|While the smaller islands were beautiful, it was nice to reach a larger center that had not shut down for the season. The ferry schedules certainly become abbreviated in the off season and we would have spent more time on Crete, but the ferry to the Peloponnese only runs weekly at this time of year.
Our first stop was in the capital city of Iraklio. Iraklio offers a number of sights which included some rather humorous driving which confirmed the decision to use the bus. From our hotel room we were able to watch the same vehicle get hit several times within an hour as other drivers attempted to negotiate a tight corner in the narrow streets. As mopeds appear to be able to travel anywhere one can walk, there does not appear to be any sidewalk where it is safe to assume that it is pedestrian only. Generally not a problem, but it does take some adjustment.
From Iraklio, we were able to visit the ruins of a Minoan palace at nearby Knossos. Knossos is the location for several Greek myths including the Minotaur and the flight of Icarus from a prison on the island. The ruins were very interesting and dated back to 1700 B.C. The Minoan civilization was quite advanced and the palace included underground clay water pipes and other detail.. It has been speculated that the Minoan culture went into decline following the Santorini eruption that would have spewed vast amounts of ash into the atmosphere and surrounding islands.
Another daytrip took us to Agios Nikolaos and Elounda on the east end of the island. These are primarily a resort areas which were very quiet at this time of year. The trip took us along the coast and provided views of some of the inland mountains.
We overnighted in Chania as we made our way to the west end town of Kissamos where we would catch to ferry to the Poleponnese. This was obviously a tourist town as well, but still quite active and very picturesque with a beautiful harbour areas surrounded by restaurants. Our hotel was a bargain and we got a rooftop room with a great view of the harbour and town. As our ferry was an early morning departure we spent our final night in the port town of Kissamos. As the guide book says, it is primarily a place to stay before taking the ferry and we would have to agree. We did manage to find a room, but this town will not find its way into our recommended stays.