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Akti Miaouli is the name of the boardwalk here, Koum Kapi is the neighbourhood, the city is Chania, the island is Crete, the country is Greece. They are all music to my ears. This is where my wife Oksana and I swim almost all year round. As we sat and enjoyed a wonderful meal at B>Guest on the east end of Koum Kapi last night, Oksana googled the water temperature – 67.5 degrees. That was 1.5 degrees warmer than the air at around sundown. Two hearty souls took swims as we ate and looked on. The beach right now – it’s mid-December 2019 – is as big as I have ever seen it. It really is a shifting sands beach, although no one calls it that here. But storms can take it away entirely (as happened almost exactly a year ago), while calmer periods can build it up into a proper beach that you can walk or ride your bike on. The beach at present stretches from the far east end of Koum Kapi about halfway to the west end, which ends at the Sabbionara rampart and gates leading into Old Town Chania. (The full length of the Akti Miaouli boardwalk is about 650 meters, or 710 yards.) You can see the Sabbionara on the far right of the photo immediately below. Swaths of sandy beach have opened up at that end as well. They are probably short-lived, as swimmers over there usually walk down cement stairs directly into the sparkling clear water of the Sea of Crete. Over the last few years Koum Kapi has really developed (do NOT think in terms of western development!), with several new restaurants and coffee shops lining the waterfront. This is where you will find most of the locals – it’s not as pricey, the view is still to die for even without the landmarks of the Venetian Port, and the Greek coffee is made just like the coffee-loving Greeks take it – strong and sweet.

Text and photos © John Freedman, 2019.