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Crete, Greece: Matala back to Chania, Day 11

Laura in Chania, Crete

Laura in Chania, Crete

From Matala back to the city…

It took almost an entire day to get back to Chania.  This time, the buses were not on schedule and the route was unclear.

Bravery might be the most essential quality for a bus driver in Crete – they regularly pass through small villages, and on narrow roads, with just an inch of leeway between the bus and other cars, goats, children, and motorbikes.  Sometimes the bus just waits while people ahead have a mid-road chat on a single lane road.  Urgency is not a part of the culture here.  I like it.

Boarding our final bus, I noted the driver’s gold-rimmed glasses and black thinning hair coiffed into a limp pompadour.  An Elvis figurine swung above his head.  Later, Max and I strike up conversation with this man.  He went to Memphis last year for his honeymoon, seeing Graceland at last.  Elvis again!  It seems that American culture has seeped into every nook and cranny of the world.

Old door in Chania, Crete, Greece

Old door in Chania, Crete, Greece

Back in Chania

We return to the same hotel where we met.  Max goes to look for Hans at the harbor and I take some time by myself on the hotel’s terrace.  I’m thinking about how the last ten days have seemed like a whirlwind and a dream and then I hear a low grumble and an earthquake strikes, shaking me into the now.  Panic runs through my veins.  My eyes shoot upwards to the five-story ancient stone building beside me.  I run to find a doorway (San Francisco childhood training that seemed woefully inadequate at this moment).  When the shaking stops the hotel’s host comes to me to see if I am ok.  “That was a big one.” she said, and I agree.  It turned out to be a 6.4, exactly the same magnitude of the earthquake I experienced in Picton, New Zealand.  I spend the next hour shaking and fearful of aftershocks.  Lucky for me and the city there was only minor damage.

I meet up with Hans and Max at the harbor.  Lots of wine has already been consumed and I am late to the party.  Hours pass, while carafe after carafe is delivered and of course, more raki.  Even after the sun goes down the air is so warm.  Classical music pours out of the bar.  It’s a magical night with tons of laughs and stories.  Finally, after midnight, Hans and Max say their goodbyes.  Perhaps they will meet up in Cuba later this year.  Max and I stumble back to the hotel to catch a couple hours of sleep before the alarm sounds.  With a hug goodbye, Max leaves in the wee hours of the morning.

My day, and a new chapter, is just beginning…

A shaky view of Chania’s harbor on this night:

Photos of the Day:

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