Travel Journal

Heraklion - Full of Cretens

(Monday 15 November 2010) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 95-7 -- 11/7-11/9/10 Heraklion
We had to backtrack for this leg of the trip. A five hour ferry got us in to Piraeus where we started and then we caught an overnight ferry to Heraklion which left at 9:30 PM and got in a little before 6 AM. We got a bit of sleep onboard as Julie spied a couch open which I could lie down on and she stretch out on two seats though not fully. Arriving into port, we checked the internet to see if the hotel we booked had sent instructions on how to get to their place as it was actually in a neighboring town. No luck.
We checked with the port authority on the next ferry to Rhodes where we would continue on to Turkey and found where there was a boat leaving the next morning at 5:30 AM (too soon for us) the next one wouldn’t be until Saturday which was six days from today which was more time than we wanted to spend in Crete. We went to the bus station which is conveniently across the street from the ferry terminal. They gave us information on which local bus to take and we went to the bus stop down the street. Like in Italy, you had to purchase tickets off the bus and I fed the automated ticket dispensers and got two of the most expensive tickets I saw at one Euro. Returning to Julie at the stop a local who did not speak English indicated that the tickets I bought were not enough and indicated I need 3 Euro tickets. Going back and with the bus’ arrival imminent, I could not see 3 Euro tickets as an option so I bought 4 more 1 Euro tickets. When I showed them to the lady she shook her head so I figured we’d straighten it out on the bus. It ended up we needed 1.35 tickets but the bus driver took 2 – 1 Euro tickets for the trip. The next trip the driver took the 4 remaining tickets so I guess it all kind of worked out. Anyways, we found the stop using the Garmin and Julie’s eagle eyes. Since it was low season the hotel wasn’t close to being full and they allowed us to check in early and take some well needed baths. We returned to town around noon to stop at the Museum of Archeology which is second only to the one in Athens. That is when it is scheduled to open. Now it has a temporary exhibit at a reduced price but shows the best pieces in their collection.
We walked about town looking at the shops and also stopped into a travel agency to check on flights to Rhodes which were a bit more than we were willing to spend. I did found out that Rhodes was still running the ferry to Turkey on Sunday and Tuesdays. I have to figure out a plan sometime.
We were a bit tired from the sea voyage but decided a Cretan dinner was in order. We splurged and got the sampler plate which had about 5 main dishes all of which were excellent save the moussaka which Julie didn’t care too much for. We retired early to catch up on our sleep.

We were late risers the next morning and the hourly bus skipped one pick up so we didn’t leave until 10:30 and caught another bus to the Knossos Palace. This is the largest Minoan palace on the island and dates back to 1700 BC. This is where the Minotaur, Icarus, the labyrinth and other myths sprang from. The multiple story buildings, the water pressure, roads and sanitation system were amazing for their time. Also the complex is huge like a labyrinth which no doubt spun into the myths that Greek travelers brought back to the mainland. The archeologist who unearthed the sight, Evans, had his own strong opinion of what the site look liked in its heyday and <gasp> rebuilt sections with concrete to fit his view. I disagree with the method he undertook and also several of the conclusions he reached and designation for certain sections of the palace, but then I’m hardly a scientist. We had haggled and got a guide for the site which gave a lot of information on the site but his annoying habit of stopping the tour when his phone rang and then carry on conversation while we waited caused him to lose over half his group by the sixth call.

After returning to the hotel and conversing with the clerk, we decided that we would stay on Crete and catch the Saturday ferry to Rhodes and then either go to Turkey on the following day (actually the same day as the boat wouldn’t arrive until 2 AM) or on the Tuesday. We had done everything we wanted to do in Heraklion and the clerk suggested we try Hania on the western part of the island. So we made plans to leave the next day.


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