Monday, September 28, 2009

Celebrating International Tourism Day - Sept. 27th

Don't think we realized there was such a celebration until we experienced it first-hand on Sunday during our visit to Rethymno, a port city with a strong Venetian influence, about 45 minutes from our Venetian Chania. We'd heard talk at our pool bar about the celebration but hadn't paid much attention to it.

We stumbled across the Rethymno Tourism headquarters about 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning and found they had set up cocktail tables outside their building decked out with white table cloths and at one end of their courtyard they served tea and cookies and on the other end poured glasses of wine and appetizers. Inside tables were set up like a cruise ship buffet -- including the carved watermelons -- and all of which were Cretan specialities.

Another table offered brochures and information about the prefecture (county) of Rethymno. Staff members assured me this was an annual celebration and one it appears taken quite seriously. Back 'home' in Hania, we didn't get a chance to visit the tourism center, but noted two huge fireworks displays over the bay at nightfall.

Speaking of tourism, the Europeans are not paying heed to 'staycations' like Americans. This northwestern end of Crete is full of tourists, they are filling restaurants, spilling out on to the streets -- a fellow guest at Lefka Apts. tells us there are 15 flights a day from Norway to Crete. . . .tourism seems alive and well here - no wonder such spectacular celebrations.

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