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Experiencing truegreece moments in Rethymno

Chania? Rethymno? Not only their inhabitants are divided on the question which one is Crete’s most beautiful city. So the choice was up to me, too, when I visited Greece this October …

As one of the first “true ambassadors” – a programme launched by the Greek National Tourism Organization – I toured Crete for a week, always in quest of #truegreece moments. I posted impressions, photos, videos and podcast interviews on my Twitter account @TravelLiveCC. My real time report was featured not only on www.TravelLive.cc, but also on other partner websites.

After spending a day in both Chania and Rethymno, I had made my mind up: It was the latter that had charmed me more than any other city … You are asking me why? First of all – I experienced unforgettable encounters with its inhabitants…

Yes, Rethymno is a great place to dive into a unique historical heritage. Memories of its Minoan, Hellenic, Roman, Byzanthine, Venetian, Ottoman and Greek past are woven deeply into its architectural structures. Just beneath a vivid texture of touristic infrastructure, of busy restaurants and buzzy tavernas, you will always discover windows which open into the past.

I strolled through quiet side alleys. I spent an evening at the fortress, watching the sunset in the Aegean Sea. In the fading daylight, it felt like travelling back in time … The world is a stage. Many came here. And yet they stayed for a short time, only to give way to others. Only to disappear without a trace. The dome of Sultan Ibrahim’s mosque. The remains of the Bishop's Palace. As different as we are: In the mirror of eternity, we are brothers and sisters.

And yet, it was not the past that charmed me as much as the present. Most of the day, I spent in the company of people from Rethymno. Katerina, the hotel owner. Pepi, the Vice-Mayor. Petros, the waiter. They told me stories that touched my soul. Stories that enriched and inspired me by the end of the day.

Looking for a place with Wifi, I dropped in a restaurant that pleased me at first glance: locals at the tables, a relaxed atmosphere. Soon, I was deep in conversation with the waiter. A little bit later, I asked him whether there was Wifi since I wanted to post my pictures, videos and impressions from the Fortezza. The waiter said no – and there it was, the #truegreece moment: "What’s your name? Gunter? I’m Petros. Now you don’t have Wifi - but you have a friend".

Thinking back to Rethymno, it’s the city where I found friends … You think, Rethymno is special? You’re right. For sure, you will find friends in any Greek city if you are open for encounters with its inhabitants. Just as I was able to experience during my stay as true ambassador. So start talking to the people - and you'll experience #truegreece!

 

Günter Exel, www.TravelLive.cc

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