|Islands are different
||[Jul. 6th, 2007|04:32 pm]
Just a quick update here. I'm in Heraklio on Crete doing fine. The flights from Salonica and Athens were uneventful but the views were pretty amazing. It was a great way to get a sense of what makes Greece so special... it's crazy geography. Arriving in Heraklio I immedieately realized two things: 1. A nice ocean breeze helps to cool things down and 2. I'm on an island, where things are different.
Indeed, Heraklio, eventhough it's supposed to be the busiest of all cities on Crete, is 100 times more relaxed than Salonica and about 10 000 more than Istanbul. Sure, there is tourists everywhere, and cheezy tourist trap type stores, but everything just seems a bit more relaxed here, slower, and I like it.
Last night when I arrived though, I wasn't happy. After a nighttime walk around the neighbourhood and a dinner that involved lots of waiting and power outages, I decided that I hated Crete and was getting off this damn island as soon as possible. It just seemed really unfriendly. Sure enough, after a good sleep I awoke feeling totally different and excited to get out. I had an amazing crepes with bananas and nutella breakfast which was basically the deal sealer for me to label Crete, 'cool.' Infact, my mood had changed so much from the night before that I was laughing to myself about how silly it all was.
Going back to the more relaxed thing, it was noticeable right from the start... the crazy old man at the reception was talking to me like I've known him for years, and he was calling me Michalis, the Greek version of my name. I've also been told a few times that I look Greek (I'm sure they say that to everyone). Silly Greeks.
So the big downer is that the big museum in town is closed until August. The Archeologial Museum of Crete, with all the stuff from the big site, Knossos. I was disapointed. Anyway I learned that after I had realized that Heraklio was 'cool' so it didn't matter that much. I spent the morning, after my crepes in the Historical Museum of Crete, which covers everything from early Roman rule to the present. Eventhough I was livid at some of the stuff was said about the "Period of Turkish Occuption" (compare that with the "Period of Venetian Rule" on the signs) it did serve to actually fire me up and get into it. In the after noon I took a quick bus ride out to Knossos, the 2000 year old palace site which the Brit Sir Arthur Evans found back in the 19th century. It was great, but, knowing that Evans did some extensive reconstruction on the site (or rather, construction) it made me skeptical of everything I was seeing... was this Evan's or was it the real deal. By the end of the tour, I had basically convinved myself the whole site was not to be trusted. hah.
Tomorrow I'm going to the beach, Malia. I've heard it's a tourist death trap, but I don't care. I stood staring at the water for like 25 minutes today just swearing and saying "I need in there!" It's so close but yet there isn't any beaches right in town, so it's so far. I can see lots of little fishies in the port. Anyway so Malia is a quick 4 euro bus ride East of here, I'll spend the day there, and hopefully find some sponges and octopi.
Well, this was supposed to be a quick update, but I just got going and didn't stop. I will probably update again before I head to Santorini in a couple days, I need to figure out how to get there first. Off to eat some Feta!