Monday, July 23, 2007

Iraklion , Crete – Day 4

According to mythology, Crete, Greece is the mythical land of King Minos. It is where the Minoan civilization started, one of the most important civilizations of the world. They built palaces and established a naval empire in the Mediterranean. This great civilization was stopped by the huge waves caused by the eruption of the volcano of Santorini, Greece in 1450 BC and by the invasion of the Achaeans and the Dorians.

From there Crete has been handed over to the Arabs, the Venetians, and the Ottomans. Around 1900 they were declared an autonomous state and, in 1913, were united with the newly built independent Greek State.

We had scheduled an easy day at a nearby resort to enjoy their beach and hotel facilities. We drove for around 30 minutes from the port along the North Coast of Crete and saw row upon row of olive trees as well as figs. The area seems to be very rocky and dusty.

We arrived at the Creta Maris Hotel and Resort and claimed two chairs under an umbrella overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The water was clear and around 80 degrees. The sun was bright and warm in a clear blue sky. The tour guide gave us each a voucher for a soda and we were on our own.

Steve and Maria headed to the water to swim and I “held down” our beach chairs. After about 45 minutes they came in to rest in the shade for a few minutes and we shared soda #1. We saved the glass bottle since it was written in Greek. It will eventually make its way to SC and the top of my kitchen cabinets. I just love free souvenirs!

Then Maria decided she needed to find a rock for Grandmother June so they took off again. The beach was small stones in various shades of brown. They were very hot so flip-flops were a must.

In another 45 minutes they returned, rocks in hand. We split soda #2 and a banana and two rolls I had brought from breakfast.

They had about 30 more minutes until we needed to change for the ride back to the port so they made for the water again. After a quick change we shared soda #3 and made our way to our tour bus.

We arrived back in time for a late lunch and then headed to the room to rest and shower for supper.

After his shower, Steve announced that he had burnt his belly. I think my sunscreen is a little old and the Mediterranean sun was VERY hot today. Maria is a little pink too. Oddly enough I didn’t get hardly any sun! That umbrella was awesome.