Iraklio and Knossos, Crete

Trip Start May 22, 2005
Trip End Aug 09, 2005

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Where I stayed
Mirabello Hotel

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

May 29
From Santorini to Crete was 4 hours by ferry. We had a leisurely morning leaving Perissa Beach and walking around Fira before catching the bus at 2:30 for the port. Our ferry was the Minoan Lines "Daedalus" and left port at 4:00. We arrived in Iraklio with the sun setting over the city. There was a fabulous old Venetian port near the modern one, where we docked. After purloining a map of the city (which had no street names!) we made our way to the Hotel Mirabello, conducting many (Spanish) inquisitions along the way to find the place. The directions from the website were easy, go up 25 Augustou, turn right, then right again and you'll see the Mirabello. Well... it was actually that you had to turn right, then right, then left, the left, then right... then you'll see the hotel! Directions, much like Greek spelling, are up for interpretation. After a long day in the sun, we grabbed dinner at a hot spot for youth, then headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

May 30
We woke up early to take advantage of the shared shower situation -- there were 10 rooms all sharing the same shower. We caught the city bus out of Iraklio to Knossos, the ancient Minoan palace. The site was beautiful, but Sir Arthur Evans (one of the prominent excavators in the late 1800's) added much of his own interpretation to the ruins. There were concrete structures and reconstructions everywhere, making it hard to tell what was original to the palace. Unfortunately, the camera lost juice and we were unable to take any pictures, but who wants to see a Brit's version of Minoa anyway? The best part of the day was visiting the Crete Archeological Museum, back in Iraklio. They had finds from all over the island, including other palaces, such as Phaestos. The gems of their collection were the Phaestos Disk (which no one has yet deciphered) and some important statuary. Kevin tried to take part in an ancient ritual but was tossed from the group for clapping off-rhythm (he just doesn't fit in anywhere!) -- see picture. Afterwards, the day was spent perusing for souvenirs down interesting open-market alleys. After a relaxing dinner, we hit the hay.

May 31
We had a bit of a sluggish morning getting packed and ready to get to the airport. We arrived with time to spare and Rebecca dozed (between Kevin's outbursts) before boarding the plane back to Athens. The flight was quick, only 55 minutes, and we arrived just after noon. We caught the city bus to the Bus Terminal at Kifissou. During the ride through Athens it started to rain incredibly hard and the streets, because they are hilly, turned into mini-rivers. The rain continued for about half the two hour trip to Nafplio, west of Athens. Our good luck held out and the rain subsided before we disembarked. Once in Nafplio, we had an easy time finding our accommodations which were up on a hill overlooking the old part of the city as well as the harbour. Up above us and about 50 yards behind is a Venetian fortress dating to about 1700. The city is very "European" -- it's how we pictured Greek and Italian villages. It has narrow streets, lots of balconies, and beautiful buildings painted many colours. Tomorrow we're off to Mycenae.
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