This was our last full day in Réthymno, and our agenda was modest indeed—to visit the city’s Historical and Folk Art Museum, and to buy a couple of small items we needed: a pair of shoelaces for me, since I’d broken one and made very temporary repairs, and a bungee cord to keep our small suitcase in position on the top of my big one when rolling. All our schlepping and scrambling on the day we arrived had revealed a slippage-and-slidage tendency on the part of this recalcitrant satchel, tending to disturb the overall balance of the load. The patient beast of burden—that would be me—was forced to exert an inconvenient quantity of pressure, first one way, then the other, to keep things rolling smoothly along.
Alt Tag
To illustrate, if you'll allow me, I'll revert to a picture (or rather, part of a picture) that appeared on an earlier page. I was sitting at a table in Vrísses, and our luggage was parked against the tree behind me. You can see the badly behaved small bag (black) sitting on top of my large bag—which, although almost totally obscured by Dorothea's large bag, looks exactly the same except for a slight difference of color.

After a fine Idéon breakfast, we asked the desk clerks where we might look for the articles we needed. They weren’t sure about bungee cords, but for shoelaces they recommended a cobbler’s shop and gave us directions.
Old Venetian Harbor, Réthymno
On the way, we took a short detour to the city’s Venetian Harbor, which was only a block or so from the hotel. At night there were bright lights all around it, and an old-fashioned “pirate ship” was moored there, for atmospheric rather than looting-and-plundering purposes. In pictures (like this one, found on the Web) the circular inlet resembled a smaller version of the Outer Harbor in Chaniá. But we found it much more highly concentrated. The quay was completely covered by the tables, umbrellas, and awnings of fish tavernas, one after another, filling the space so tightly that you’d have to engage a table on the outer edge if you wanted to see the water. Instead we followed a narrow inner path through a kind of tunnel of tavernas, every one of which seemed to have a tout assigned to invite us for lunch. We’d just eaten breakfast, and as Greek lunchtime was still hours away, they weren’t especially insistent. Still, it was with a slight sense of escape that we got back to the wide and sunny commercial street leading to the shoe shop.

Thanks to Dorothea’s Greek (and to her finding out from the hotel clerks how to say ‘shoelaces’ in that language) we completed our first errand without difficulty.

She asked the shoemaker if he knew a possible source of bungee cords, and he directed us to a shop near the Municipal Gardens. It wasn’t where we thought we were supposed to find it, but we found a camping store not far away that might have been the one he meant.

We tried it, but without success—no bungee cords. The owner suggested another store, back near our hotel, and we turned our steps that way. En route, we checked a store that seemed to be selling mostly clothing that had been imported from Asia—as had all of the store’s staff that we could see—but bungee cords were not among their wares. So we continued toward the shop that the camping store owner had recommended.

However, as we were passing a hardware store, it suddenly dawned on me that when I needed a bungee cord at home I always went to the local Ace Hardware. We stepped inside this one, and there they were: dozens of bungee cords, hanging on the wall right behind the cash register. So we completed our second errand.
Historical and Folk Art Museum
As for the remaining item on our list, we weren’t far from the Historical and Folk Art Museum, and were soon there. It’s housed in a beautifully restored Venetian mansion. Before we went in, we rested our feet for a while, sitting in the quiet courtyard. The museum has two sections, one for history and the other for folk art. The first section had some interesting photographs and maps, but we spent most of our time in the second, which was full of the traditional work of Réthymno’s women (not only in the city—Réthymno is also the name of the whole section of Crete, from coast to coast, that is under that city’s jurisdiction). We saw the products of weaving, embroidery, crocheting and tatting, all beautifully done. Dorothea was reminded once again of her grandmother’s needlework.
Cretan handcraft work—all by one woman
One spectacular exhibit was set up as a room entirely furnished with textiles that one woman, using all the techniques listed above, had made or embellished with her own hands, right down to the rugs on the floor. She was a local gentlewoman, back in the 19th century, who took up the cause of preserving (and, when necessary, reviving) traditional crafts. Unfortunately, we didn’t record her name, and none of the descriptions of the museum I could find on the Web is complete enough to supply it. The overall effect may be a little rich for 21st-century tastes—the 19th century might have experienced it differently—but the quality as well as the quantity of the individual pieces is dazzling, and the dramatic effect of the whole display can’t be denied.

