South to Crete

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May 20th 2016
Published: May 20th 2016
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I've fallen a little behind due to very full days, so it's time to catch up.

Wednesday we spent much of the day on Santorini, visiting a site on the second-highest peak of the island that was continuously inhabited from about 1400 BC to 1500 AD, when the people there finally decided it was safe to come down from their mountain. In the afternoon we took a fast ferry (50 km/h or so!) to Heraklion in Crete.

Thursday we visited Chania, a lovely seaside town in western Crete that was built by the Venetians. They occupied Crete for about 400 years and left their mark in many places. On the way back we stopped at a Renaissance monastery with buildings designed by a pair of Italian brothers. Apart from the icons in the church it felt like it was in the hills of Tuscany.

Today we travelled south to the Minoan palace of Phaistos. It had a real grandeur, with several large stone-paved courts and some of the ceremonial rooms almost intact. Afterwards we had lunch in the "hippy town" of Matala. I think the real hippies left long ago, but the town clings to that image. The bedrock there is sandstone and apparently hippies just carved caves for themselves to live in - much like the villagers on Santorini.


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