Monday, May 24, 2010

Greece Trip (Day 3) - Palace of Knossos

Palace of Knossos, Crete

After getting in off the Ferry, really the begining of our trip, and finding some food, we wandered around the market area of Heraklion. Many of the shops were tourist traps, but they had nice churches and the cool 'Lions" Fountain that stands in the middle of the square.

The Lions fountain

Directly behind it and to the right we stopped at a restaurant for lunch, getting fried zuchini and eggplant combo. The waiters were very loud and friendly, often giving out free ouzo shots and would respond to almost everything with a long "allriiight." One waiter in particular could have been the brother of the comic who does the "and did you know" skits on late night TV (Maggie and Mom, you would have died with laughter). He was very excited that we were from Minnesota and would yell after us, "Timbur-volves! Timbur-volves!" (basketball is big in Greece I guess)
Palace of Knossos

After fully exploring the town, we hoped on a bus and headed out to the Palace of Knossos, where the legendary Minotaur and Labyrinth were said to have been. The ruins were very very old compared to what we have seen on other travels.

Much of the site has been excavated and the artifacts brought back to the local museum in town, which we stopped at next. They had some really cool statues and vases.

Artifacts from Knossos

After the museum we took a walk down to the pier. We thought there was just a little ways out to go, but the pier had been built so big to shelter the cruise ships at Port that the 'little' walk turned into more of a death march. That day was extreamly windy and we later found out that many of the inter-island ferries had been cancelled or delayed. This was not the first time we were lucky with the weather.

Because our march to the end of the peir had worked up an appetite, we decided to take the recommendation of the hotel and visit a Tavern that served fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes. It was one of the best meals we had on the trip.

Pita, Feta, Tomato sandwitches

Shadowed under the shade of trees (as all the traditional restaurants were) we sat out on the street patio and had amazing dishes with homemade wine.

Kalimaraki (version of squid)

Grilled Octopus (so good we ordered a second plate)

Loukoumades (Honey coated donuts) These were so so amazing.

They were very nice, giving us free dessert and ouzo, as we found that all the 'small' family owned places did. We were a little confused when they presented us with a menu in Spanish though. Since there are so many cultures that vacation in Greece, taverns frequently have menus made up in different languages. I guess that night we looked like we were from Spain... We also recognized and said hello to a French tour guide who we had ridden over on the Ferry from Athens with. I guess even foreign islands are smaller than you think.

Later we went back to The Lions square for drinks with our waiter friends, George and Mike. We found out exactly how much ouzo you can have without getting a headache the next morning.

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