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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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).