Crete is one of the those places that has been on our travel ‘Bucket List’ for years, but for some reason that neither of us can explain, it had been pushed further down the list as the years have gone by. Which as it turned out, had been a huge error on our part…
Our hotel looked out on the Mirabello Bay and, sitting in the middle is the island of Spinalonga, which provided the backdrop for Victoria Hislop’s novel The Island
A boat from the little town of Plaka, took us across to the former leper colony, said to have been the last in Europe. It was quite eerie to walk round the almost deserted island and in places the silence was overpowering.
Arriving at Spinalonga
We came across this little church on our way back from Heraklion after a visit to Knossos. Men were working in the road cutting down lots of trees, which goes some way to explain all the foliage on the ground in the photo.
Knossos is somewhere I have longed to go since reading about it in history lessons. Nowadays, it is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site in Crete and considered by many historians to be the oldest city in Europe. Not much remains of the great palace today, except part of the north entrance which features the famous fresco of the Charging Bull.
Fresco on the palace wall Knossos – Charging Bull
Part of the Royal Palace
A gentle 10 minute stroll from our hotel, brought us to the small town of Plaka. The walk through the gardens and then out along the main road, meant we followed the coast for most of the way. The views were just stunning.
View from hotel garden
At the end of the walk, our favourite taverna where we had lunch most days. It was very unusual to be able to take this photo without any people in it. The queue for the boat to Spinalonga started just outside the door and every day there seemed to be more and more people wanting lunch before taking the boat across to the island.
Taverna at Plaka
The Cretan people are incredibly friendly and very hospitable. We visited Agios Nikolaos and Elounda too and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Crete is somewhere that remains with you long after you leave, I would love to go back there some day.