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Published: November 7th 2010
Playing around on the lighthouse in Hania, Crete
We had two choices to get to the island of Crete from Santorini. The cheaper of the two left at 9pm and got in to the port of Iralkio around 5am. The more expensive left at 5pm, arriving at 9pm. We chose the later of the two, wanting to arrive earlier so we could have a good night’s sleep before going to explore the ruins of Knossos the next day.
Our hostel was fairly decent, although the noise level on the street was a bit much. We also found one of the coolest bookshops I've seen on the trip, with an ever so fitting old man behind the desk who was so enthusiastic about helping us make our way up to Norway (Scott had a chat with him while I was off in never never land taking in all the amazing titles he had on display, I also found two copies of the movie script to 'Shirley Valentine' which I mailed off to my mum and aunty Pat).
The palace of Knossos was, in short a huge disappointment for us. It was interesting to see what Sir Arthur Evans thought the ruins may have once looked like while he
Hiding in the bushes
Levi and Rob.
on our hike up the river in Plakias, Crete
was excavating the sight, but if we wanted to go to 'Knossos Town' we would have picked Disneyland instead of Crete sorry Sir Evans! That being said, (for those interested) there are more sites within bus riding distance that Evans didn't get his hands on.
We had a much better time at the (under renovation) museum in town. The majority of the pieces on exhibit weren't available to the public as the museum was being upgraded, but what was still viewable was amazing. They had one of the original board-games, a few well preserved ancient frescos as well as some pieces from two different double sided axes. They also had many different types of pottery, tools and jewellery that had been well preserved, a few very nice statues and sarcophagus (more of the tomb around it then the actual body).
The next morning we headed off to Plakias, our last beach destination before we head up north ('eh). We decided to stay at the ultra cheap, but very nice, Plakias youth hostel. What a very good choice. The first impression we got was of an old hippie commune filled with retirees from days past and people who thought
it was still the 70's. We got to know a few of the people a bit better though and had an awesome week!! Funny story, we've been traveling now for almost 8 months and have only met a small handful of Canadians, there was 9 happy Canucks including ourselves. Even funnier story, one of them happened to be from Abbotsford, which is where some of my family lives. I thought I would see if maybe he distantly had heard of one of my cousins or my aunt. it turned out that he was practically family, the short version being that he is best friends with one of my half-cousins.
We had a pretty relaxing week, reading, attempting to update the blog on the sketchy Internet connection (we were staying in almost timbucktoo nowhere!) and swimming at the local nudie beach!
One of the nice things about the hostel, other than the laid back atmosphere and friendliness of the majority of people was the hikes around town. Scott, myself, Levi-Gollum (my almost cousin, and two Brits we met, Sam and Rob, went for a river hike one of the days, climbing uphill through almost knee deep water and around
into the water, river hike in Plakias
waterfalls for an hour. It was a fairly decent hike, and one of my feet got slightly torn up by the water shoes I was wearing but we had a great time, and finished the day up with dinner on the beach for the 5 of us.
We spent a last day at the nudie beach playing in the ferocious waves getting our butts kicked by the tides. Sam and Rob left the next day, and we followed not too far behind, catching an early bus out of town with the eventual destination of Hania. We had an afternoon to wander around the second big city of Crete, checking out the old Venetian port and lighthouse, and just generally wandering around town waiting for our 9pm overnight boat back to Athens
The boat ride was.. decent. We managed to snag a good spot in one of the lounges and took turns sleeping so we wouldn't get booted out to sleep in the halls with the others who didn't feel €100 was a fair price for a room.
Which brings us back to Athens. The city most think is scuzzy but we've enjoyed a fair amount. We have
a day to spend taking care of some errands before we catch our flight to ROME!! This will be my second European country and another new destination for Scott, so steeped with powerful ancient history it boggles the mind!
We have a little over two weeks left of backpacking before we catch a plane to Norway and bunker down for the winter with jobs, and hopefully some Norwegian language classes for me! Until then; history, art, architecture, food, Italy!!
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