Saturday, May 16, 2009

Crete Continued

Back in Crete...some other thoughts, observations and memories...

We fell hard for the churches of Crete. Of course you have to love the blue top icons in Santorini, but honestly the Greek churches in Crete were in some ways even more captivating.
Our second full day in Crete we all went to Knossos Palace near the town of Iraklion. After our fun and awe in Ephesus I had high hopes. While I did think the ruins of this Minoan palace were worthwhile, it was a bit of a letdown after Ephesus. The crowds were thick and the site difficult to maneuver. Brady and Connor found a peacock strutting around the grounds so they loved that much more than the historic site. That along with climbing all over the rocks!There is something about a little girl on the beach in a white, gauzy dress that just screams “carefree summertime” to me. Every year I try to snap a shot of our growing girl in a white dress on the beach and the shores of Crete seemed the perfect spot to do so. This sweet dress was given to Connor by my aunt Howard and Meme when I was still pregnant and it was wonderful to see it finally fit Connor so well. I guess the direct sunlight made it kind of tough to get a shot with Connor’s eyes open and not squinting, but hey – I’ll take it. Connor loved picking up and pouring down the sand from the beach. By the time we were done we had a ton of photos and we were all three covered in sand!Again, it was a highlight just to sit back and watch the comedy Brady and Connor can put on together. One night at dinner they had each other in stitches over who knows what and it was infectious to the rest of us. There we were with a wait staff practically to ourselves looking on (there was barely anyone else dining 'early' like we did) and we were all cracking up!The same funny scenes repeated itself at breakfast....clearly we did a lot of eating at the Pilot Beach Resort!Again it was the terrain that captivated me in Crete. Where else is it warm and tropical, yet you have views of a snow-capped mountain and scenes such as these looking down from the perimeter of the Lassithi Plateau? The twisting drives felt like we were driving up, up, up to another world!
We drove to Dikteon Cave on the Lassithi Plateau in an effort to fully embrace the Greek mythology fun. According to legends, the cave was the birthplace of Zeus. In the myth, Rhea brought the infant Zeus to the Dikteon cave to protect him from his father, Kronos, who would have swallowed him alive, as he had previously done with his brothers and sisters. Here he was nursed by the goat nymph, Amalthia. He was protected by the Kuretes (5 Cretans) who danced and clashed their weapons to cover the cries of the baby Zeus. We hiked up the steep hill and then down into the mythologic cave to experience it all. The cave was deeper and darker than I expected with stalagmites and stalagtites all over. Connor thought it was tons of fun and we told her we were looking for "bears" in the cave. Not sure she would have got the whole - birthplace of Zeus story!Finally, the last night we rode the tourist train around the grounds of Pilot Beach. I was surprised when it did doughnuts (turned circles) near the beach! Crazy train! Then we joined in the nightly kid's karoke. Karen and I went out with the kids and did the hokey pokey and tons of other silly dances - but in German/French/Greek! Quite a sight! Brady and Connor thought it was wonderful and to our surprise Brady stopped mid-dance and went over to Connor and gave her a big hug and kiss on the lips spontaneously. Very sweet.

PS - We really had high hopes of Kirk hiking through the Samaria Gorge and also of touring the town of Henia (Chania), but we ran out of time. If you are using this blog for travel recommendations then I would definitely put both near the top of your list from what I hear. The hike was just too time and travel intensive for a family (I would have had the entire day flying solo with Connor and the bus route is long), but honestly it looks worth it if kidless and adventurous. And we just didn't prioritize enough time for Henia. It looks well worth a visit too!

"Crete 's mystery is extremely deep. Whoever sets foot on this island senses a mysterious force branching warmly and beneficiently through his veins, senses his soul begin to grow" Nikos Kazantzakis; "Report to Greco"

1 comment:

Stacie B said...

What beach was that with the white dress pictures? I think that was the beach I spent time at when I went to Crete...I can't recall the name but think if I see it, it may recall the memory. It's on the south side of the island, right?