weekend in montreal

montreal canada travel montréal old port winter north america

 

 

Lunch: Les Enfants Terribles; penthouse of one of the tallest buildings in Montreal; viewing terrace but not good when it’s foggy out. Evidently

 

 

 

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montreal canada travel montréal old port winter north america

 

Bar: Big in Japan, $16 drinks

Club: La Vôute; free entry, $12 drinks, Old Port

Vintage shopping: Empire Exchange, Citizen Vintage, Sachika (more expensive); all on Saint Laurent Boulevard

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crete, greece | κρητη

 

crete greece santorini mykonos travel rethymno chania heraklion europe

My Greek friend told me the other day that Cretans are crazy. “You’ll notice if you ever, like, talk to one,” she told me. As our first stop in Greece, I have to say I couldn’t tell the difference, but I did get the sense from our first taxi drive who drove so haphazardly we I thought we’d fly off the edge of the hills overlooking the Mediterranean.

Crete is Greece’s largest island, marked by historical landmarks like the ruins of the Minaon civilization, and often overshadowed by its touristy counterparts, Santorini and Mykonos. Crete is easily as far from what you’d picture of Greece based on Instagram thank you’d think (as is the rest of Greece, and Athens especially).

crete greece santorini mykonos travel rethymno chania heraklion europe

arrival

The day we arrived, Crete was recovering from a sweep of wildfires that had killed dozens of people. We flew in on a red-eye from Shanghai, through a transfer at Abu Dhabi, before taking the shakiest Sky Express flight to Crete. We flew from Shanghai to Athens via Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airlines. I got to listen to the fusha playing over the Etihad speakers and was forced to eat the weird mixture of Chinese ramen noodles and a ham sandwich they fed us.

I came down with something on the flight, and so I spent that first great (great) day withering in bed while my parents strolled around the city. Our hotel was perched in the middle of one of Heraklion’s many winding hills, in the center of the capital city with everything important within walking distance, but because I was sick, we took a cab, fixed the price, and had the driver drive us too all of the important sites.

rethymno

We ended up choosing three cities to visit in Crete: Heraklion, where we were staying, and then Rethymno, and Chania, both reachable by a single train that costs a few euros. In simplicity, Heraklion is a port city, Rethymno was marked by a fortress overlooking the city, and Chania has the most beautiful, bustling boardwalk I’ve ever seen.

On this fateful day I decided to forget to put on sunscreen and agree to an hour-long walk at noon. And so today, five months later, I still tan lines from the dress I wore that day. On our walk up to the Fortezza of Rethymno I saw no less than 5 groups of already-burnt Italian grandmas sunbathing in tube floats. The fortress was built by Venetians, conquered by the Ottomans, and then obliterated in World War II (except for a few buildings. It was essentially patches of dead grass surrounded by old walls.

We had a quick lunch at a mom-and-pop shop and explored its colorful winding streets.

chania

Chania (pronounced kheni-YA, not chaneeya, not khaniya, because of the accent on the a in Greek), It might have something to do with the fact that we got there at sunset. We made our way through dozens of shops and maitre-ds shouting “ni hao” at us to get to to the promenade. With the backdrop of the Mediterranean sunset and the Chanian lighthouse in the distance, we made our way around the half-circle of shops and buildings, watched fishermen fish, and children dip their toes in the water. We sat down to dinner at a restaurant facing the water and I can tell you there’s no better sight.

heraklion

We circled our back to Heraklion on the last day to see the historical sites in the capital. At Knossos Palace, we saw the ruins of the Minoan civilization (where the Minotaur legend comes from, who lived in the Labyrinth that King Minos created), which was later absorbed by the Mycenaean civilization. In the palace you’ll find the first working toilet, used by a queen at one point. The rest of the excavations can be found in the Heraklion Archaelogical Museum.

My two biggest takeaways from Crete: Chania, as with the other places, is a must-see in Greece, and that the chicken I had at the Aquila Atlantis Hotel is the juiciest chicken I’ve ever had, hands-down.

places i want to visit next

Nigeria

I’ve yet to visit anywhere south of Egypt in Africa, but from what I know it is full of life and color. Traditional Nigerian clothes are one of the only ones I can distinguish based on what I see here in the United States and I think it’s important for me to see a place that is different from all the others I’ve been to before. I’m also dying to see Lagos, its capital city. It also shocked me the other day that Nigeria has 90 million people, and Africa’s largest population. Why have I not known this, and why don’t more people go?

Tunisia

I hate to admit that my images of Tunisia are marred by the images of the resort massacre from a few years ago. My Middle Eastern politics classes  have tended to focus on countries other than Tunisia, and so that image has stayed put. Recently, I did a project where I learned more about the Jasmine Revolution, Ben Ali, Tribilsi family corruption, etc. My friend has also mentioned that Tunisia is her favorite country in the world (as Egypt or something is mine). I am also trying to make my way through North Africa, and the rest of the MIddle East, through Algeria and Morocco. When you Google Tunis, it looks like a Mediterranean paradise. It looks like an authentic version of resort-season Bahamas. Again, trying to fight my own false conceptions.

 

Ireland, Scotland, etc.

I’ve yet to visit any good, old-timey castles in my life, and I’m a sucker for historical shit. I’ve dreamed of living in a castle (but also not really, because they’re scary), and have been dying to visit Neuschwanstein and the like. I’ve visited my fair share of castles, mainly throughout Eastern Europe, but never any proper gray ones with a moat. I think that’s what Ireland and Scotland would give me. Not to mention I absolutely love landscapes of green grass with low fog, a la Ed Sheeran’s Castle on a Hill music video.

 

South America

Literally anywhere in South America. I know so little about it that it hurts to think about. I’d love to see Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, you name it. Colombia. All I can imagine is colorful architecture and rolling mountains. There is a livelihood in almost every South American I’ve met in college and I’m eager to see the origins of that. I feel like there is also a sense of playfulness and carefreeness that I don’t really find in China or the U.S.

 

Georgia

The country, not the U.S. state. (Although I’d love to visit that one too, outside of an airport.) Georgia is the little-known, easily forgotten country wedged between Russia and Armenia. It’s the wine capital of the world. It’s language is crazy and I’m dying to attempt to learn even just its alphabet. From the photos I’ve seen it looks like a mixture of Soviet architecture sitting in perfectly kept, traditional landscapes.

 

Malta

I’ve half-planned trips to this country on multiple occasions with different people. One of my best friends from high school is American and Maltese, and she was one of my first introductions to Malta. Aside from that, the Maltese language is like a Romanized version of Arabic, and the similarities are crazy. Most importantly, to me at least, Malta is at the crux of numerous empires and wars in history: from the Ottomans to the Holy Roman Empire, Malta was used as a loading dock for weapons and ships and whatnot and thus has been influenced by Western and Eastern things a like, Christian and Islamic.

greenwich, connecticut

 

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halloween

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I dressed up as the yodeling boy from Walmart for Halloween. The rest are photos from Claire’s disposable and Julia’s party.

 

 

 

 

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this weekend on film

My friend Claire brought her disposable to a party we went to on Friday. Our friend Peyton threw a toga/Roman/Greek-themed party but some of us just showed up in white (like me) or other costumes.

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