Mafia Strongholds, Wax Museum, and Being Fed in Crete, Greece

Wednesday, May 20 This afternoon Andronikos, Eric and Christi set out to go to an archeological site called Axon, located in the mountains. We followed the same road that we took the day we took the day we went to the monastery and cave last summer. Last year it had been and the hills were dry. Right now the hills are verdant and green, with the flowers in full bloom. It is absolutely gorgeous. Just like last year, we saw lots of goats running around on the hills and several hanging out on the road.

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We passed the monastery, but before we got to the cave we turned off onto a different road. We passed through several more small villages. One of them was the village where we had gone to the wedding with 3,000 guests a few years ago and has a reputation for being one of the most traditional villages left today. In another village, we spotted a 16th century church that looks like it is still in use. We tried to go in, but it was closed.

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The towns are nothing more than Continue reading Mafia Strongholds, Wax Museum, and Being Fed in Crete, Greece

Chania, Crete Revisited

Tuesday, May 19 — Today Christi, John and Andronikos went to Chania. Andronikos has never been there and wanted to see the old Venetian city. Eric was still feeling a bit under the weather, and since the long day yesterday had made him feel worse, he decided it was best to spend the day resting.

When the three of us left Bali, the weather looked a little bit ominous. Shortly after getting on the road, we found ourselves in the middle of a huge storm with heavy rain. However, as we neared the outskirts of Chania, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was gorgeous out with idyllic temperatures. We lucked out. This time, we found Chania with no problems (last time we got seriously lost) and made a bee-line for the historic district.

The three of us walked around town for a while. In terms of new sights for Christi, we saw some ruins that pre-date the Venetian era on the edges of the historic district. Something that Christi found weird is that some modern buildings share common walls with ancient ruins. She finds that to be almost crazy.

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We also went inside the traditional market, a cross shaped building with Continue reading Chania, Crete Revisited

DaVinci Science Exhibit and Dinner in Rythmeno

Monday, May 18 Needless to say, after such a late night last night, we were off to a slow start this morning. By early afternoon, we had finally gotten moving. The other day when we were at the aquarium, we had noticed the exhibition hall next door was featuring a traveling DaVinci science exhibit. Another family friend had seen the exhibit when it was in France and had said it was wonderful, so Eric and Christi decided to go see it today. We dragged Andronikos and John with us.

Christi is ashamed to admit this, but she Continue reading DaVinci Science Exhibit and Dinner in Rythmeno

My Brother’s Big Fat Greek Wedding

Sunday May 17 — Today was the big day. The wedding began at 1430. Eric wasn’t feeling good, so he spent the morning resting. The women spent the morning obsessing about minute little details. The men waited anxiously, looking at their watches every 5 minutes until it was finally time to get ready. Costas has had a beard for a while now and his male friends decided the beard needed to go and forcibly shaved it off.

We arrived at the church 20 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start. The tradition is that everyone stands outside and waits for the bride to arrive. The groom meets her outside and they walk in together, then everyone follows them in. It was a small wedding with only 900 guests, and the courtyard outside the church was jam packed. Were we being facetious when we said “small wedding?” No. In villages, the whole village is invited, and weddings with as many as 5,000 guests are common. We went to a wedding with 3,000 people once a few years ago. It was crazy. In the cities, though, weddings tend to be much smaller. We noticed a few men were dressed in traditional Cretan costumes. Here are some of the more traditional dressers posing with Costas.

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The church is at the top of a hill, with a long path that leads from the parking lot up the hill. Here is a shot of it from the parking lot.

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We knew the bride had arrived when Continue reading My Brother’s Big Fat Greek Wedding

Irakleon and the Crete Aquarium

Saturday May 16 – Today Eric, Christi, John, and a family friend named Marga went to Irakleon, the biggest city in Crete, to do some sightseeing. Because of its nice natural harbor, Irakleon has been a major hub dating back to the most ancient times. The Minoan ruins of Knossos are just outside Irakleon. But, because of war and other devastations throughout recent history, there are few old buildings or ruins still left in Irakleon today.

We went downtown and walked along the waterfront for a while. Irakleon’s waterfront is attractive, with mostly modern, aesthetically appealing buildings. It looks like the walls from the Venetian era have been recreated, which helps give the city some of the charm and character that Rythmeno and Chania have. There are a couple old style buildings, as well, which further adds charm.

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After our walk, we drove around the city some more. The outer areas of Irakleon are similar to Continue reading Irakleon and the Crete Aquarium