Chania: A Beautiful Mess

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I am very grateful to be residing in Europe once again. It has this own vibe. One of the first spots I was taken to as I arrived here was, of course, the city center. Walking the downtown area, I instantly felt that same European charm I was longing to experience once more.

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Old Town Chania with its harbor definitely serves you that kind of European atmosphere.

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But I guess it’s just like any other principal cities. There are cleaner areas, and there are less cleaner areas. Good sides, bad sides, if you will. Urban to rural. Traditional to modern. Sophisticated to uncultivated.

In most major cities, however, these contradicting sides are quite separated. In Chania though, the contrasts are altogether and are strikingly very evident. It’s not that unrefined, but it definitely needs some help. It’s like a controlled chaos. It’s just awfully pretty….. A beautiful mess.

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The promenade has a background left unrestored.


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Old establishments are wall to wall with the painted ones.


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Some rehabilitations are half way done or seem to be forgotten.

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This one is above a shining shimmering jewelry store.

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Statues are undermined.

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Vandalism is too much to bear.

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Some houses obviously tried to repaint but the writings on the wall keep reappearing.

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It’s no wonder why some areas are completely uncared for.


Across this line of restaurants and bars are dilapidated houses.

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Chania, perhaps Crete in general, is no London or Paris. It’s just not that organized. It’s not as teeming as most Asian major cities. It’s definitely not LA, where slum scenes look forsaken by business districts of towering buildings. Chania has its own character. This place has like a never-ending work in progress. It’s a motley paradise of juxtapositions. There’s definitely beauty in its imperfections. It’s unpretentious … And I love it!

Last Calls…

Awaiting order?

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This shot is one of my personal favorites.

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The Sophomore Slump Recommends:

Music: I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning – Bright Eyes
Movie: American Beauty


Categories: Greece

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54 replies »

  1. You have definitely captured the essence of Chania. In amongst the vandalism is a story and history from the past. I would rather see the truth and character of a town rather than the illusion of perfect! Great pics. 🙂

    • Can’t show all the good sides of things, esp. when the bad has its benefit. Huh!! 😀 The vandalism is a bit too much I think though. Then again, I wouldn’t know what to think if they’re actually tastefully done. 😀

  2. Wow !! These pictures are fantastic. You’ve managed to capture the whole spirit of Chania !! Amazing makes me want to visit the place. Your pictures show what travelling is all about 🙂

      • Thank you for sharing the pictures! I totally agree that taking a deeper look at a place is a big part of travelling – most people tend to miss that out. I personally feel getting lost in a new place is one of the best ways to explore 😉

  3. There are those contrasts in this charming town, but Chania is so beautiful and romantic through you lens. Thank you for the tour, Rommel!

  4. I really enjoyed this tour of Chania, Rommel. It is unusual, as you say, in the outright juxtaposition of scenic with dilapidated. Fantastic photos.

    • I’m still in hot coffee mode, but I think the weather is good enough for to switch to cold frappe. I had an ice cream after all the walking. 🙂

  5. “There is definite beauty in imperfections…” that is very well said, and can see it in all your photos. From what I can see in your words and photos is a place where everything can flow together and that makes for a great place of adventure and to dive into the culture there. You must be having a great time. A beautiful mess indeed! Enjoy!

    • I’ve been to big cities with great graffiti arts, but the ones here are more like vandalism. I do like including street arts when introducing a place.

  6. I love the *beautiful mess* you’ve shown us Rommel 🙂 Something about the painted exteriors … old and new …terracotta tiled rooftops … people lolling and relaxing . The Med for sure . Are you working in the town there Rommel I’ve kind of lost track where you are based on the island ….

  7. what a cool place this seems like – and seeing the good the bad and the ugly – side by side and all around – enjoyed the doors the most – and the places where rehab seems to be stalled….
    safe travels to you my friend :)<3

  8. Oh man I’m loving the rugged architecture of this place ! Such a colorful contrasts of buildings, seems like an awesome place to wander around and explore ! Lucky you Rommel. Hope your stay there is worthwhile ! 🙂

    P.S I wrote you an E-mail about that collaboration post, Check it out whenever you have time 🙂

    Hope you are doing great. Lots of love to you,
    Zee ❤

  9. a beautiful mess indeed…seems pretty clean though, the streets and all. love the name of this town, Chania. pretty. guess the local people have learned to live peacefully with their topsy-turvy situation. great post!

  10. ‘A beautiful mess’ is a perfect description! And your camera has captured the contradictions and personality well. Looks like a place I would enjoy exploring.

  11. You have so competently rendered rich local colour,dear Rommmel!Lovely facades with brilliant or fades colours and plenty of nostalgia!You have a very good eye for Art,dear friend 🙂 xxx

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