Our last home while on the Greece study abroad trip was just outside the city of Chania on the island of Crete, at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh). I’ll let you consider the pronunciation of those names now that you know about how “ch” is pronounced.
Today (May 22) we settled in at MAICh and explored Chania. MAICh is one of four institutes that make up the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CHIEAM); the others are in Italy, France and Spain. The Centre is dedicated to learning about and improving agronomy in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, through research and a 2-year Masters program. EDIT: Check out the Institute at http://www.maich.gr . We were fortunate to be able to stay at MAICh and make it our base while experiencing Chania and the surrounding area.
MAICh also hosts conferences, and our visit coincided with a conference on cortical (brain) development. This meant fancier food and some entertainment opportunities, about all of which I will write later. Suffice it to say that we started our day with a hearty Greek breakfast (including eggs poached with greens, which was something we hadn’t seen before) and then found ourselves, less than an hour later, being offered strawberries, cherries and pastries at the conference’s coffee break.
We then headed into Chania in three taxis, bound for the harbor to sightsee and maybe do some shopping. Unfortunately, the day took a serious turn when the first taxi, directly in front of the one I was in, was hit at an intersection by a small pickup truck! It was surprising; while traffic in Greece is busy and chaotic, it is a controlled chaos, and drivers are usually looking out for each other and for pedestrians in a manner unlike in the U.S., where we sometimes rely on rules and traffic lights more than our wits.
As surprising as it was, however, it happened, and although it was at low speed one of my fellow students had hit her head (don’t worry; no blood or broken bones!). The bystanding locals were concerned and gave me empathetic looks as I helped at the scene, and someone called an ambulance. They had decided that she must go to the hospital! We agreed eventually, and Tala and the student rode away in the ambulance as the rest of us walked to a lovely square with a coffee shop with outside seating.
After bolstering ourselves with cappucino fredo (cold), gelato and wifi, we continued on to the harbor, which although full of souvenir shops and placards for glass-bottomed boat rides was still a lovely place.
We were eager to hear about our injured fellow student, and we were very happy when she and Tala rejoined us with positive stories about the Greek healthcare system. X-rays, blood tests, monitoring, etc.: zero euros. Add to that a clean bill of health (and X-ray prints as souvenirs), and you have a very good outcome to a scary morning.
We were even happier when we arrived back at MAICh to find this waiting for our lunch:
There is no danger of us going hungry here! We even had dessert, something that (other than gelato) had not really played into our meals so far.
Rest time, right? But no — the day wasn’t done yet! With my next post I’ll describe one of the best experiences we had during our trip to Greece.