Aptera Ruins, Georgioupolis & Gavalochori Villages, Chania's Market Square
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Give the Greeks credit: They could concoct a myth to explain anything. Or, if necessary, two.
Ancient Aptera, for example. It was named after Apteron, a mythic king of Crete.
Or it may come from the ancient Greek for "without wings," and the victory of the Muses over the winged Sirens in a singing competition. The Sirens were so distressed that they lost their wings and plunged into Souda Bay, becoming the islands you can see today.
Whatever the inspiration, the city thrived for at least a thousand years, until a devastating earthquake and pillaging pirates ended its run around the 7th Century A.D.
Gavalochori, our next stop, has held up better, and is in fact a protected site because of its unique architecture. The gleaming white streets are lined with stone houses, colorful flower gardens, and churches from the 1500s. This small village produces olives, figs, almonds, and honey the way it's been done for centuries, and you can sample some in shops and cafes.
You'll also visit Georgioupolis, a quaint fishing village at the foot of green hills. Admire the colorful boats bobbing in the harbor, and the long, sandy beaches stretching eastward. Relax over wine or potent Cretan coffee under the shade of eucalyptus trees in the town square.
Following a brief guided tour of the Venetian and Turkish landmarks in Chania's Old Town, you'll have time to roam the shops, stalls, and cafes of the Central Market, the city's architectural jewel. Interestingly, Chania's name derives from Kydon, son of a Cretan princess and Apollo, or Hermes. The Greeks didn't let details get in the way of a good myth.
Aptera's Got Talent
American Idol, The Voice, and The X-Factor are not new ideas. Several ancient myths tell of singing contests like the one at Aptera involving the Muses. Challenging these goddesses of music, dance, and poetry (and daughters of Zeus, an even more intimidating presence than Simon Cowell) had serious consequences: Besides de-feathering the Sirens, they blinded a boastful Thracian and turned the daughters of King Pierus into songbirds.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.