Sunrise over Chania's Venetian Harbor, as seen from the lighthouse
The dates of the reunion were Sunday, July 13 to Sunday, July 20, 2014.
Sunday, July 13, 2014 - Welcome!
All day registration at the Oasis Hotel, Perivolia. Free time was spent exploring the area including the city walking tour of Chania's Old Town.
7:30 pm until? – Departed for dinner at the Keramos Restaurant in Malaxa. This is located high in the mountains, where wel enjoyed a beautiful sunset view of the city of Chania. Authentic Cretan music was provided by Andreas Lilikakis. Andrea has performed in Cleveland for our own Cretan Club!
Monday, July 14 - Back to Our Roots!
Depart at 10:00 am. A trip to our ancestral home in Askifou. We attended a Doxology at the church in Amoudari, Agios Pateleimonos and Panagia. We had some free time to sit at the kafeneios of Amoudari and relax before the lunch that followed at the Panorama, a traditional Sfakiano restaurant. A guest speaker, one of the priests from Askifou, discussed the history of our family and the region.
We departed Askifou in the early afternoon and stopped at the lake of Kourna, the only fresh water lake in all of Crete.
7:00 - 9:00 pm - We visited Venizelos’ tomb overlooking all of Chania, and some of us enjoyed a sunset meze at the adjacent Koukouvagia restaurant.
Tuesday, July 15 - On to Theriso!
10:00 am - We departed for Theriso by Funtrain and filled it to capacity -0 61 people! We included a history lesson geared for the children on the way there.
12 Noon - 12:30 - Trisagion service at the church of the Panagia.
Spent the afternoon touring the village, with everyone choosing their own lunch tvenue afterwards.
Depart at 3 pm. Arrived back at hotel around 4 pm. The afternoon and evening was free time.
Wednesday, July 16 - A day of Hiking
The bus left for Omalo by 6:30 am. Samarian Gorge hikers proceeded down the wooden stairs, the xyloskalo, while others waited for bus to return and take us to Sfakia on the southern coast.
We had about an hour in Sfakia before catching the ferry to the idyllic village of Loutro. We had several hours to relax and enjoy the beautiful, peaceful surroundings.
Everyone reunited on the last ferry boat from Agia Roumeli, as it stopped in Loutro and picked up the rest of our group. The day ended with a ferry ride back to Sfakia and the bus ride back to Chania.
Thursday, July 17 - Free day.
The bus was available to take groups wherever they choose to go. Choices included:
A day at the waterpark Limnoupoli - bus departs at 10 am.
A tour of Akrotiri - Bus departs at 11 am.
Another option is to spend the day your way. Dinner on the Venetian Harbor will be a perfect way to end the day.
Friday, July 18 – To the Beach!
We took two buses to Elafonisi, located on the southwest corner of Crete. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Europe, running a neck-and-neck tie with Balos Beach, west of Chania.
After a day on the beach we had dinner in Falasarna for a sunset meal at the Panorama Hotel, where our hosts were Vassiliki and Antonu Matzorakis-Tsaporakis. They were wonderful hosts and served an amazing meal. I cannot recommend them highly enough to anyone looking to spend a day or two in Falasarna. Vassiliki is a cousin to the Cleveland Matzorkis family.
Saturday, July 19 - Our Final Day Together
Church services in Madaro. A small group of us laft at 9 am, by cars, for a Doxologia in Madaro, where the Rokakis family lived for over 200 years. We will pay our respects to all our ancestors who are buried in the village. Our family tree has deep roots in Madaro. We returned at around 1 pm.
Free time. The rest of the day was spent exploring the old city of Chania.
Farewell dinner at 8pm - Our reunion story ended where it all began over 100 years ago, with a farewell dinner in Theriso at the Adartis restaurant. But not before we had several group photos taken on the plateia by the church of the Panagia. Live Cretan music and dancing brought our amazing week to a festive conclusion.
Sunday, July 20 – Check-Out and Farewell