Thursday 31 August 2017

Too chilled to blog!

The family and I got back from our holiday to Crete in the early hours of Sunday morning and we managed to keep the relaxed holiday pace going for a couple more days. I went back to work today so its back to reality until next summer! Any readers that also follow me on Facebook will have seen a small selection of my pictures from the holiday (I took nearly 2000 in total!!!) and will know that between eating good food, swimming and exploring the countryside we also managed to squeeze in a little bit of history and a couple of museums. Unfortunately I didn't get to visit the Battle of Crete and National Resistance museum, something that will have to be rectified on another visit!

So time to show a few photo's. I'll spare you the many pictures of the amazing scenery or us swimming or enjoying local food and just focus on some of the historical sights we visited. 

For the fantasy/mythological minded this magnificent cavern is supposedly the birthplace of Zeus. To reach here we had to climb 300m up a 1 in 4 pathway in 33°c nearly killed  me! 

Having crawled the last few meter's we found access to the cave involved descend 180 steps to the bottom.and of course climbing 180 back out. The view was utterly worth the effort though. 

Visiting Crete means visiting the partially reconstructed Minoan ruins at Knossos. The site was very interesting (we had an excellent guide) but very very busy. 

After Knossos our guide took us to the Archaeological museum in Heraklion. The vast majority of the best finds from all the islands Minoan sites are kept here making this a world class collection. These ceremonial swords date from 1400 to 1300 BCE

While in Heraklion I made a lone detour away from the main group to visit the Battle of Crete Memorial. This magnificent monument is often overlooked by tourists (ironically the majority being Germans!) but is well worth visiting. 

The monument is surrounded by bronze plaques showing details from the Axis invasion of the island in May 1941 and the resistance that followed.

I also found this other monument spanning the period of the Balkan War of 1912-1913, WWI 1914-18 and the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922

Another day and another trip out, this time by boat to the island of Spinalonga. The Venetians controlled the island from 1205 to 1669 until the Ottomans took control. The Venetian garrison on Spinalonga however held out for another 30 years before surrendering. 

To pass the time the Garrison played boardgames.

Spinalonga was a very strong fortress just a few hundred yards from the mainland and their Ottoman besiegers...but in the end they ran out of provisions and had no choice but to surrender. 
While in the small coastal town of Hersonissos I managed to persuade the family to visit a small nautical museum

This model shows a Minoan ship and is based on illustrations found in the excavated temples on Crete

On another trip out we visited a small mountain village and an old Cretan
house that has been turned into a museum. It showed how the people lived
just a generation ago but I was more interested in some of the photo's on
the walls....these people have been fighting for their independence for
a looong time. This guy was probably fighting the Turks.  

This photo looks like it dates from about the turn of the century so could represent a local militia

This looks like it dates from about WWII but it could be slightly later. 

Every village we visited or passed through had a war memorial of some kind. Even in this small mountain village there was a memorial covering various conflicts from the Balkan Wars through WWI and of course the Battle of Crete (WWII).

Out on a boat trip I saw this WWII observation position cut right out of the rock of the coast near the port of Agios Nickoloas. 

After visiting the very busy Knossos I was eager to visit one of the other major archaeological sites of the Minoan Era. The 'Palace' at Malia is similar in layout to that at Knossos but is not nearly as frantic.  

The small museum on site also has some excellent 1/250 scale models of the layout. Is it just me wondering how to use this in a game?  

This site doesn't have the 'reconstruction' seen at Knossos but that means the real layout con be seen and explored easily. 
I took many many more photo's but I couldn't possibly show them all here without sending everyone asleep. Now that life is settling back into its usual routine I'll start playing games and blogging again in earnest next week. 


  1. What a great trip! Thanks for sharing a few of your pics and stories.



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