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Crete April 2018

April 2018 - October 2019
Currently traveling
  • Day7

    Night swimming!

    April 14, 2018 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    Totally lazy day today 😊 up late, lots of food and a little bit of local shopping but generally we spent the day enjoying the room. We had a lovely meal in the on-site Thai restaurant, before rounding off the holiday with a little bit of night swimming in our private pool!

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  • Day6

    Monastery of Arkadi

    April 13, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Leaving Preveli and the canyon, we headed through a windy mountain-ridge route to Arkadi Monastery. This includes detours when we simply were not willing to drive down roads that has been advised by Google, and painfully slow driving over barely gravelled and hugely pot-holed road sections. This aside, photos do not do justice to the landscape. It was vaguely reminiscent of Hardknot Pass in the Lake District but with more rolling views and less road visibility.

    We stopped at Arkadi Monastery, despite initial discussion in whether to, and were very pleased we did. The monastery is largely famed for their resistance to Ottoman rule, culminating in a battle in 1866 in which locals, holes up in the gunpowder magazine and facing a fearsome enemy, chose death over surrender. They blew up the magazine, killing themselves but taking many of the attacking Turks with them.

    The monastery was also famed for its work with gold vestments. During the 1866 attack, they hid the work in the walls and cellars and so the monastery retains some beautiful examples of this work today.

    The site itself felt a little more 'Mexican-stand-off' than Greek, and references to the Alamo and Red Dead Redemption certainly were fitting. Quite a fascinating stop however.

    From here, the winding Greek roads took us back to the highway, and we aimed just past our hotel to the Palace of Malia. Sadly, our opening time information was incorrect and it was shut, so we headed to the hotel for an early dinner and drinks. All told, we probably spent about 6 hours driving today, but the scenery, sites and experiences were fabulous. Dinner and a bottle of Freixnet and a well-deserved early night! Plus, the prospect of a lie-in tomorrow!
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  • Day6

    Prevali

    April 13, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    From the north coast of Crete at Rethimno, we drove almost due south to the coast and the Monastery at Prevali. Away from the highway, these roads were narrow, frequently hairpinned, and always with the fear of a mad Greek pickup speeding towards you in the middle of the road.

    With just one wrong turn through countryside reminiscent of the Lake District, we drove though a picturesque canyon to reach the Monastery - a tranquil site with historic connotations. It was here that British military were harboured during WWII not that could escape to Egypt, a feat commemorated by the gun-rotting Abbot memorial you pass en route. The site itself belies little of this history. The museum on site is devoted to its religious history and it really is in the middle of nowhere.

    The return journey took us back through the canyon where we stopped to admire the spectacular views...once we'd overcome to panic of the road system that is.
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  • Day6

    Fortazza at Rethimno

    April 13, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Today was planned to be the day of driving. We started with a 90 minute drive to Rethimno along the main Cretan highway, which nonetheless had spectacular views. It also reaffirmed the craziness that is driving in Greece...where the hard shoulder is a sort of half-lane that you use to make it easier for people to overtake you when the road signs say 'no overtaking'.

    Rethimno was surprsingly busy for 10am, but we found a great little parking spot on the sea front right next to the fort. The Venetian fort made for a happy hour exploring in ruins that had limited information but were also fabulously unaltered. You could wander amongst the ramparts and over narrow walkways with little prevention...a brilliant experience away from overbearing health and safety precautions!

    The fort itself was extensive, and Tomb Raider-esque in places. Being early meant we had much of it to ourselves and whilst Ben read out the fort information leaflet, I spent my time climbing the ruins and directing photographs!
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  • Day5

    Heraklion

    April 12, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Wanting to see the Archaeological Museum, we headed into Heraklion for the morning. Our rental agent assured us there was little to see in Heraklion so our general expectations were low.

    Parking up at the port, we wandered to the Museum for opening and again manage to miss the tourist groups. The Museum itself was fantastic - well laid out with great exhibits and useful information. The Phaistos disc was here, the sarcophagus from the Agia Triada and the original frescos from Knossis, amongst other brilliant treasures dating back to 2000 b.c. It also had a fascinating display on the attenmpts to recover artefacts looted during the Second World War.

    We wandered into town to see the Venetian Morosini Fountain and found a fan third-floor cafe overlooking the square for a coffee break. As we headed down the main street last the shops, we stopped at the Agios Titas church, adorned by beautiful stained glass and now containing the skull relic of St. Titas. Everywhere around this square, the Venetian influence was not only evident but hugely prominent. There are parts of the town that are so reminiscent of Venice it is uncanny.

    The main street also had a branch of Athens Prostasis, a cracking, unique little jewellers that I spent some cash in before we walked back towards the port to visit the Koules Fortress, a steal at just €2 entry for this large and informative museum.

    Not entirely sure why our rental chap advised us to miss this...a fabulous day out!
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  • Day4

    Gortyna, Phaestos & Agia Triada

    April 11, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    We continued the ancient film theme, driving south across the width of Crete to other palace sites.

    At Gortyna, the impressive Roman Odeon hides the law codes inscribed in panels behind it. These 600 lines of Dorian dialect are the largest of its kind anywhere. It is also the site of legend where Zeus, in the form of a bull, brought the kidnapped Europa and impregnated her with the later King Minos.

    We drove on to Phaestos, a slightly smaller palace than Knossos but where the still undeciphered Phaistos disc was found. We enjoyed lunch with lovely views over the ruins of nearby Agia Triada royal villa before taking the scenic route back through the Cretan countryside, and some crazy roads!
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  • Day4

    Palace of Knossos

    April 11, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Our first stop with the car was the 4000 year old Knossos Palace, the capital of Minoan Crete. Arriving as it opened meant we missed the crush of tourist buses that were queuing to get in as we left; it also meant we had the ruins largely to ourselves.

    The site itself was amongst the strangest of its type that we have visited. Excavated only a little over 100 years ago, the British archaelogist involved 'reconstructed' parts of the site based on little information. This means the site is an unclear mix of ruin and recreation. The information boards around the site also reference Evans' opinions on what each room was for but this seems to largely be conjecture and the subject of disagreement.

    Nonetheless, the site was fascinating to wander around, both in scale and complexity. The recreated frescos and pillars amde for interesting viewing (and we would later view the originals in the Heraklion Archaelogical Museum).
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  • Day3

    Day 2 - A drive in the Cretan Hills

    April 10, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We spent much of the day chilling and swimming again. In the evening however, we rented a car and as we had the keys from that evening we took the opportunity to get out of Analipsi and drive through the countryside. Too late for anything to be open, we drove up the hills and enjoyed the sunset instead.Read more

  • Day2

    Day 1 - Chilling!

    April 9, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    We spent Monday not doing a lot except catching up on sleep and enjoying the room! The local town is very sleepy and the season has only just started so public transport is limited. Instead, we took advantage of our pool and relaxed!

  • Day1

    Arrival!

    April 8, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    We arrived in breezy sunny Crete to the biggest Tui resort in which a have stayed. A little nervously, we approached out room. We had booked an upgraded room; a suite with a balcony and private pool for the extra princely sum of 91p per night. And what a room! The photos do not do it justice. A huge bed and bedroom overlooking the sea and a huge living room overlooking the sea, both flanked by a huge balcony; a beautiful bathroom with shower and separate Jacuzzi bath. Most significantly, up the stairs off our balcony, A sizeable private pool with views over the sea just for us!! Suitably impressed!Read more