Day 2,082 of Traveling the World | Heraklion, Island of Crete, Greece | October 11, 2023

Life is good in Crete! We found dark blue water, ancient buildings, a flourishing economy, some interesting (and twisted) myths, lots of people (there were three cruise ships in port!), and world-class cinnamon rolls. Who wouldn’t have a great day in Heraklion??

A few miles outside of the capital lies Knossos Palace, home to King Minos, who might himself be a myth or might have actually existed. Anyway, the king made the God of the Ocean, Poseidon, angry. Poseidon punished him by making Minos’ wife fall in love with a bull. They mated, and she eventually gave birth to the Minotaur, who had the body of a man and the head and tail of a bull. As he grew, he became more ferocious and began eating human beings, so he was banished to the Labyrinth, which was at Knossos Palace. Got that? Good, because Crete is consumed with bulls. Many of the excavated ancient artifacts depict bulls, either in paintings or carvings. So many of the items for sale today have either bulls or actual Minotaurs on them. So…maybe better to know the history before you buy??

The weather was gorgeous: warm and sunny but with a nice breeze from the Mediterranean. The breeze really helped, as walking along the coast, and even through Heraklion, there aren’t a lot of shade trees. At many of the coffee shops, in particular, there were groups of local men or women – usually not both – sitting and talking over world events with a cup of coffee and a pastry. We watched a table next to us – one man got up and said goodbye, and five minutes later the remaining men greeted someone else, who slid into the empty chair and then ordered a coffee and pastry. It created a nice ambience of camaraderie and friendship.

Rocca a Mare (Koules) Fortress – many Mediterranean ports have forts, needed over the centuries to protect their land from pirates and marauders.
The busy harbor.
You can see how the fortress guarded the inlet to the harbor.
St. Titus Church, built as a mosque in 1869 and converted to Christian worship in 1925.
Inside were a multi-tiered chandelier and soft pastel colors. When it was converted from a mosque, the minaret was demolished and the head of St. Titus was returned to Crete from Venice.
A typical shaded cafe along the promenade.
The famous fountain in Liondaria, or Lion, Square. It is carved with mythological figures, with the main basin supported by four lions.
The Heraklion Market, where fresh fish and produce can be found, as well as clothing and souvenirs. It was just jammed with potential buyers!
The Venetian Loggia, from 1628, now in use as Heraklion’s City Hall.
When you reach the innermost part of the loggia, there is this lovely open-air room.
The nobles of Crete used to meet at the loggia – this is the front portico, or porch, with its signature arches.
Just across from the harbor are a series of stone arch walkways.
This is the main shopping street, which as you can see, goes up straight from the harbor.
Second row from the top, extreme right: world-class cinnamon rolls at the aforementioned coffee shop that was constantly busy, Zimoto. We restrained ourselves after sharing a cinnamon roll, because then we wanted to try one of everything. Yep, it was that good. If you are ever in Heraklion, you absolutely must have coffee and “a something” here!

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