Old Town Chania by Foot

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Cheese and honey stand inside the agora

While the first week of our honeymoon went by slowly (in a very good way), the second week flew by.  And just like that, we were leaving Crete already.  Since we had used Chania as a home base and took numerous day trips out to the coast and gorge, we wanted to use our last day on the island to explore Old Chania by day and the Venetian Harbor.  By this point, we already knew the streets of old town well, so we wandered briefly to do some shopping before hitting up the Municipal Market, otherwise known as the Agora.  Set in an old warehouse building, the market was a huge cross-shaped structure comprised of stands along each of the four extensions, selling local goods ranging from produce, herbs, spices, meat, fish, raki, and souvenirs.  Our favorite spot was a little store that sold homemade olive oils from their farm, which operated strictly as a small family business.  You could tell how much love and pride went into their products as the woman at the store explained the painstaking process of harvesting olives and producing extra virgin olive oil, as well as the various types of other oils they carried.  We bought a medium-sized bottle to support their business, of course, but it was really interesting and humbling to hear about how much olive oil can be the livelihood of this particular family.

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Inside the massive market.  You could literally find every possible gift here.

Without a real destination in mind, we wandered a bit more and discovered a very curious display of what we thought was a soccer goods storefront.  Upon walking in and poking around a bit more, we found that we had stumbled across what was in fact the Museum of the Greek National Football Team.  For a country that didn’t really have too much of a (successful) history with soccer (sorry Greeks), it was a bit surprising that there was an entire museum dedicated to their national team.  But after walking through the exhibits, it became clear that the Greeks are just as crazy about their team, and the sport, as any other country.  The man working there was the president of the national team supporters club, so he had accumulated quite the collection of signed game-worn jerseys and game-used balls for some of the country’s biggest appearances, including the Euro Cup 2004 finals and their appearance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  The latter was of particular interest to us because we too were at one of those games in Brazil, featuring Greece vs. Costa Rica (the game that SHOULD’VE included Italy, England, or the Ivory Coast!).  But it was cool to see our travels come full circle here in Greece.  The museum wasn’t just about Greece though, as it featured game-worn jerseys for some of the sport’s biggest stars of our era, including Beckham, Ronaldo, and Zidane.

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Random, but super fun museum about Greek and international football
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Jersey wall of every important player in Greek football history
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The real deal – 2004 Euro Cup trophy!  Coincidentally, the only major piece of soccer hardware belonging to Greece…
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Game-worn David Beckham jersey from what appears to be a 2-2 draw between England and Greece
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Game ball from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.  Our next destination!
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Signed game ball from the 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals game we attended – Greece vs. Costa Rica (Costa Rica won on penalties – worst way to finish!)

By this point, there wasn’t a lot of time left so we made sure to squeeze in one more ice cream outing, while walking around the mosque, lighthouse, and artillery in the Old Venetian Harbor to see everything by day heading to the airport.  Since we had taken a ferry to Crete, we hadn’t realized until now how tiny the airport in Chania was – it only had about 8 gates!  Like novices, we’d forgotten about some of the wares we’d bought earlier in the day, and failed to realized the pocket knife Doug bought for his brother was in his carry-on!  Luckily for us, he didn’t get anything on his permanent record as it was only a pocket knife, and was subject to official review, but unfortunately, the woman working was a miserable lady or needed a gift for someone, and she opted to confiscate it.  For more on our adventures upon landing in Athens, read on at “Adventures of Greek Opie“…

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Venetian Lighthouse in Chania’s harbor, originally built in the 16th century
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Ancient neoria, or arsenal buildings, along the waterfront
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The Giali Tzamissi (Turkish for seaside mosque) is the oldest Muslim building in Crete

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