Tag Archives: Crete

The tenth quarter review

25 Jan

Wow – ten quarters later I am still keeping it up.  This review is slightly delayed, but I wanted to take the time to call out some of my favorites from the last three months.

I was able to share many posts from our trip to Greece – and the post that got the most views was looking out at the Horizons of Chania, Crete.  Even though not as popular as Santorini, Crete really made a strong impression on me and I would go back there in an instant.

Sunset in Chania

I started my new job and made a couple of trips to Beijing which I enjoyed.  Sometimes you need something new to remind you of what’s just around the corner.

Posing with Chairman Mao - note the gray sky

Posing with Chairman Mao

Finally – my new mini-series that I kicked off with posts from my cousin Matt – the I’m ready to move to China series.  His fresh set of eyes were a favorite of readers and mine too – now I just need to convince him to come back so he can write a follow-up series!

Did I miss a post you particularly enjoyed?  Let me know!  Looking forward to the upcoming year of the horse and lots more travel in February.  Come along for the ride!

Heraklion – the end of day 3

8 Dec

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

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

First view of the inside of the church

Close up of the chandelier

Close up of the chandelier

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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

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

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

Flowers for sale as we wandered through the streets

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It was a magical evening.

Viewing the sunset

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.

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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.

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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.

Our first lamb lunch and the ruins of Knossos – Greece Day 3

24 Nov

This post is part of our adventures in Greece during the fall of 2013.  To see other posts in the series, click here.

After an early morning bus ride and a visit to the museum in central Heraklion we looked for a place to grab lunch before heading to the ruins of Knossos.  Greece is famous for its lamb and so Li decided to try his first set of Greek lamb chops.  Even though the restaurant seemed very ordinary the lamb was excellent – it started us on a quest to try as much lamb as possible during the remainder of our visit.

The first set of lamb chops - that we continually

The first set of lamb chops – that we continually tried to top

Then we found the bus stop and road the bus to the end of the line where the reconstructed ruins of Knossos waited for us under sunny skies.  Because of the special event that weekend – World Tourism Days- entrance was free, so avoiding a guide who tried to sell us a pricey tour, we entered.

Layout of the palace - with the original descriptions from renovation #1

Layout of the palace – with the original descriptions from renovation #1

The ruins had been reconstructed nearly 100 years ago in a way that was very modern – it was supposed to give you a sense of the way that the palace was laid out.  However, since that time, archeological practices have changed so we eavesdropped on several guides who were explaining that many of the descriptions and renovations are now not seen as culturally accurate.  Under any case it did give you a sense of grandeur of the Minoan civilization and gave me a sense of wonder that so long ago this very large building with multiple levels and staircases was constructed.

Ruins with the pines and mountains behind

Ruins with the pines and mountains behind

A recreation - to give a sense of what may have been

A recreation – to give a sense of what may have been

View of a storage room with many jars

View of a storage room with many jars

Recreation of the Minoan Bull mural in one of the rooms at the top

Recreation of the Minoan Bull mural in one of the rooms at the top

We wandered for a couple of hours then headed back to the city of Heraklion where we discovered the rest of World Tourism Days waiting for us.

Another recreation evidenced because I don't think cement was commonly used at that time - you can see how there were multiple levels

Another recreation evidenced because I don’t think cement was commonly used at that time – you can see how there were multiple levels

The beautiful blue sky

The beautiful blue sky

An ancient road - think who may have walked along these steps...

An ancient road – think who may have walked along these steps…

Where have you seen your favorite set of ruins?  Does ancient history or modern marvels sit at the top of your list?

Apologies for the delay in the posts – my travel continues, but I’ll get on track eventually.

Flying high

7 Nov

I am still going through my pictures from Greece.  It is happening in fits and spurts between my new job and business travel and trying to stay in touch with my friends.  The whirlwind continues, but I am having a wonderful time soaring above it all.

These photos from Heraklion, Crete capture my feeling perfectly.  They were all taken on the same day.  I am the one flying high above – enjoying the beauty below and looking for a safe place to land.

Birds flying in the cathedral square

Birds flying in the cathedral square

Sunset over the harbor

Sunset over the harbor

An ancient wall and an airplane above

An ancient wall and an airplane above

I head out on another business trip this weekend so may be out of touch for a while, but will come back with more stories and photos.  I just need to make sure I don’t get caught up in the many currents that exist when I’m that high.  Landing can be the most difficult part – trying to relax after the go-go-go of work as it’s a long way down.  I’ll manage.

