Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Zambolis Apartments, Chania, Crete, Greece

Set just 700 m from the scenic Venetian harbour, Zamboli provides accommodation in Chania Town. Complimentary WiFi is offered. The air-conditioned units feature a kitchen with an oven, a microwave and dining area. A balcony with city views is offered in both units. The Agora of Chania is 400m from Zamboli, while the Archaeological Museum is 500m away. The nearest airport is Chania International Airport, 14 km from the property. According to independent reviews, the area where Zamboli is located is a favourite part of the town of Chania among visitors.

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Manolis room
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Zamboli is located in the centre of Chania opposite the Town Hall, with 2 uniquely renovated 1st-floor fully furnished apartments connected with a private entrance, originally built as student accomodation. Zambia room sleeps 3, Manoli room sleeps 4. The apartments are perfect for guests who want to feel at home away from home. Each has a platform double bed base (2 mattresses, 0.8x2m ) & loft (0.9x1.9m, ladder required). Manoli has a small sofa bed (1.75m long). Both have WiFi, TV & air-conditioning, separate fully-fitted kitchen & small bathroom with wash basin, WC, spa shower column (1.87m height limit), washing machine & small street-level balcony. Water is solar-heated; windows double-glazed; suitcase storage space under the inbuilt bed (74cm/29" high with mattress - foot stool provided). Manoli also has a terrace with outdoor dining area. The two apartments can be booked together for a group (max. 7 people). Zamboli is just 200m away from all bus terminals, 700m to the Venetian port/lighthouse, near all amenities (shops, bakeries, groceries, cafes, tavernas, doctors, etc). Being in the centre of town, you'll never be far away from any major sites.
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Zambia room
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Zamboli is located in Chania's city centre, perfect for the traveller who wants a self-catering urban holiday, and a town they can get around in on foot. During the day, the area can get quite busy but it's very quiet after shops close. Even though the apartment block is located in the town centre, it is mainly residential, so you'll be sharing space with local families. Some neighbours play music, but it's usually not annoying; you may hear their taps flush! Rubbish collection can also be quite noisy. Chania's old town, the old harbour and the lighthouse are just a few minutes away on foot - everything within walking distance and very easy to reach. For those interested in urban walks, I can also offer you a walking tour showcasing some of the town's lesser known history. At the same time, you are spoilt for choice for food, drink & entertainment: souvlaki, cafes, bakeries, pastries, ice-cream, bars, pizzerias, butchers, fishmongers, supermarkets, fruit and vegetable markets, grocers, chemists, hairdressers, barbers, bookshops, drycleaners, craft shops, cellphone services, convenience stores & public transport all at your fingertips.

Dimitris Taxi Tours

Your hosts are Maria and my husband Dimitri. We both speak English, and we like to 'show off' our town to visitors. Zamboli is the unique result of our personal interest in home design. If you are interested in local culture, we can give you tips on what to do and where to eat like a local. We can also arrange your pickup from the airport for an extra fee. Dimitri is a registered taxi driver with lots of local knowledge (our cab is a Mercedes W212 and can take a maximum of 4 passengers plus suitcases). We also arrange private taxi tours, urban walks and local food tours. If you're interested in local cuisine, we can arrange a food market tour of the places where locals do their shopping and eating. (All services carry an extra charge and are available on request; all driving tours are conducted by Dimitri who has 40 years driving experience.) As we are new to the hospitality industry, we welcome feedback on how we can improve what we do to make it a great experience for our guests.

Languages spoken: English, Greek, German, French

©All Rights Reserved
Zambolis Studios Chania/Maria Verivaki 2018-2019

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Zambolis: the neighbourhood

Zamboli is located right at the point where the town gives way to the suburbs. South of Zamboli, most of the area is residential. You have a wide range of choices for food, drink, shopping and entertainment. 
Here are some tips:

COFFEE: If you want to enjoy a coffee with a view, you will probably enjoy the old Venetian harbour, which is a 5-minute stroll from Zambolis. If you prefer to have a coffee and do some people-watching while you have your drink, try one of the places in the commercial district of the town, close to Zambolis. It sometimes feels a little noisy with the traffic on the roads, but you might be surprised by how much you enjoy the experience.
TIP: In the summer, the locals drink cold coffee (freddo, freddo espresso, freddo cappuccino).

