BELOW : We arrived by plane on the island of Crete, and stayed in the capital city of Heraklion for 3 nights. We progressed in a westerly direction across the top of Crete, staying also at Rethymno, Chania and finally Kissamos. All these towns have port access, however, we travelled by local bus services.
BELOW : This Sky Express plane was on the tarmac when we arrived in Heraklion Airport. Sky Express is a Greek domestic carrier, based in Heraklion. This company has an interesting legal entity, it is known as Cretan Aeronautical Exploitations. ? ? This information may be handy to the trivia buffs. Or, maybe not.
BELOW : Our hotel in Heraklion was situated right near the port, and also a short walk to the local bus station. This is the first of many photos taken from the balcony of my room. The two ferries in at the port both provide services to and from Piraeus (near Athens), and also to some of the other Greek islands.
BELOW : Anek Lines and Minoan Lines are the owners of these two ferries.
BELOW : Still on the balcony, looking over towards the fortress and breakwater of the harbour. The two ferries above are just a bit further across to the right.
BELOW : A zoom shot taken from the same spot as the photo above. The "Castello a Mare" is a fortress located at the entrance of the old port of Heraklion. It was built by the Republic of Venice in the early 16th century, and is still in good condition today.
BELOW : Looking immediately to the right from the hotel balcony you see another hotel. The brown roof on the lower left, is the roof of the bus station terminal building. The two ferries are berthed just a little further to the left of shot.
BELOW : This shot was taken from in front of the fortress, looking back towards the hotel. The building on the left is the hotel in the photo above.
BELOW : Looking back towards the fortress, from part of the way along the breakwater.
BELOW : From further still along the breakwater.
BELOW : The fortress is open for inspection for a modest entree fee. This photo was taken on the on top of the fortress. The square covered sections you can see, allow light and air, to pass through to the downstairs area inside the fortress.
BELOW : Looking from the top of the fortress, over the small vessels in the harbour, and back towards our hotel.
BELOW : Looking at a section of the breakwater, from on top of the fortress.
BELOW : Looking out at some of the township, through one of the wall openings, on top of the fortress.
BELOW : Yes ! We speak your language . . Well our menus do at least. . This restaurant had a wide range of menus (in 12 different languages), no doubt, a reflection of the wide range of tourists catered for during the European summer.
BELOW : Candia (as Heraklion was formerly known) was officially known as an overseas colony, of the Republic of Venice, from around 1212 -1669. This fountain in the town’s main square was built toward the end of the Venetian period of rule. The Otterman Empire ruled after the Cretan War of 1645-1669)
BELOW : Well, this is the fountain, the photo above is just the sign which stands beside the fountain.
BELOW : Out wandering in one of the back streets, it’s always a colourful experience.
BELOW : Just a peek in through someone’s gate, as I pass on by in the street.
BELOW : Taking another look from the hotel balcony, you may notice the fountain incorporated into the roundabout. I am not sure which was there first, the chicken or the egg . . But it is a cool site as you pass by in any means of transport.
BELOW : This is the outside of the lift in the hotel. They seem relatively common in Greek hotels. You call the lift using the normal press button, when it arrives you open the door using the handle, and enter.
BELOW : Inside the lift, there was reassuring signage to be found ! (Especially points 3,4 and 5.)
BELOW : Back on that balcony at the hotel again ! This time taking in some of the night lights of the port area. The single row of lights coming from the left of the photo are the lights on the breakwater. You may have noticed that the ferries in port are now a Seajets ferry and a Blue Star ferry.
BELOW : It is a very relaxing pastime watching submarine races. Or just taking in the night lights of the harbour.
BELOW : The Palace of Knossos is only a short local bus ride away from the hotel. It is thought the original palace was built around 1900 BC, during the Minoan period of rule in Crete. Earthquakes in around 1600 BC and 1450 BC meant that rebuilding of the original palace had to take place.
BELOW : A lot of the archaeological and restoration works were done in a period of around 35 years, beginning in 1900 AD, by Sir Arthur Evans and his team.
BELOW : Some of the extensive palace grounds can be seen in the background of this photo.
BELOW : Inside one of the restored rooms.
BELOW : And more.
BELOW : A very old chair, in a very old room.
BELOW : An area on the outside of one of the buildings which has been restored.
BELOW : These pieces of pottery are actually around 2 metres in height. No wonder they had so many handles !
BELOW : The tables are set for the evening trade at a restaurant in the Heraklion town centre area.