Chania in December

 

It is early in the morning and the sun is rising in the east over the mountains next to Souda bay.  The sky is blue but still a little pale. The air is fresh and the wind is soft and smooth. Today is Saturday, a busy market day in Chania. We - my wife and I - are driving down to town and at this time of the day we have no problem in finding a parking space for the red Volvo, next to the Agora - the great and big market-hall built in 1913.

As we did not have breakfast "at home", we head for "Iordanis" to have bougatsa, which I believe is a speciality of Crete. Iordanis moved into a new place a couple of years ago, which unfortunately made it loose some of its old atmosphere. The staff is still the same thogh. Four ladies are running the place, no sorry one Queen and three ladies.The Queen handles the money and decides almost everything; her head is high and her eyes can be very black if something is not to her taste. This morning she seems to be in a very good mood, maybe because one of the ladies has just returned from the market with vegetables and fruits, some of it for her. She is very satisfied, especially with the vegetables. Iordanis bougatsa

"Dio me sachari, parakalo; two with sugar, please". The lady behind the desk takes out a newly arrived piece (bougatsa is delivered almost every 30th minute by a boy on a motorbike) and cuts it into 3 cm square pieces and checks if the weight is ok. She adds a small piece and then adds some sugar on top and puts it on a plate. We are served two plates, two glasses of water and the bill is put under the ashtray. It is a good and very tasty start of a new day. Bougatsa is very nice, phyllo pastry with some kindof soft cheese,  I am not sure though. It is not heavy but you don't feel hungry for many hours. Time to pay and leave. The bill should say Drs 1.200 but says 1.600?? The Queen is of course very sorry for the mistake. We don't blame her, it is still early in the morning. Behind her back though the other ladies are smiling.   "Den pirasi, geia sas, it doesn't matter, bye"

Opposite the Agora, on our way to the market street, we pass a man selling koulourakia and manousakia.

We give him a big smile and a very loud and clear "Kalimera, ti kanies simera;" - "good morning, how are you today?".     He is happy and so are we, because sometimes he gets very angry with people not buying from him or greeting him.

 

As we arrive to Laiki, the Saturday market, the sun has made the air a little warmer and you can feel the atmosphere very clearly. Walking down the market street is fantastic, to our right we hear Manolis singing out "Oriste paidia" like a Cretan Carreras. To our right Yannis is singing his song of today: "Tomates poli freska" like a Cretan Dominges. Further down we find the Cretan Pavarotti singing his: "Elate, Elate"  But where is Callas? After 100 metres, there she is, dressed almost like Eliza, quite young with an exciting glimpse in her eyes: "Koulourakia oriste paidia"

Laiki Birte bh

Flowers, vegetables, fruit, fish, wine, olives, tsikoudia, cheese, rabbits, snails, chickens, nuts, vinegar, herbs, shoes, socks, jackets, underwear small and big (I am trying to present my wife with a new sexy bra, you know the one in which she would look like a dangerous panther?  No luck this time though!! Sigh!!), knifes and you name it. From all these things we can feel  the exotic and exciting scents. This is just great. Every colour there might be is presented in a marvellous mixture. What a painting this would be for an artist using all those colours. Of course we are buying too much, it is very hard to resist these fresh products.

 

Walking back to our car is making at least my arms a little longer and the heavy plastic bags is leaving some deep marks in my hands. Strolling around Chania at this time of the year is very nice, not crowded at all. The summer-tavernas and most of the shops selling souvenirs are closed. Now is time to explore the old town, its buildings and its architecture. As a guide we are using a new book "The old town of Chania" written by Michalis Andrianakis. Nice pictures and very easy to follow. After three hours of walking and looking we feel ready for food and therefore we are returning to the Agora again. Theodora runs a small place in the eastern part of the hall. As always we are welcome to join the regular guests like papa Leonidas, Christos, Antonis and so on. As a matter of fact we also feel like regulars. Papa Leonidas, as is the customary, is offering us a glass of the local wine (we brought 10 kilos of it back to Sweden): "Yamas" What to eat? Fricassee, paidakia, brisoles, loukanika, kokoretsi or what? It is Saturday the only day when kokoretsi is served. Of course I go for that.  My wife does not like "inside stuff" so she will have paidakia (the absolutely best in Crete), a Greek salad and some wine (how much will be a secret). All tables are occupied, the atmosphere is just right and the spirits are soon running high. The food is very tasty and just the way it should be.

Maria is busy bringing more wine to the tables and everybody is saying "Yamas" and skål to each other. Food travels across the tables and the company is fantastic. "Grab, eat and drink" is the motto for today. Two hours flies away and it is mystery to us how Maria is able to make the bills. Before we leave, we have another ½ kilo of wine on our table and some loukanika. My wife is paying and we leave one of the best places to eat in Chania. After a while we find the Volvo (it is good you are red my friend) and we push it back home. No not really, my co-driver shows me thumb up ti drive so away we go. Funny, she is singing all the way back and I wonder if it really is  right to trust her telling me to drive. Hmmmmm!?

"Happy days are here again, tra-la-la-la..."

 

Chania stis kardies mas! 

lars and Sofia 

 

 

Laiki in December with Lefka Ori in the background

 

The book about the old town of Chania

 

Bok om gamla Chania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More krasi on the tables