Without WiFi, blogging has gotten a bit behind, so I’m trying to catch up here.
So we woke up bright and early at 6:30am to get off the ferry at 7. After an unbeatable breakfast at the Hotel Lato in Heraklion, we all sat waiting for our next activity and fell asleep in the hotel lobby. Soon our new guide Vangelis showed up and was very animated, waking us all from our slumbers and setting us out and about the town.
Heraklion is surrounded by a fortification wall to protect it during a 22-year siege by the Ottomans. We walked along the wall and saw the poorer neighborhoods of the town, which I liked. People said “kalimera” (good morning, for my fam and friends) and it felt more real, more humanizing.
After our walk around we went to lunch at the square and got a nice shower, then left for the museum about Minoan Crete. We then went to Knossos, an ancient Minoan palace. The palace was first excavated by a British man named Sir Arthur Evans, who decided to build large parts of the palace how he thought it would have looked. His renovations were altogether too much. It looked fake, you had to keep reminding yourself that it probably wasn’t like this, and Vangelis and Barnes both seemed to disapprove. It did, however, have the oldest theatre there.
After Knossos we were rewarded with a WINERY!!! It was called Lyrarakis. You could see the mountains behind rows and rows of vines. It was truly breathtaking. We tried a couple whites, a rosé, a red, and one wine made from drying grapes naturally in the sun.
When we got back from the winery, we wanted to get dinner with Barnes and the rest, because he mentioned a great place he could take us to if we wanted. We were supposed to meet at the lobby at 9:10, and a 5 other girls and I got there at 9:11 to find everyone had gone. When we started walking in the general direction we thought they’d gone, one of the girls saw them and started running to catch up. To our surprise, she did not inform anyone in the group that there were 5 more girls behind her trying to find them, and the rest of us lost the group.
We walked around a bit, saw a cute shar pei puppy, and decided on a restaurant. We met some cool Greek guys there and learned about soccer, and after that we went to bed.
So, FULL DAY.
ANNNNND NOWWWWWW….IT’S TIME FORRRR…. FUUUUUNNNNNN FAAAACCTTTSSSDIFJWKLAS
1. In Heraklion, there was a disposal of around 350 Jewish people because they were the wealthiest in the city. They were taken on a boat in WW2, and the boat was mysteriously hit with a missile.
2. People in Greece dry flowers in the sun on wreaths on their doors, which they later burn in a big fire in June. A tradition is to jump over the flames in a ritual representing the burning of disease and death.
3. There are grooves in the sidewalks both here and in Athens for the use of blind people with canes to follow the street accurately. Vangelis said they’re not really used.
4. Both Allies and locals in Heraklion killed/slit the throats of Nazi paratroopers the moment around 15,000 of them landed in the city–something that later basically pissed off the Axis powers and lead to the absolute demolition of certain places in the city.
5. The Minoans at Knossos were thought to be a pacifistic people, until recently. An excavation found evidence of human sacrifice in the face of an earthquake or something else, possibly trying to appease a goddess.
Section 2, now: All the Feels.
I swear, these posts get longer and longer. I want everyone to know everything that I’m doing! So. Anywho.
I prefer Vangelis as a guide in some ways to Aristotle. He goes quickly, gives you the important information without tons of dates, and moves fast–keeps you awake. However, he walks faster than my mother in a mall when she sees a White House Black Market, and it can be difficult to keep up.
I still felt like I was on a boat today because of the ferry, which was difficult. I also was a bit pissed off because of being left at dinner, since Barnes had talked up this restaurant a lot at the winery and I couldn’t go. It was fine, however, later–the food and company we got instead was a nice change of pace.
Another thing that was interesting today was that I found out what grappa was! It’s an Italian liquor made from the skin of the grapes. At my grandfather’s memorial in November 2013, family and friends took shots of grappa in his honor because he used to love it. It was a nice reminder of him while I’m here, especially since I’ve seen pictures of his visit. I love you, Grandpa Joe!