1025 – Sunday 25th March 2018: Heraklio/Iraklio but Not As Planned
Free daytime weekend parking at the port of Heraklion…..doggy walking and then doggyinvanshutting – off to visit the much famed archaeological museum. But…..it was closed because today is National Independence Day holiday to celebrate the Greeks liberation from the Turks in 1821! Back to collect el houndos. The bonus for us was we got to see much of the big parade…. K got photographed with the comely local lassies….. lots of lovely people around celebrating with lunches. We like Iraklio – it’s got life. A good ‘snackette’ mere lunch in a side street sitting outside and watching the world go by.
The Arsenali: the most important Venetian dockyard in the Med. As many as 50 galleys could be built here at a time. And now there is massive unemployment in Greek ship building which once was a major earner for the economy. These ship sheds were cut off by a new road. Progress?!
The Turkish pump house.
The Lion Fountain or Morosini fountain, after the city’s Venetian Governor 1628. It was the city’s main source of water, via a 15km aqueduct. The lobes at the base allow many people to fill containers at the same time.
We watched a two party documentary on Greece by Simon Reeve … apparently the sponge divers use long hoses so they can stay under longer. Pollution has had a really negative impact on sponge stocks.
The Venetian fort.
1026 – Monday 26th March: Heraklio/Iraklio But As Planned
Van services completed – we said a fond adieu to the owners of Creta Camping – really wonderful people – and good value at £14 per night (4th night free:))! We perambulated the hounds at a nice beach en route to Iraklio….called into a local Michelin dealer – Jez needs two new shoes in front – “Michelin Agelis” tyres. I suppose 23,000 miles is about right for a change – they’re just on the tread bar and we are front wheel drive. Instant service again – and they will be in stock tomorrow! Price good at €380 for the pair, given where we are.
C and O left in van – and second attempt to see the Archaeological Museum. Success – and – it’s one of the best museums we have seen – well laid out and informative boards in Greek and English – highly recommended – the intricacy of the pieces from over 4,000 years ago – amazing!
Decision time – we intended to spend the night at Knossos and return tomorrow – but that nice nearby beach would be a good overnighter with loads of room for CO2 walks – so that will be our ‘nightly’. Back to ‘our’ beach via Lidl – parked for the night and – guess what – quite windy…….
The Bee Pendant from Malia: a masterpiece combining repousse, granulated, filigree and incised decoration!
Minoan civilisation pre-dates Ancient Greece and was extremely developed … art as in frescoes, sculpture and jewellery, weaponry, pottery, and international trade etc. We’ve since read that the palaces were not fortified, so either their ships protected the island and / or it was just peaceable times.
Palatial pottery from Kamares cave 1900-1700BC … I’d give them house room.
Big ‘ums. Big Ernie. Or just big Urns.
Harvester Vase: 27 men carrying harvesting equipment 1450BC.
The Ring of Minos 1450-1400BC: Another Minoan masterpiece with religious iconography.
Pottery funeral chests … never seen these before.
And watching for our return 🙂
1027 – Tuesday 27th March: Knossos and Up Into the Hills
Nice am walk on ‘our’ beach – well, we’ve been here 4 (?) times……the wind had died down during the night, thankfully. De van needed to be seriously de-sanded, again – definitely, deliberately, delectably, debrushedly, dedogedly and de feckin dogs brought it all in anyways!!! Young Corrie sheds white hairs everywhere (K: even brushing both dogs every morning and sweeping out, we’re finding her hairs attached to everything)! I’ve even found some up my nostrils – or are they mine? Did you all know K does a mean nasal hair inspection? Externally, of course…no, that doesn’t mean she does it outdoors – she’s wicked with her tweezers – but less detail is more here…. Is this blog about motor homing? Yes, it’s all grist to our mills…..
Knossos Palace is the biggest in Crete with a history going back 10,000 years to the earliest settlement – amazing…..but….the most visual wooden representation of it is actually in the Iraklio Archaeological Museum. The actual site is quite impressive – we may be just a little Greco-Roman remainsfull.
Anyone who wants motorhome tyres – go to the Michelin tyre dealers in Iraklio! Really – drive from UK to see them – these people are the business! Our tyres were ordered and delivered in 24 hours. We arrived to a coffee invitation (my coffee delivered by a man on a motorcycle) – instant tyre fitting – good price and just Cretan excellence. Next destination Thrapsano – pottery making town – but – town centre on our route SatNav-guided road closed…..narrower streets. Now, all you motorhomers will know this sinking feeling – the walls of the houses start leaning in towards you – no way through? Stuck behind a pick up. By magic, the driver appeared and moved his vehicle – enabling us to reverse and head back out of town – then north to pick up a major road – whew!
Coffee and ice cream once we arrived in Thrapsano, though. K walked and found a suitable parking….
Knossos: the largest of the Minoan Palace complexes and the most visited of Crete’s tourist attractions … we’ve certainly not seen this many tour groups anywhere in Greece, even the Acropolis! Heinrich Schliemann, famous Greek excavator / archaeologist suspect there was a city here, but was denied permission to dig by the Ottoman authorities. This pleasure was give to Arthur Evans bought the site in 1900. With his owner’s rights, he liberally interpreted what he found and restored his vision with the liberal use of concrete. But you do get a sense of the size and scale, including the multi storey buildings that were built here.