The unbranded coffee shops also serve alcoholic drinks like beer ('bira'), wine ('krasi') and 'raki', the local version of firewater. They often serve as pensioners' meeting points, with each cafe (kafeneion to us Greeks) having its own regulars. It's almost like the Greek version of the pub. Together with alcohol drinks, you will get also get a little plate, in the local fashion, containing some tasty morsels of whatever is in season or on hand.

At Zambolis, I've left some tea, sugar and instant coffee to start you off. There is an electric jug and a filter coffee machine to use while you are here. (According to Greek laws on short-term rentals, we cannot offer any food services.)

PITA: Greece is famous for its very homely-looking pies, which we call 'pita'. All coffee stores sell a variety of pita (as well as sandwiches). Greek pita is generally vegetarian (it contains cheese and/or eggs). The most popular pita are the humble cheese pie (tiropita) and pies with spinach (spanakopita).

Another very popular pita is called 'bougatsa', a warm cheese or cream pie sprinkled with sugar and/or cinnamon, and served at a casual sit-down cafe. You can also buy it as a takeaway but it's not packaged in a way that you can eat it on the road (you eat it sitting down). Chania's bougatsa stores are on Apokoronou St. They don't serve anything else except bougatsa and some drinks.

At Zambolis, the kitchens have a microwave oven, so you can buy a variety of pita/bougatsa and heat them up for enjoyment at a later time.

SOUVLAKI: Souvlaki, also known as gyro, is the national fast food. It's also a cheap full meal, and one of the most transparent forms of fast food in the world: thick pita bread is folded  and filled with freshly grilled meat sliced fresh off an upright grill, accompanied by slices of tomato and onion, French fries, yoghurt, and a sprinkle of paprika. You can also ask for gyro filled with your own combination of ingredients, and you can even have a vegetarian/vegan souvlaki.

There are a number of shops that sell souvlaki in Chania. The closest to Zambolis is Grigoros on the corner of Plateia 1866. Another two - Thraka and Anamena Karvouna - are located on Hatzimichali Giannari St, towards the city end of Milonogianni St where Zambolis is located.

BURGER: Greek burgers can be quite tasty due to the meat used in them. Grigoros on the corner of Plateia 1866 is not always as 'grigoro' (= 'fast' in Greek) as the name suggests, but the burgers are really good. You can also try a burger at Goody's (the Greek version of McDonalds) on Hatzimichali Giannari St.

Feel like cooking? Zamboli offers a fully fitted kitchen with pots and pans, cutlery and crockery,  linen, fridge and cooker. Here's where you can buy all the ingredients you need.

BREAD: Just down the road on Ipsilantou St, across from the bus station is Kotsifakis Bakery. Fresh bread is available here every day except Sundays.

FRUIT & VEGETABLES: Across from the bakery, you will find a wide array of fresh fruit and vegetables at the Farma grocery. There are also two grocers' stores on Plateia 1866. All these shops sell fresh products in season.

The BEST place to get your fresh fruit and vegetables is the farmer's market, which we call the LAIKI. In the Zambolis area, the laiki operates every Wednesday (except if it's a holiday, or if the weather is very wet), in Manousoyianakidon Street. Saturday's market is the largest in Chania: it takes place on Minoos Street.

SUPERMARKETS: Supermarkets in Crete stock nearly everything that you would find at a supermarket in your own country. There's a SYN.KA branch (the local Chania chain) on Plateia 1866, and a SKLAVENITIS (a Greek-owned chain) on Skalidi St. I've left some clean bags for you to use in case you didn't bring enough re-usable bags (plastic carrier bags are charged at €0.09 each in supermarkets and some small stores; produce bags are free).

