This port of call probably was the location we had the most difficulty prior to the cruise planning what to do for the day. In the end we settled on taking a tour that would take us to the village of Vamos with a few points of interest in that general area. We figured that we would have plenty of time to look around Chania itself on our own after the tour. With Azamara Journey anchored off the coast we took a tender to shore to meet up with our tour guide. This particular guide might just be the most memorable of the entire trip - but maybe not for the reasons that should matter. We'd describe her as a combination performance artist/naturopath/plant guru - and that made for an unusual style of tour to say the least. There were clearly some in the group that liked her style. We weren't in that number.
Vamos is understood to have been first inhabited by Arab pirates in the 8th century when Greece was under Turkish authority. What it is today is just a sleepy little village. The village's main square was just an intersection of two small roads - no much of a square about it at all. There was really nothing that unique to Vamos to our eyes, although some of the buildings had been restored to highlight the history of the area. What the area did have was nice scenery of some of Crete's mountains. From the village of Vamos we travelled about 2 km to Agios Georgios Church and the remains of the Karydi Monastery. The Monastery was founded in the 1600s and in the 1800s they began olive oil production until 1923 when the monastery and much of the surrounding olive groves were destroyed. It was fascinating to wander around the ruins in the beautiful landscape. The visit here was for sure the highlight of the tour but included a want to forget moment when our tour guide broke into song - apparently recreating a song the monks would sing as they pressed the olives.
Our tour continued to Braoudakis Winery - a family run operation producing both wine & olives. To our tastes, neither was good. It was a small operation and we aren't really sure how they stay in business except maybe by receiving these sorts of tours perhaps. We would have preferred to pass on experiencing this place. Fortunately, the stay wasn’t too long and we were on our way back to Chania. On the bus ride our guide was explaining that we'd be dropped off in a central location in Chania and then she would lead the group on foot back to the old harbour area. It was then that we figured we could leave the group once we got off the bus - we could find our own way back to the port after we explored Chania a bit. We weren't the only people with that in mind, by the way.
It was a hot sunny day, so we took every opportunity to enjoy some shade as we toured around Chania. We knew that we'd be having an early dinner to accommodate our evening plans, so we decided against stopping for a proper lunch while in Chania. We shopped as we wandered and found a fantastic art market were we did find some things to buy - what we saw there was certainly the best quality stuff we had seen anywhere so far on this trip - and that turned out also to be true for anything we saw after as well. With Azamara Journey anchored off the coast of the old Venetian port it made it easy to explore that area just before returning to the ship in the afternoon. We would be back in the harbour for the evening, but wanted to recharge a little in some comfort before that.
Once onboard Azamara Journey we took in some espresso & light bites at Mosaic Café and then followed that with a few more light bites with wine at the Patio. Come to think of it, we actually grazed for the late afternoon/early evening - after getting cleaned up and changed we went to Windows Café for some more light bites in advance of heading ashore for the Azamazing Evening - a performance by pianist Andreas Boutsikakis in the Mosque Square of the old Venetian harbour. We could see the preparations for the concert from the balcony of our room on Azamara Journey. The tender process was quite orderly considering how may people were being taken ashore from the ship. It was a very short walk to the location of the concert and we were offered wine on arrival as we found some seats. The venue of Mosque Square was terrific, and we were able to see the sun setting over the harbour to our right as the concert proceeded through the evening. The concert was enjoyable and at the conclusion fireworks were set off over the harbour. It had been a much better experience than our first Azamazing Evening in Bangkok on our 2013 Asia Cruise.
Following the concert we returned to Azamara Journey and made our way to Windows Café for some more light bites and wine to conclude our grazing for the day. We opted to sit outside in the Sunset Bar to enjoy this late respite. One slight hiccup here - a servers spilled red wine on Linda's dress, but the staff there handled the situation well in the aftermath and gave Linda a dry cleaning voucher. That turned out not to be necessary - some club soda and hand soap did the trick to remove the stain. Even with the mishap it was a nice end to the day in Chania out on the open deck before calling it a night and heading back to our room.
WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.