Current Knossos inhabitants … he may preen but the hens don’t seem interested!
Just South of Knossos, the aquaduct looks older but was built on Roman lines during the brief Egytian occupation between 1834-1840. i’ve just been reading … the Ottomans enlisted the help of the Egyptians to put down insurgencies and Crete was the prize.
Thrapsano: Known for pottery. Apparently they do a good export trade to the Americans.
1028 – Wednesday 28th March: Ayios Pandeleimon Church and Karfi Castle
Walk to old church – shut so back to Jez and z-bendy drive to “Homo Sapiens” museum and parking for mountain walk up to Karfi Castle – 1,000 metres high but commencing at 800 metres. It was steep!!! At the top, there was a plateau – with the scant remains of the Palace….. Bracing air – we spotted a Griffon vulture, a small church and young Corrie had to be ‘persuaded’ not to chase goats, for which she has developed a penchant….she can hear goat bells long before we can!
Back at our parking – we detected that the owner of the museum is unhappy with overnight parking so we moved a kilometre downhill to a small secluded over nightly. 4 strong hailstorms during the night kept us partly awake but – we were ‘snuggly’…. and fortunately no rood damage.
Ayios Pandeleimon Church: home to ‘imposing though weathered frescoes of soldier saints’, but shut.
Walk up to Karfi Castle; the guide book said we may be lucky and see Griffon Vultures …. we did.
Great, if misty, views … later the clouds swirled around us. We is high up!
Not much of Karfi remains; it was evacuated about 1000BC. Excavated by John Pendlebury in the 1930’s … he died in WW2.
She hears goat and sheep bells long before us.
Not modern art, but hailstones on our roof light.
1029 – Thursday 29th March: Caves
Post-hailstones, we had a lie-in, naturally…..carried water by watering can from a tap downhill in the village square. Drove into Lassithi Plateau- a green flat plain surrounded by more mountains. We stopped to photograph a selection of windmills en route. Tzermiado is a plain untouristy town – we sampled (well, I did with a little help from K) a gyros – a sort of ‘MacCretan’ roll up sandwich which threatened to attach itself to my face. But a meal in itself!
Kronos cave – free to enter – small and unlit but good old Iphone torches – mine is 6-7 years old – an Iphone -3 version! It’s a ‘caving’ day so – forward to Dikteo cave… Does anyone still use a ‘Dikteophone’ for secretarial work? Or shorthand? Pitmans? I’m showing the age thing again…. Anyway, Zeus didn’t need to be ‘dick’tated about his use of ‘dick’ety boo to his young maidens – he bowled a few overs in his time – no boundaries there….. he was born in the cave, anecdotally.
Splendid use of high camera ISO figures to light the stalactites – very phallic – no wonder Zeus was in residence here.
Now then, readers – K has this fitness thingy watch for running and walking….very progressive. It calculates her ‘fitness age’….. Currently, she is 23 and getting younger – well, I could have told her that… But a conundrum looms – when she gets to be ‘under age’, where do I get my ‘dickteoation’ so to speak, without being rude? Answers on a postcard – to – ‘CluneCrete.puzzled.Gr……
Windmills lining up at a museum on the entry range of mountains.
Gyrating on a gyros.
Kronos Cave entry.
You needed your own lighting.
View of Lassithi Plateau surrounded by mountains.
Windmills were to draw water up from the underground aquifers … fabric sails unfurl. Apparently very few are now in use.
Dikteo Cave entrance.
View looking towards Ag Nikoloas as we came over the other side of the plateau.
Corrie here, readers – my strategy to keep Ozzy waiting after a few dates for his ‘rumpy-pumpy’ has sort of backfired – a bit like a wet fart – sorry, that’s not very ladylike – and K never does those windy things (!). Blow me – now I’m ready to have my wotsit tickled – and the little fecker ain’t biting!!! What’s Kensie’s address please, Robyn – will she have him back – he’s undamaged in his ‘danglies’ department….. Now we have my new game – I chase him like a sprinter and sink my teeth in his rear leg to bring him crashing down (like Ireland did to England to land the Grand Slam)! He barks to put me off so I grab his ear – and anything else that dangles (no, not that thing)…. Unbelievable – he loves it! Great for beach runs – but the Owners don’t appreciate it when we romp in the van – why? They can romp all they like (I wasn’t really looking) – but ‘doggos’ are called ‘muppets’ when romping….. Nowt as queer as folk…
Oscar here, my readers! That little minxy missy thinks she’s dead posh and smart….. Well, I can sew my wild groats anywhere I please! Kensie – I never left you – it was only an optical confusion, really….. prissy missy can take her bossiness elsewhere. My friends Boppy and Poops will stand by their man – just like Polly Barton in the song “Joleeeen” – K likes to ‘sing’ along with that one….
Yours in aloofness – head held high.