Vines, Range Rovers, and Late Night Crazy in Chania

Tuesday morning came early as we pulled into the port of Chania with the rising sun off our starboard side. We were up and planning our day that started with a trip to the Manousakis Winery and Vineyards.

By 9 AM our small group was loaded into our Range Rover and our affable driver pledged to keep us safe and comfortable. We started off the first 20 or so minutes on asphalt that quickly turned to a dusty rocky labyrinth (leaving us doubting the comfortable pledge) taking us some 2165 feet above the sea to the heart of the vineyards. There the views were impressive to say the least.

After the visit to the vineyards we began the decent to the winery for a brief tour and explanation of the winery’s origin. Finally it was time to taste the product accompanied by snacks of cheese and bread. To be honest, many of the wines left us unimpressed but we did enjoy one of the red blends and particularly a white from the roussanne grape that sees some time in oak.

After the winery we returned back to the ship to drop off our purchases and then headed to the center of Chania for lunch and a stroll through the streets. We started at the Agora open market and worked our way to the waterfront.

The area is a mix of storefronts, some tourist junk and others legitimate outlets for clothing and home goods. One note to point out, this area of Greece strongly prefers cash over credit cards for virtually any transaction and merchants will even claim their credit card terminal is not working (despite clearly being on), so come prepared and stop at any of the numerous ATMs. Before long we settled in at a small bar to grab a quick simple lunch before making our way back to the port while visiting whatever church or shop caught our eye.

We normally have nothing remarkably to report about the evenings onboard but this is the exception. We enjoyed an exceptional meal at one of the specialty restaurants and caught a terrific performance in the cabaret lounge before settling in at our usual spots in the piano bar. All seemed to be going as planned before a discussion came up between the pianist and the audience about what to do the next day in Santorini. Somehow the idea of riding the famed donkeys to the top was brought up with a few chuckles from the crowd. Here is where things turned. As anyone who has been to a piano bar, the pianist usually has a list of songs for patrons to peruse and make selections. A woman approached the list during a song and wrote something on the back of the list, presumably a song choice. The pianist stopped to read it and it was a defiant message saying not to read the donkeys it’s animal cruelty. Ok, fine, wherever you stand on the issue is fine, but late-night on a cruise ship in a lounge seems an odd choice.

The pianist completed her set and since we had just met some new friends we all went upstairs to the forward lounge to finish the night.

As we all got settled into seats at the bar (none of us ordered more drinks) here comes the “donkey” lady from downstairs, ordering more drinks. At first we thought odd coincidence until she started yelling that Jennifer she was an animal abuser for promoting animal cruelty encouraging donkey riding. For those that know us and know the dedication she has to our 16-yr old cat to keep him healthy and his quality of life high, not to mention the countless strays we’ve taken care of, know Jennifer is the furthest thing from what this woman was ranting. The woman would not stop. After she screamed Jennifer was “a disgusting American”, Jennifer stood up and said “you know nothing about me, I’m Canadian”. The woman responded with “you’ve just downgraded all Canadians.” As she ran off.

We all laughed, okay, this woman is nuts. We are mad some woman is disparaging Americans and frankly anyone. Z

She CAME BACK. This time to stand in front of Jennifer and video record Jennifer while she ranted that Jennifer was an animal abuser. On the advice of new friends from the EU they told Jennifer it was illegal for her to record without permission. Jennifer calmly, surprising yes, stood in front of the camera told the lady to stop and went and sat back down. That was not nearly the end of this.

The woman would not stop recording. Jennifer had the bar staff call security and the woman continued recording and ranting.

I should say, fortunately we were all seated under one of the ship’s many security cameras and no one in the group was drunk.

What ensued is one for the books. As the woman continued to record, her phone was slapped out of her hand. She started screaming she was a barrister and we had all assaulted her. When security arrived her story took a dramatic turn and she started crying and carrying on.

As we all sat there, more security guards showed up. She was carrying on about how she was a victim.

Long story short, the 3rd security sent us all away, without taking any our statements and they kept her as she carried on that her attackers were getting away. Look for updates if warranted….

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