Today I ended up going to Knossos, an ancient Minoan 'town' I suppose you could say, with an extensive old Minoan palace with multiple levels and rooms - most of which are missing parts (or at the highest part all) of their walls, and are still under renovation
. It was first renovated and discovered I believe in the 19th century by this guy Arthur? Evans. But apparently he didn't do so great a job of it, because they're back at it again. And of course, the corresponding museum for this was closed also for renovation, just like the supposedly fantastic Archeological museum in Heraklion, which is 2nd only to the one in Athens, but it too has been closed since 2006. hmmmm that doesn't sound too promising! But the palace itself is impressive enough, with some replica frescoes hung where Evans decided - not necessarily their original place. uh, great. so a lot of imagination is required here.... oh well! But you can see why the location was chosen - some great beautiful views and fertile land. It reminded me for some reason of visiting the Brian Boru fort in Clare or Limerick? Can't remember which... but similar old feel to it, and surrounding buried old fort walls and everything....
Speaking of fort walls, back in Heraklion, the town is surrounded by old walls, with a number of bastions and K. somebody's tomb. Passing by the industrial outskirts, I saw a small church literally being built around - it was hanging over a vast dugout area for the foundation of some new building being constructed exactly around it. And the church left untouched. Amazing! Kind of like the Irish and fairy rings. You leave em alone and build around. Interesting. As far as the shops go, everythign is closed from like 2:30-5:30 or 6pm, prime shopping time, and because today is apparently a Wed, everything closes at like 2:30 and that's it! So basically you're screwed. Although there is a nice market street and most of the merchants remained open into the afternoon a bit, which helps for sure.
After an incredibly LONG 10 hrs or so scrunched on the floor and using my scarf as a blanket (so much for deck passage), with tv going and lights far from dimmed, I arrived in Iraklion/Heraklion Crete at about 5am. Ugh. After yesterday with creepy people, I figured I'd pop the 8 euros and cab it over to the hotel. But of course the room wasn't ready, so I ended up sleeping on their couch for the next 3 hrs till it was, and then passing out for another 3 or so once I got a room. Ah sweet bliss! Wandered around Heraklion, which is quite a nice and pretty and generally touristy city without feeling too resorty. Definitely safer than Athens going solo! After wandering some more, I decided to book a ticket from here to Santorini, and then from there to Thessaloniki in order to get to Istanbul. That way I skip going back to Athens altogether - yes!!!