Apparently, Cretans eat more cheese per head than the French! Cheese is one of the most important ingredients in a pita. The most popular cheeses are 'mizithra' (soft white curd cheese), 'anthotiro' (soft white sliceable lo-calorie cheese) and 'graviera' (hard yellow salty cheese). We also have a local type of mozzarella called 'malaka'. Yes, seriously! You can buy all the above varieties of cheese at the independent cheese shop Baladinos on Skalidi St. Baladinos also sells other local products like honey, olive oil and herbs.

For the largest variety of local products, check out the Agora of Chania, which is where local distances are calculated. Apart from cheese, you will also find all sorts of olives and dry bread rusk (paximadi), along with local specialties like xinohondro (wheat cooked with sour milk) and live snails, fresh meat and fish. There is also a butchery on Zimvrakakidon St, and a fishmongers on the  corner of Plateia 1866.

FASHION STORES: High street fashion is available in Chania, with branches of many international stores. Jennyfer, Zara, Pullnbear, Stradivarius and Bershka are all on Skalidi St, while H&M is on Tzanakaki St. In between these two roads, on Hatzimichali Giannari St, you will find plenty more fashion stores for all tastes. For a wide range of sandals, go to Tsouderon St, behind the Agora.

BUSES: Long distance buses are often green - they come and go from the KTEL terminal at the end of Ipsilantou St, round the corner from Zambolis. You can see the terminal from the street level balcony of your room. Click here for their website:

Short-distance buses that service the suburbs of Chania are usually blue. They leave from Plateia 1866 for the local beaches just out of town (Agioi Apostoloi, Kalamaki). Click here for their website:

TAXI: There are three taxi ranks in the town - the largest on Plateia 1866, a small one on Karaiskaki St, and one more in Nikiforou Foka St. Zambolis is located in the centre of town, so you won't need a taxi to go to the old Venetian harbour where you'll probably want to spend most of your evenings.

On the map, I've also noted sweet treats, pizza stores and tavernas/restaurants, as well as cellphone stores that sell you talk-time and data bytes.

Not on the map
ATM: There is a branch of ALPHA BANK on HALIDON Street across the road from Plateia 1866. There is also a branch of EUROBANK on KIDONIAS Street. Please note that all shops in Chania accept credit cards, so you don't need to keep a lor of cash on you.

PARKING: You can park on the right hand side of Milonogianni Street across from the city council building - but NOT on the left hand side. If you park on a road with a parking meter on the pavement, you must pay for parking there. You can park anywhere else on Milonogianni Street as long as the road is not reserved for disabled parking, and it is not in front of a private garage entrance.

I don't usually find parking space near Zamboli in Milonogiani Street, but I never pay for parking. I park my car on Zimvrakakidon Street, where I usually find a space within walking distance of Zamboli. 

ASIAN RESTAURANTS: They aren't in the Zambolis area, but they do exist! Even locals like Indian, Chinese and Japanese food, although prices are more expensive than what northern Europeans may be used to for such restaurants. The restaurants listed below serve Asian taste, often with a Greek twist:
Chinese: Walk4Wok - 6 Epimenidou Street
Indian: Namaste -  186 Kissamou Street
Japanese: Mirai - 83 Touderon Street
Asian fusion: BaoTao - 20 Kissamou Street

CHANIA really does have it all these days!

©All Rights Reserved
Zambolis Studios Chania/Maria Verivaki 2018-2019

Friday, 15 March 2019

Zambolis: Then and Now

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©All Rights Reserved
Zambolis Studios Chania/Maria Verivaki 2018-2019

Zambolis Apartments, Chania, Crete, Greece

Set just 700 m from the scenic Venetian harbour, Zamboli provides accommodation in Chania Town. Complimentary WiFi is offered. The air-cond...