Most of the morning was free for exploring. Joi, Sally and I walked up the main street along the escarpment. At a nearby shop I bought a pumice stone for 50 cents, because it was convenient and there is a callus on one of my toes. The others bought postcards here, but I bought mine further along where there were more donkey pictures for the kids. All the postcards are greatly exaggerated versions of reality. We wandered back along another street with lots of fashion and touristy shops, not buying anything more. I stopped at the post office almost adjacent to the hotel, for stamps – 73 cents each.
Our bus took us to the highest village on the island, Pyrgos Village. At a lookout point the views were disappointing because we had driven above the fog line. Still, we could see the sea, the fields, the airport and the military installation. A little lower, the village was quaint and built on the steep slope. Most of us walked up the narrow stone alleyways to the church and walls. Interesting to realize this used to be a safe place to live – away from piracy and militarism on the sea.
Climb up and up until you reach safety ... and church.
We drove away from the caldera cliffs, down onto the flat, agricultural part of the island – what one might call the original coastland. Our lunch was at the tavern of last night – we were the only patrons this time. Fortunately, we all get along really well and continue to enjoy each other’s company with lots of laughs.
After lunch we drove to our only beach experience. Apparently on trips when the weather cooperates, people go swimming. While today is a little warmer than other days, the sea was too rough and chilly even for wading. The beach consisted of black pebbles that never quite grind into sand. Those of us who walked the length of the beach strolled back to join others for a drink at one of the many sea-front cafes.
Our next move was to the embarkation point for ferries – where we landed a couple of days ago. Again we gathered at an outdoor café, when walking along the pier became tedious. Our ferry was a very large hydrofoil, about 26 seats across and almost innumerable seats long. Now, after Easter weekend, fewer than half the seats were occupied, so we spread
Black stone beach seems moody in the chilly cloud.
out. After writing my postcards, I decided drifting with my eyes shut was the best way not to experience the bouncing of the ship for two hours. Worked ok, along with some salty crackers.
Off the ship, we drove a very short way into the centre of Heraklion to our Hotel Astoria Capsis , on Freedom Square . Dead tired, we were directed immediately to the buffet dinner upstairs; thence to our rooms. This is a very modern hotel, although the finishing details are not done as carefully as the good overall design would indicate.