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.
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