Back to where everything began
The last leg of our Greece tour for this time was Crete and Knossos – the centre of the ancient Minoan culture and the earliest “modern” civilisation in Europe. In Heraklion, the biggest city on Crete, will you also find one of the greatest museums in Greece. And if that wasn’t all, it’s also the biggest museum in the world of Minoan art. In short, a must see.
We actually flew to Chania and not Heraklion, where we should stay. Don´t ask me why, I assume it´s a 7 letter word – Ryan Air. They only fly to Chania. Anyway, after some discussions with the personal at the airport and checking time tables for busses we realized that it will take 2,5 to 3 hours to reach our hotel if we use the ordinary public transports. Lazy as we are, we decided that we should rent a car instead, could be good to have, not only for transport to the hotel but also to travel around a little bit, Crete is a large island.
The modern way to design your own travel
We opened Google map on my laptop and started to scan for nice looking bays and creeks close to Heraklion. When we found the “right” bay, yea the one that looked good from above anyway, we zoomed in and boom, the Sirena Apartment popped up on the map among a few others ones. Sirena is more or less situated just on the beach and really close to the boardwalk and all the restaurants.
We checked Sirena in our Booking.com app and the price was suitable, as well were the previous customers reviews, which is somewhat important for us.
I remember back in the eighties when we booked our holidays via a travel agency. I had their glossy catalogue in my hand and was bound to choose something of what they had to offer. No reviews and you booked hotel based on the info in their catalogue, it could really be all or noting. To far from the beach or just a beach that wasn’t much bigger then for a few families, it was like a bizarre lottery.
As of today it up to our self to design our own journey and you have a lot better control of your trip, and you will not have any surprises anymore. Except for cancelled or overbooked flights and bad weather of course. Overbooked flights aren’t fun, but we have a cure for that in our blog.
Knossos – where everything started
If you travel to Crete, you really need to visit Knossos, which very much likely are the oldest city in Europe. Knossos or what’s left of it had its first settlement back in 7000 BC and the first real palaces dates to approx. 1900 BC. Knossos was at that time the largest city on Crete. You can easily walk around in Knossos for hours and a recommendation is that you buy a bottle of water at the entrance; it can be really hot up there.
Antiquities or just old rocks?
Many of the findings from the excavation can now be found at Heraklion Archaeological Museum. As I mention earlier is Heraklion Archaeological Museum one of the most important ones of it´s kind in the world and even if it was severely damaged during WW II, luckily enough, all the antiquities stayed intact. In the museum you will find historical antiquities that span over 5000 years, it’s just incredible.
Heraklion is the fourth largest city in Greece and the biggest city of Crete. If you are visiting Heraklion Archaeological Museum you also need to plan to stay in town for at least the rest of the day.
Crises in Greece
Agia Pelagia – our stay for the visit to Crete is a really nice small village, in just the right size. The boardwalk has a lot of small and nice restaurants and shops. One evening we had a long discussion with one of the restaurant owners. We where very happy with the food and the price was really reasonably, but there weren’t many customers eating, and this was like the third day in a row. We asked him why…
He replied that many of the large international travel agency’s has built their own so-called “all inclusive” stays just outside Heraklion (and probably all over Greece) and that doesn’t give much income to the country, local restaurants or shops. Many of these tourists’ stay in the all-inclusive hotel and don’t really spend money on the local restaurants. That has made a few of his colleagues to close their business for good. Just read in the newspaper today that Greece economy is on the right track for the first time since 2008, I really hope so.
Closed for good
Personally I don´t think that traveling “all inclusive” are that exiting. If you travel to another country on holiday, why not eat their local cuisine and stay at their rather small and cosy hotels and lodges instead. For me that´s what holiday are about, otherwise I can stay at home. Low cost airlines and companies as Booking.com are at least one way to keep some of their business alive.