Oct.12.2010, Rethymno to Iraklion, Crete and beyond…

on the balcony for lunch in Iraklion

0830  sunny, mixed clouds, 22 C.  Boy – was it windy last night!  Let’s hope it blows itself out before our boat ride tonight!  Kathy is peeling a tomato right now, making a rose.

0930  Luggage out, 1000 check out.  No messages from the girls.  I drive main highway east to Iraklion, also known as Heraklion.  Hot, muggy and windy.  On the way into Iraklion Kathy is navigating.  It turns out that the archeological museum is in the middle of the city, which for some reason I didn’t expect – I thought it would be near the Palace of Knossos.  Later I find out that the palace is also within the city.  But, at least the streets were wide enough to keep the mirrors out most of the time.

Cloudy, muggy, heading to 30 C.  Found parking in the second lot we tried near archeological museum, 4E.  Walked through a tunnel then over to museum.  Most of the museum is closed for renovations, so we were limited to the temporary display.  Words seen in the archeological museum – sphragistic representations, faience figurines.  What does that mean?  This place was occupied as a city from about 3500 BC!  Leaving museum, driving into lots of traffic.  Made one wrong choice at a Y in the road, ended up on a secondary one way street and had to cut left some blocks to recover.  Then out to the Knossos Palace ruins.

Getting ruined out.  Yes – lots of old stone and must have been a huge palace in about 3000 – 2500 BC (Wiki this one) but the British guy who did the excavations gave the areas and rooms a bunch of silly names based on his ideas which were probably wrong.  Also, a lot of things reconstructed with concrete, not necessarily true to original form and function. So, where was the labyrinth?  Wiki this too.  No sign of it.

Lunch at a small family run restaurant staffed by son, his pregnant sister, and mama cooking in the back.  I had soudjoukakia which is spiced beef meat balls with rice and french fries.  Debbie had her first Greek meal – moussaka, and liked it.  Some directions from the waiter and away we go.  Found the national highway alright.  The waiter said to take the 2nd airport exit, not the first.  But lthe  first one was obscured, or in Greek only or missing entirely so we didn’t see it and drove right by our exit.

Richard is driving, so he gets the tough roads.  The exit we did take was not a good choice.  It took us in the backside of a little community (Prasus?) complete with blind corners, one with a mirror on it to let you glimpse possible oncoming traffic.  We ended up on an unfinished road, drove through a Shell gas station under construction and regained the national highway by means of an unfinished entry road.  The next exit off to the airport was easy.  Then drove around a bit to top up the rental car tank.

We returned the car, sat in the airport which was cool but had many blue bottle flies, and I updated these notes at 1712.

1730  We left the airport, taxi 10E to the port where we will catch the ferry.  1800 they let us check in and board the ferry.  We were escorted to our room on board the Festos Palace, room 4-012 (4th deck, with window).  4 bunks and a bathroom with shower, bigger than the one we had downstairs at the Leoniki Residence in Rethymno.  We stored our gear and went exploring.  Kathy and Debbie ended  up sitting port side deck 6 to watch the sunset, but it was mostly obscured by cloud.  Balmy, still about 30 C and breezy.  I explored decks 7 – 9, found the swimming pool (closed for the season), poolside bar, disco dance bar (not open) and then found K & D again.

1930  Deck 6 lounge, Amstel beer.  Debbie has kahlua and milk, gave the bartender directions on how to make it.  I went to reception.  The ferry leaves Iraklion at 2000 and arrives in Piraeus at 0530 but we can sleep in and stay on board until 0800 tomorrow.  Still in the upper 20 C at 2000 this evening.   We talked about our trip to Crete.

Impressions today: great lunch and the little restaurant was an experience; the ruins were just more ruins; KE – it’s been here so long, they had a civilized way of living so long ago; RE – ruins were more rocks to me but impressive because it was so large, clearly a large structure; ease of transition for the car rental return and getting to the ferry, everything flowed; too many olive trees; KE and RE archaeological museum was interesting; KE amount of gold used.

Impressions of Crete: rock, goats, olives, dry, side view mirrors, windy, winding roads, parking, turquoise, salt (ocean), downpour, Melidoni cave, toilet paper, museums, towns, cities, ruins, views, food, exploration.

We stayed in the 6th floor bar and drank beer/ate peanuts until 2230.  Then back to the cabin and in the upper bunk by 2300.  Nothing to see outside our porthole, pitch black.  No one snored tonight.

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