TRAVELOGUE
Greece

Crete (Heraklion, Sitia)

In the morning we leave the apartment and return the car to the rental agency. As we can't traverse the island with the car, we'll take the bus. We find the bus terminal, buy tickets and locate the bus. The trick in locating the right bus is that every bus line is marked by a number that can be found at the bus entrance. Soon after departure a conductor started checking tickets. When he approached a woman, after a few words in Greek he started yelling at her. After a few minutes of yelling I was afraid for the woman... But then they both smiled and the "conversation" was over! In fact, what resembled a bitter vocal fight was indeed a normal conversation in Greece. Well, we'll have to get used to that...

Heraklion
Heraklion

After 3 hours in bus we arrive in Heraklion, the biggest city in Greece. If Olympic Games for the ugliest city existed, Heraklion wouldn't miss the gold medal. It's downright ugly. We came to Heraklion to see Knossos, the ancient capital of the Minoan Crete. On the bus station we left our luggage in the left luggage department (it didn't really look like a safe place to leave one's luggage, but we had no choice). We found a local bus to Knossos, which is located a few kilometers away, in the suburbs of Heraklion. The bus got stuck in the city centre, charged with passengers and having no air-conditioning. So we were sweating for an hour before we finally arrived at our destination. The crowds of tourists in Knossos were unbearable. We bought tickets for what was once a grandiose city-palace and today is just a ruin (partially restored). In 1900 one British archeologist discovered Knossos and started restoring it by painting the walls of the palace (those that remain) and other objects in the palace. Knossos is a destination for architecture and art lovers. Željka was disappointed with Knossos so we left soon.

We returned to the bus station, picked our luggage (it was still here!) and went to the information booth to ask for the boat that would take us from Sitia on the east of Crete to Rhodes. They told us to go ask in the harbor. Which is not too close to the bus station! We found a building in the harbor with ship company offices but didn't know which company operates boats to Rhodes. At the first office the employee told us to go to ask at the bus station?! At the entrance door of another (closed) office we found the timetable to Rhodes. So the boat connection really exists at Friday and the company name is "Lane". Good, we have time for lunch in a garden restaurant before we leave Heraklion.

Our bus to Sitia looks like it could disintegrate at any moment. On our way to Sitia we pass through Hersonisos, a mass-tourist destination: hotel, shop, rent-a-car, hotel, shop... All in the Hersonisos main street so tourists don't have to walk too much. The driver is keeping the front bus door open all the time. And we are sitting in the first row... The music playing on the radio reminds us very much of Turkish music. Nobody seems to care for bouzouki or sirtaki on Crete - that seems to be of interest only to tourists.

The road climbs away from the coast and we cross the hill to Mirabello Bay and then descend the winding road to Sitia. We chose Sitia as our final destination on Crete because in two days we'll board a ship to Rhodes here. This boat sails only tree times per week and there is no other boat connection from Crete to Rhodes. It was already dark when we arrived in Sitia. We checked in a local agency that the ship does sail Friday.

Sitia
Sitia

We found two free apartments near the coast and chose the one we liked more. It's nothing particular but it's located on the second floor and has a perfect view over the bay. In front of the apartment there's a chain of restaurants all the way to the city centre. In the centre we discovered that our ship to Rhodes changed its timetable and that it now *doesn't* sail Friday but Saturday! We're not very happy to have to stay one more day in Sitia but there's nothing we can do. We chose a waterfront restaurant and had a dinner - only 6€ for two Greek salads!

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Greece: Crete (Vai)
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