Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Regards from Heraklion

I'm back from a visit to Heraklio , the capital of the greek island of Crete, the birthplace of El Greko (the painter) and Nikos Kazantzakis( the writer; remember Zorba the Greek?).

The city has an airport (the second largest in Greece), and an impressive port with a venetian fortress named Koules which is quite an attraction for the whole family.

Fortress of Koules

The heart of the town comprises two major squares: the Lion Fountain Square with the 1866 market street on one side, and  the  25 August street which goes down to the port on the other side, and the Elephteria (Liberty) Square  with the famous archeological museum behind it. The cafes and eateries in the area are full at all hours of the day, both with tourists and locals.

Lion fountain

Lion fountain in the early evening hours

central market (str. 1866)

campaign for helping sick pets in the Liberty Square

Liberty Square monument

I enjoyed  sitting  on a bench in the pedestrian 25 August street for the breeze that came from the sea and caressed my face. but more so for the amazing sight from this street, of the sea with its two distinct colors: deep blue and blue-vert.

deep blue and blue-vert colors of the sea

On my second day in town, I discovered a place called The Chop which sells for only 2.80 euros a souvlaki (greek fast food consisting of meat grilled on a skewer) with a huge portion of hot chips, slices of tomatoe and whatever addition you fancy - all in a warmed soft bread - a real bargain! You can sit there with your meal and a bottle of sparkling mineral water, or take away. I did both.

At the cafe, in the  evening , after coming back from my tours, I usually ordered a bougatsa ( greek dessert - phyllo pastry with filling) with a capuccino,  or a crepe (thin pancake) with a scoop of banana ice cream filling.  If I add all this to the feta cheese and croissantes of the breakfast at the hotel, no wonder I gained 3 pounds to my weight.

people  and pets at the cafe

Heraklion was my basis for the excursions to Knossos, (5 Km southeast of Heraklion - considered the oldest city in Europe, the craddle of the Minoan civilization), and to the islet of Spinalonga known for the last leper colony in Europe. 
I'll elaborate on these topics in my next posts.


  1. It looks like a beautiful place to visit! I've always wanted to go to Greece. Your photos are just as I've always imagined it to be, especially the two different colors of the sea.

    Don't fret about the weight, it happens to the best of us. I always gain weight when I go out of town. You just have to sample the local delicacies and they sounded delicious. Can't wait to hear more!

  2. Oh what a pretty island. The statues, views, and the market looks like a lot of merchandise but a small area for people?? I love seeing these pics of Europe. Desert sounds yummy filled with banana

  3. Hi Alicia,

    Local delicacies are an important part of the fun of visiting another country. So, I wasn't ready to give it up. Now, I'm back to my diet started before the visit.

  4. Kim@stuff..,

    You're very observant. Like any market, this one is full with merchandise.The street is a regular size which is not enough. On a busy day, it becomes indeed crowded and hard to navigate.

  5. Sounds like you had quite a culinary experience in Crete!

  6. Vera,

    Indeed, I had. The coffee was bad, except the one at the hotel, but the greek fast food 'souvlaki' with all the additions was quite delicious. I was on diet before the visit, and now I have to resume it.

  7. When I was in Greece, I wanted to see Crete. No time left.
    Thanks for the great post. Wish I could have had
    lunch with you there, sound delish.
    Love GYRO'S, my Daughter and I drive for 45 minutes to to a good
    Greek "Mediterranean Kitchen" cafe. It's in Damarescotta, Maine.
    I traveled alone also, all over Europe.
    Americans asked what tour I was with.
    When I said None, they were shocked.
    This Presidential race is crazy.
    Be well and safe and happy..

  8. La Petite Gallery,

    Crete is the nearest greek island to Israel, so it suited me right. It's also the greatest of the greek islands with a lot of landmarks and attractions. Kudos to you for being such an avid traveller!

  9. Thanks for taking us along on the vacation. I loved the fountain. Glad you enjoyed the local food. Peace

  10. lady Di Tn,

    You're welcome. The fountain is actually called the Morosini Fountain as it was built by the venetian Francesco Morosini. Water is running from the mouths of 4 lions into the 8 cisterns at the base. Indeed I enjoyed the local food which is specific to all greek islands and to mainland Greece.

  11. What wonderful pictures and descriptions of your travel to greek island. I have never been but so want to at some point in the future. :)

  12. Angelina Pratt,

    Thank you. I've taken a lot of pictures and can provide many descriptions, but I wish to keep it concise and not exhaust the readers.

  13. I'll look forward to learning more....

  14. Sharon Wagner,

    Thank you for showing interest. Well, I have some on the way.

  15. I am so happy for this virtual vacation in Greece. So enjoyed your post.

  16. Linda O'Connell,

    Thanks. This post was kind of an overview. Now I'm going to elaborate a bit on some of my experiences in Crete.

  17. I'm not a great distance traveler. Thank you for sharing YOUR travels this way.

  18. Jennifer A.Jilks,

    Me too, but you see you live in a vast country Canada.It provides lots of places to visit whereas I live in a tiny country with limited visiting opportunities.
    Anyway, Crete is relatively close- 90 minutes by plane, so why not.

  19. I was there twenty years ago....I loved your travel diary. Nice blog you have here.