This post is part of our adventures in Greece in the fall of 2013, for other posts in the series, please click here.
It was mid-afternoon by the time we got back into downtown Heraklion. The next day we were heading on the early ferry to Santorini for three days of white buildings nestled on cliffs.
We decided to find the main square and look at the church there and then wander back down to the port. Unfortunately when we arrived the church was closed for the afternoon, but after poking around we were able to find out it would be opening soon.
Scouting the church before it opened
We settled in the square outside to wait. It was a perfect afternoon and Heraklion has free wifi throughout the city so it was a painless process. After a thirty minute wait we went inside. It was worth the wait.
The Greek Orthodox churches we visited during the trip are incredibly ornate – the murals, lamps and decoration all much more elaborate than the Roman Catholic churches of my childhood. This one in particular was not that large but very grand.
First view of the inside of the church
Close up of the chandelier
To make it even more special, the stained glass windows colored the foyer shades of the rainbow as we left. Outside in the square they were setting up for a concert to celebrate the end of the World Tourism celebration.
Light streaming in the foyer
On Sunday, most of the shops were closed, but we followed a crowd of people to a square with a view of a fountain and went to try some special Greek sweets. We both had a glass of fresh juice and delicate doughnuts dipped in honey.
Fresh juice, sweets and the lion fountain in the square
Sated from the treat we wandered back to the port. The sun dipped low in the sky washing the seaside with warm light.
Flowers for sale as we wandered through the streets
It was a magical evening.
Viewing the sunset
After walking along by the old fort, we headed back for dinner – a lamb schwarma meal right off another square. As we ate a tumbling club set up their mats in front of us and we were treated to a thirty minute performance of ribbon gymnastics.
Smiling from the enthusiasm we started to wander back to the hotel, but stopped again at the site of yet another concert with traditional Greek music. A night market had sprung up and we swayed and danced with everyone else in the square.
Go to Crete and go to Heraklion. The city will draw you in, like it did us. We went there on our honeymoon, but will have memories forever and it seems fitting to write about the trip given we just celebrated our first wedding anniversary.
The trip, however, wasn’t over – we had much more to see. More to come.