Not all the exhibits were textiles—there were also farm implements, examples of the tinsmith’s art, and a few traditional musical instruments. (Réthymno, so I’ve read, still has instrument makers of high repute.)
At the Fanári taverna
When we left the museum, heading back toward the Idéon, it was about 2:00pm, time for lunch. We decided to return to the Fanári, where we had eaten dinner on Wednesday night. The wind was still strong from the water side, and some of the plastic curtains were closed, but it was nevertheless pleasant to eat outdoors (albeit a version of ‘outdoors’ kept partially at bay by the curtains), and the sea view was improved by sunlight. (There were other diners besides us, but as Dorothea's picture shows, no one ventured to sit all the way outside in the wind.) We shared a starter of baked eggplant with mizíthra and graviéra cheese (which Dorothea had had as her main dish on our first visit), and a Cretan salad with wild greens, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, graviéra, and a balsamic dressing. And both of us ordered the same main course: pork with mushrooms in wine sauce. A half-liter of house white wine went delightfully with all of this.

The narrative so far makes it sound as though we were making a beeline from one destination to another, but in fact we managed to stroll down a number of Old Town’s charming streets.
Venetian doorway, 1609
We saw more than one Venetian doorway that recalled the Renaissance. Not many buildings from that time were as fully and lovingly restored as the Historical and Folk Art Museum, but many a doorway testifies to the willingness of wealthy and prominent families to build their houses outside the walls of the Fortezza. This doorway bears the following inscription in Latin: “A House Shining with Virtue—First (kalends, abbreviated to kal), ) of June, 1609.” The family name isn’t carved over the door, but the coat of arms would have provided that information at the time.
Houses with Turkish-style ‟balconies”
One thing we hadn’t happened to see during our wanderings in Chaniá was houses with wooden projections on their second stories that overhung the street. This was a characteristic of The Turks’ building style, which in many other respects was similar to the Venetians’. (If we had spent some time exploring Splantzia, the Turkish neighborhood of Chaniá, we might have seen the same kind of houses there.)

The surviving mosques of course also recalled the Turkish period. We passed the large Nerantzes mosque, which began life as a Venetian Franciscan church, and is now the home of a local music school.
Nerantzes mosque and minaret
The minaret of this mosque has been under repair for some time—it was going on when our copy of the Lonely Planet guide (published in 2008) was being written, and was still not completed when we saw it—possibly a victim of the economic situation. The minaret was built in 1890, only a few years before the Ottomans had to surrender their power in Crete—I don’t know whether its current state of disrepair was caused by faulty construction, long neglect, or Christian vengefulness after the Turks departed.

When we returned to the hotel at about 4:00, we inquired after our laundry, and were relieved to find that it was done. We took it up to our room, and I went back down to the ground floor, hoping to make a connection to the Internet on the public computer there, but it couldn’t be made to work. The same thing had happened on a previous occasion. The hotel charged €3.00 per hour, but since I couldn’t connect, even with a staff member trying to help, I didn’t have to pay it.
Dining terrace at Castelvecchio
So we rested and read until it was time to think about dinner. At about 8:00, we left the hotel and headed for the narrow road—it has some steps and is really more like a path—that we had ascended to get to the Fortezza. On the way up the hill we had passed an attractive restaurant named Castelvecchio that had gotten good reviews, and that’s where we went now. Dorothea described it thus: “It’s a lovely restaurant with seats outside, overlooking the Old Town, with the fort above. Red flowers bloomed on vines above and outside the restaurant.” This picture, like the one below, is from the restaurant's own website; it shows the terrace where we sat. We were there after dark, of course, so what we could see of the Old Town was its lights, rather than its houses (which don't show clearly in the picture, anyway).

We began with a Greek salad, after which I had lamb krasáto, or ‘wined lamb’—it was literally cooked in wine, or krasí. Dorothea ordered souzoukákia, the Réthymno-style meatballs she had had at Kyría María, but these were a little different, having no cinnamon among their ingredients, which made the taste of cumin a little more prominent. She talked to our waiter (who seemed to be the owner or at least the owner’s son) about how it was made, and he told her that the meatballs were fried, like keftédes, and the sauce was made in a blender at the last minute, from tomato and feta cheese. There was no flour in the sauce; all the thickening was done by the feta, which had to be a creamy rather than a crumbly variety. To go with these red-meat dishes, we’d ordered a half-liter of house red wine, which we found rich and just a bit funky, but nicely so. The complimentary dessert for each of us was a piece of very nice karidópita (walnut cake).
The Castelvecchio from outside
At the end of the meal, as we were leaving, Dorothea had a friendly conversation in Greek with the waiter’s mother, who told her that the restaurant is entirely a family affair. Her husband is the chef de cuisine, and the young man who waited on us is indeed his son, whose 6-year-old daughter had been around all evening. He’s married to an Englishwoman, so the little girl is half English. The two grandmothers agreed on how nice it is to have children and grandchildren close by. (Author’s note: this arrangement may be a little easier for Greeks to achieve than it is for many Americans, including us.)