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Crete Island - Meeting point of Civilizations

Greetings to everyone who has a travelling spirit and loves travelling,

Hello friends, I aim to bring you the places I have travelled and the unique experiences I have had on my blog and take you with me while sailing to new adventures . I travelled abroad for the first time when I was 13 years old and from the moment I stepped abroad, I was lost in the unique feeling of seeing a new country and experiencing a new culture. Later on, discovering the Erasmus Plus programme and travelling to more than 13 countries thanks to Erasmus at the age of 19 made me realise that travelling is a passion for me when I look in the mirror.

Our route today is Crete Island. Crete is an island that lived under Ottoman rule for more than 200 years, so it is not surprising to see Ottoman architecture. At the same time, since this island was under Venetian and Greek rule for many years, it will not be a coincidence to see architectural structures built with a Hellenistic understanding. Of course, as a result of the research I did before going to the island, I would like to add that there are events that I am very sad for myself, the story of the nearly 1 million Muslim islanders who were separated from their homeland during the population exchange is heartbreaking. Now this man tells this story, but how did he go and what did he do and how much did this trip cost, I seem to hear friends who ask, let me answer immediately 0 Turkish lira. The Erasmus Plus Youth Exchange project, which will be held in Chania, Crete, is a name given to projects written on different topics centred on increasing the cultural interaction of European youth, funded by the European Union, with accommodation, food and beverage and transport costs entirely belonging to the European Union. As soon as I found out that I was selected for the project, I bought my flight tickets within the budget given to me and invoiced them - don't worry, they will be reimbursed - on the last day of the project, I submitted all my invoices in a single file, including my transportation costs from the city centre to the place where the project will take place, and 2 months later I received my reimbursement in Euros.

On the evening of the 3rd day of the project I decided to spend the free time allocated to the participants by going to the city centre of Chania. In order to use the buses to the city centre I had to buy a one-way ticket for 1.10 Euros, tickets are sold in most supermarkets. I showed my ticket and the driver tore my single-use ticket and took me on the bus. The journey to the city centre took about 25 minutes and I arrived at the city centre. The first smell I smelled as soon as I got off the bus was the smell of Gyros. In fact, this smell is not foreign to us at all, if I were in Turkey, I would have thought it was Döner. I entered the shop with quick steps and started to talk to the shop owner, I asked the prices and ordered 1 Chicken Gyros which was 4.30 Euros and the total price I paid was 5.20 Euros with coke. The difference from the döner we know is that they added yoghurt and cucumber sliced with yoghurt called Cacıki, apart from these, the portion was close to 150 grams and it was very satisfying, we can call it a price performance product on a touristic Greek island. After eating, as I knew from my researches before coming to the island, I set off towards the Küçük Hasan Pasha Mosque, which is very close to the harbour of Chania, and I continued my walk with admiring glances at the unique mixture of Ottoman, Venetian and Greek architecture while passing through the street they call Old Town. I learnt from a Cretan friend of mine that the shop called Xamam was actually an Ottoman bath, but when it was not used for a long time, it was restored by a local businessman and turned into a clothing shop. After a walk of about 10-12 minutes, I arrived at the harbour of Chania. At around 9 pm, the vibrancy of the coastline and the sounds of live music made you feel like you were in the Greek islands again. I step towards the Küçük Hasan Pasha Mosque on my right, the exterior of the mosque has not been defeated by the years and winks at you with all its splendour as on the first day. I ask the attendant in front of the mosque if I can go inside and I learn that the mosque is under renovation and I can't go inside. I sit on the bench near the mosque and compare it with the old photos and I think that the mosque must be a little worn out but it is still standing. Then I start walking along the coast and pass by many Taverna shops. Taverna means "any kind of restaurant" in New Greek, but it can also be called a tavern with music, but as my Cretan friends call it, it is the meeting point of Cretans every weekend . The melodies I heard while passing by the taverns did not sound foreign at all and were enough to make me feel like I was in a tavern. After a few minutes of walking, I entered a shop to buy souvenirs for my friends in Turkey and left the shop with a few evil eye beads with Crete written on them. I walked to the bus stop with running steps to catch the last bus and arrived at the place where the project was held with the last bus. After putting my head on the pillow, I fell asleep while thinking about what I would do on the 5th day of the project when we were completely free.

As a team, we decided to spend the 5th day of our project by seeing the city of Balos Beach-Retimno, which has the title of the 5th best beach in Europe. It took us 1 hour to go from Hanyadan to Retimno. First we saw the Kara Musa Mosque in the city, then we saw the Gazi Hüseyin Pasha Mosque, which was an old Venetian church and was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman rule and is now used as a Conservatory Hall. We set off towards the castle of the city of Retimno and since the castle was on the summit, we sweated while climbing up to the castle, and we advise you Greek islands, wherever you go, set off with your water. It is possible to watch the whole of Retimno from the castle built by the Venetians. After spending about 3 hours in Retimno, we turned our route to Balos and after a 1.5 hour journey we arrived in Balos.

The road to Balos was full of very dangerous slopes and while we were travelling on the road, we saw small monuments built for the people who died while trying to reach Balos and we remembered again how dangerous we were on a dangerous road. Wanderlust is non-stop bilmez. There is no car road until Balos beach, there is a small clearing where you can park your car where the car road ends, after parking your car there, you can only reach the beach on foot. The beach, which we reached in about 25 minutes by descending down the mountain using the paths on the slope of the mountain accompanied by mountain goats, was really a place worth seeing. The clarity of the water and the fact that there was not a single stone on the beach was a wonderful beach throughout the length, and although we could not fully enjoy it due to the limited time we had, Balos was a wonderful beach that I definitely recommend you to spend 1 day. On the 6th day of our project, I decided to go to a local restaurant, but I was undecided about which one to go to, so I thought to get advice from the Cretan employee working in the lobby of the place where we stayed, after a nice conversation with him, he recommended Alexandro's Restaurant to me and told me how to get there. I thanked him and set off, I reached the restaurant, which was not far away, in 7 minutes. The staff was very friendly, after opening the service and leaving the menu, they asked where I was from while placing my order, when I said I was Turkish, the waiter replied "I am Albanian". After a small shock, they told me that they loved Turkey and Turks very much and even the grandfather of the restaurant owner was Turkish. After a small conversation I started to wait for my food and Alexandro, the owner of the restaurant, brought my food and said that he wanted to talk to me and told me about his visit to Istanbul. He told me that his grandfather was an Ottoman soldier and that they were a wealthy family and that when Muslims from the island of Crete were immigrated to Turkey, they settled here so that these places would not remain unattended. I thanked him very much and after eating my meal we had a long chat over tea. I had completely different experiences at moments I would never have guessed and it all started with my decision to apply for a project participant call that I saw without knowing anything. I mean, friends, never avoid trying, travelling abroad, travelling abroad, participating in projects can be the best decision I have ever made in my life, I believe that everyone should have this experience. Take your backpack and set off, the world is waiting for you Wanderlust...

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