Do you soar?  What things make you ready to take on the world?  Where do you soar?   The skies of Greece were an ideal place.

Heraklion, Crete – the delicate details

3 Nov

This post is part of our travels in Greece in the fall of 2013.  To see other posts in the series, please click here.

After a wonderful experience in Chania, we headed out early the next morning to the capital of Crete – Heraklion.  We took the bus and the views up and down the coast made us both want to get off and explore further.

Shortly after arriving at the hotel and checking in, we headed to the Archaeological Museum in the center of town.  The travel guides suggested we go there first before heading to see the ruins at Knossos because it would give us a better idea of how things should have looked in the past.

The museum was wonderful – it gave us a glimpse into the history of that area over 3000 years ago.  One thing that struck me was the delicacy of many of the items on display.  The attention to detail made many of them seem like I could take them home today.

There were crowns…

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and small bronze statues that looked like dolls, though I believe they were icons or offerings to the gods.

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One of my favorites were the delicate murals on the walls

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and then the mosaics lining the floor that were as beautiful as carpets.

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I tend towards delicate jewelry and details.  The Minoan culture even though it was so long ago was very relatable and made me very excited to see the rest of Heraklion and the ruins of Knossos.

This post was inspired by Alisa at Where’s My Backpack.  Her travel theme this week is Delicate.  I am happy to participate again in one of her weekly travel themes.  To see how others define delicate, please click the link.

Have you ever felt that you could walk into another culture and feel at home?  What details do you need to see for that to happen?

Chania, Crete – Greece Day 2

29 Oct

This post is part of our adventures in Greece in September and October of 2013.  To see other posts in the series, click here.

Chania, Crete is not nearly as well known as Athens – or even the other more famous Greek Islands of Mykonos or Santorini.  Chania is a beach town, known for a beautiful harbor, a mosque and a tangle of streets that draw you in with restaurants and sweets and vendors.  Crete is the cradle of civilization, home to the Minoan ruins which are even more ancient than the temples we had seen the previous day.   We would see ruins the next day, but first, Chania itself.

We woke to a beautiful morning overlooking the sea.

Day break from the balcony

Day break from the balcony

After a long walk to enjoy the fresh air and sand between our toes, we headed out to explore the town.  The town is situated on a harbor which is surrounded by restaurants overlooking the water.  There was a breaker protecting the harbor that curled out into the water where I would guess there had been a fort or perhaps a guard post.

I don't often find octopus hanging on my way - made us smile

I don’t often find octopus hanging on my way – made us smile

Initial view of the main harbor

Initial view of the main harbor

Church in the square

Church in the square

We wandered until we found lunch.  After lunch we checked out a maritime museum with exhibits on making rope and filling holes.

Looking back at the harbor from the other side

Looking back at the harbor from the other side

A street performer on the way to the museum

A street performer on the way to the museum

There was this cool exhibit of the lights used in lighthouses as well

There was this cool exhibit of the lights used in lighthouses as well

We then walked all the way to the end of the breaker – a long walk under the pounding sun but worth it for the incredible views.

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Finally we had some frozen yogurt – mine with peaches and honey and then wandered back to the hotel to watch the sunset.  The owner of the yogurt shop was extremely friendly – even insisting that we not pay until we finished the yogurt and making sure it was up to snuff.

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Sunset over we returned to the town and found a restaurant where we could view the lights of the harbor and eat seafood.

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The next day we would take a bus to the capitol and see ancient ruins, but for that day we were happy being beach tourists under starry skies.

Both of us agreed that Chania had caught us under her spell.

Have you visited a less famous town during a trip and had it enchant you?  Those are the places that you talk about first, before the ones that everyone recognizes, the secret that you want to share – or go back to.  Crete was that for us.

Horizons of Chania, Crete

27 Oct

As I was going through the hundreds of photos from our trip to Greece, I realized that there are many, many shots of horizon lines, especially where the ocean meets the sky.  These four photos were chosen from our stay in the town of Chania, Crete and capture one day – from early morning through sunset.  The photos were taken from different points as we explored the coast.  Each time I look at them it takes me back to that beautiful September day.

Morning in Chania

Sea and sky - Chania

Afternoon sky - Chania

Sunset in Chania

To see how others responded to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Horizons, please click the link.

What do you see on your horizon?

To see other posts from our adventures in Greece, please click here.

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