21 July 2016

Crete and Santorini, 16th May 2016

Ok, ok. It's been a busy few months... Without further ado, let's get caught up! First stop Crete with Nanna in May :D

Lewie channeling his best Greek Adonis-look at the airport in Köln. 

Our first of two hotels was the Blue Aegean Resort in Gouves, about 15 minutes East of Heraklion. Hmmmmmm... I think I could stay here for a long time!

The view and the food were AH-MAZ-ING!

And so begins our rapid decent into "special drinks" for everyone every time we go out.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Yes, we definitely enjoyed the food here! Whether it be a one-man operation that cooked his entire pantry for us to sample...

...or your more traditional "menu-style" restaurant! It was all delicious!

The free shots at the end of the meal were enjoyed by some of us a little too much!

Part of the reason for visiting Crete is its history. This is truly an amazing ancient place. The site of Knossos near Heraklion was first settled in 7000 BC and is considered Europe's oldest city. The Palace was built in 1900 BC and abandoned in 1100 BC. Sir Arthur Evans, the archaeologist who did most of the excavations in the early 20th century, used a lot of cement and pretty bad paint work to restore/recreate what he thought the palace may have looked like. Interestingly, because his work was so extensive and is now also historical, it cannot be changed; it is part of the story of Knossos. Despite knowing this, it was amazing to wunder around the site and imagine what it might have been like almost 4000 years ago or to be an archaeologist discovering the site more than 100 years ago!

The ancient ritual of bull jumping. The figures in white represent females, while the figure in red, leaping over the bull, is male.

Our tour guide looked a little familiar. Where is the Mystery Box?!?

Another reason for visiting Crete was its proximity to Santorini, which was on Mum's Wishlist for visiting us... In Germany...?!? Anyway, while the girls explored Santorini, the boys trekked through the streets of Heraklion in search of GOOD coffee.

Good coffee found, with bonus extra large stack of pancakes and a side order of milkshakes. Is this your best breakfast ever, Josh? Lewie? Ben??

With tummies full, a museum visit was definitely in order. This is where the majority of the artefacts are kept, after all.

World's tiniest church? 

Old school comms. "Mama? Where are you?"

And now for Santorini! Oh, you beautiful island of white washed buildings, and magnificent blue skies and seas...


Metropolis Thira Church.

On our way to our second hotel, we stopped at the lovely Venetian port town of Rethymno. Lulu was looking a little worse for wear in the heat. Turns out he had an allergic reaction to something he ate during the day and broke out in welts. Perhaps it was the calamari for lunch?

Exploring the rock pools.

Hello Nanna!

Perhaps eating who knows what straight out of the sea didn't help?

The old town was so beautiful: gorgeous old buildings covered in greenery and flowers.

Maybe dripping your hands in the lucky fountain wasn't so lucky after all?

Oh dear, it's not looking good for Lew.

Luckily Josh is completely unaffected.

The port and the lighthouse.

After a long drive, we made it to our second accommodation: a lovely villa in Maleme, located 25min west of Chania.

Let the First International Owens-Irwin Table Tennis Tournament commence!

Fortunately for us, the owners of our villa lived next door and the husband is a doctor so we were able to get a diagnosis and prescription for Lew in the comfort of our holiday home. Even better, Lewie fully recovered after a few doses of antihistamine and we continued to explore.

Our day Chania started in the fresh produce markets. Well, fresh produce and lemon drink that is.

And then we meandered through the old streets. 

We couldn't work out what this monument was for, but it was in a beautiful small square with a huge shady tree protecting us from the hot sun. A lovely place to stop for a little rest, whatever it was!

Exploring Chania's Venetian port. The water was so clear...

...we wanted to jump in!

The next day we thought we would visit the German War Cemetery located nearby. Little did we know it was the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete (20th May 1941), with representatives from Germany, Greece, the U.K., Australia and New Zeland in attendance. And political protesters all dressed in black setting up a blockade. Despite having let Mum, Ben and Josh walk by only minutes before, they decided they would stop me and Lewie. I managed to convince them to let me through so I could find my family, told Ben what was happening and we hightailed it back down the one-lane road, quick smart!

Lunch stop on the way to our tour of the Terra Creta Olive Oil Factory.

Look kids, the oldest Olive Tree in the World (maybe)!



Yes, OLIVES!!!

Aaaah! Olives are food!

For our final stop, we detoured off the long, slow road from Chania back to Heraklion Airport to visit Kournas Lake. It is a really nice spot, and if we didn't have a plane to catch I would have loved to take the paddle boats over to the other side of the lake to see the turtles! 

What a wonderful holiday! Thanks for sharing it with us, Nanna :D

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