our first day we spent in Rethymno.


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The best baklava in Greece:

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This is the pre-basketball game police line-up:

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Possibly the best graffiti in Rethymno:

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