iraklion

Neoria ,Venetian Arches.

Venetian signs (and turkish also) are visible almost all over Crete and Iraklion, the capital of the island could be no exception. Here you see a small part of the long Venetians walls, by the old port, where the shipyards were. “Iraklion town shares the turbulent history of Kriti, with occupation dating back to Minoan times. It was inhabited by Saracens, pirates and Arabs in the early days. In AD961 a Byzantine era began, until 1204 when Crete was sold to the Venetians. The Turks took over the flourishing city after a lengthy siege in 1669 and dominated until liberation in 1898. Crete unified with Greece in 1913, Iraklio suffered bombings in the world wars and played her part in the Battle of Crete in 1941. Becoming the capital in 1971, Iraklion town is now one of the most expensive capitals in Greece, and was a proud Olympic city in 2004.
The beautiful harbour is notable for its fishing boats and fresh fish, surrounded by Venetian walls, fortress and Venetian Arsenal.

Naxos --> Iraklia --> Paros

I did laundry today. In the bathtub. Rub-a-dub-dub. I’m kind of exorbitantly proud. Went out, found TIDE at the supermarket–I couldn’t even find Tide in Edinburgh! Although I’m sure it’s there and I just didn’t look hard enough because I waited until it was dire–and did a few different loads in the bathtub. I’ve got less than a load of clothes to do, but those fantastically stretchy jeans I got for xmas are still bleeding blue all over the place. I’ve got interestingly-colored thighs. =P

Tried and failed at cooking on the hotplate. Smoke everywhere, but I opened all the windows and the double doors to the balcony and I don’t think there was an alarm, so it was okay. Planning on trying again for dinner. Going to try again (with a different method) for dinner.

I’m on Paros at the moment.  I had a whole should-I-go-to-Santorini-or-Crete thing while I was on Naxos (which I loved) that kind of blew up. The port on Crete that I wanted to go to was called Iraklion/Heraklion/+some other spelling, so I bought a ticket to go to Iraklia.  Figured it was the other spelling that wasn’t listed in my guidebook.  The ferry left at midnight, arrived at 1:30 am, and I figured I’d be fine.

Iraklia is NOT Crete. Not by a long shot. And there was only one person I could find out there at the port who spoke English–a middle-aged guy who came to Iraklia for the summer months to work as a bartender at this bar he owns, so he showed up early to make it presentable–and so I hopped into the back of an old rusty red pickup with him because the cab was full of other old guys and a woman who was picking everyone up. The guy said that the woman had rooms to rent–actually, he kept asking, “HOW did you end up out here? Why are you here??” And I kept talking about the Minoan Palace at Knossos, but eventually figured out that we were talking about two very different islands. (“This isn’t Crete, is it?” Very vehement negative. I throw my head back and start laughing, already totally exhausted, notice the stars are very bright and pretty.) He said there was a boat off the island the next morning at 7:10 (it ended up being at 8) and one on Saturday afternoon, which is after the point I want to be back in Athens.

It was overall super nerve-wracking. The woman stopped at the rooms she was renting and I dropped off my stuff and then the guy said I could come up to his bar and he’d show me on a map where Iraklia is.

I didn’t realize how sketch that could be until the woman dropped us off at his place. =/ And then I started worrying about whether he expected, ahem, anything in return, which is when he let me use his computer and I posted on my dad’s facebook wall and didn’t know how alarmist to sound, but if anything happened I wanted someone to know which island I ended up on.

Anyway. Getting kicked off the internet, I’ll finish this story later.

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After the guy pulled up google maps and let me on to facebook, he walked me to the street and pointed me in the direction of the room I’d hired. I made it back easily enough–it was about two blocks away–and crawled into bed in my clothes and without even pulling out my ponytail, slept for two and a half hours and was up before the sun to catch the ferry outta town.

It’s eight euros for a ferry to Naxos, which is what I’d paid to get from Naxos to Iraklia, but that morning some old douchebag charged me 28 euros and I paid it before realizing he was just pulling one over on me. I was so pissed for so many hours, but I spent the day telling myself not to cry over spilt milk. (It helped after I counted my money and realized that as long as I don’t pay too much for housing once I get back to Athens, I’ll have more than enough money to last me until Romania.) 

So I bought a ticket to Naxos, got on the boat and decided I wasn’t going to get off at Naxos. I’d already been there, and although I liked it and probably wouldn’t mind going back, why ruin it by doing everything there and then ending up totally bored?

So I got off at the next island after Naxos, which is Paros. I got a very, very nice room for 15 euros, dropped off my stuff, grabbed a snack off a roadside stand, and wandered through town to go to two different cheap and not entirely impressive but worthwhile museums. Then I went back to the room, took a bath (another room with a bathtub!!) and went to bed at 4 pm. Woke up around 9-ish, spent some time going over my Romania guidebook, then went back to sleep at 11 and slept until 8. (I felt better after that.)

So I didn’t make it to the ancient marble quarry today, which would have been slightly difficult to get to, but I did do laundry. I’m now totally bored. =/ Off to Athens tomorrow.

I haven’t tasted ouzo, but a woman whose restaurant I ate at in Syros let me sniff some. I want to say it smells like… sambucca? Well, it smells like long nights, bad decisions and babysitting peers, at any rate. =P

I’m so glad for facebook. Yesterday when I logged on (before sleeping, it should be noted) to let everyone know I was alive and well, both Oak Park and Canada were on. They made me feel better. Oak Park showed me a hysterical dark comedy short film he found and my Canadian friend talked to me about our vampire story plots. :) :)  Honestly, next to the fourteen hours of sleep, that was the best remedy to the spiteful distrust I’d suddenly accquired of the world. 

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 Known as Thonis for the Egyptians and Iraklion for the Greeks this lost town was immersed in the mediterenian seas thus for ages was believed to be a myth!                                                                                                                       In 2000 the first findings of colossal 16 feet status,golden coins and slabs of stone inscribed in both Greek and Egyptian came to light by archeologists.        The myth has it that when Paris took Helen from her husband Menelaus king of Sparta he searched for refuge so they would not be found and took her to this town (Iraklion) just before the Trojan war started!