We picked up Deanna, Kelly’s college roommate, at the Athens airport yesterday and then this morning the four of us flew out of that same airport for Heraklion in Crete. Deanna will be joining us for the rest of our travels in Greece, then she and Kelly will fly to Barcelona together while Dale and I return home (Deanna will continue on to Africa after that; Kelly will go home to Florida).

We landed around noon in Crete and checked into the Kronos Hotel by the waterfront in Heraklion’s old town. We have a slight view of the water from our balcony…

…but the more interesting scene is back towards the city; it’s a bustling place.

We had lunch right around the corner on the waterfront where we were served by a very friendly host, Aléxandros, who brought a carafe of Raki (Cretan schnapps) and then pulled up a chair to join us:

Dale asked him if the beads he was holding and rolling in his fingers were a rosary.

He said, “No, it’s a komboloy.”

Dale: “What are they for?”

Aléxandros: “It’s something to play with if a man doesn’t have a woman.”

He was a romancer and gave every woman patron a hug and a kiss.

Kelly thought that a Komboloy would be the perfect Father’s Day present for me, so she got me one at the local market as a present. It’s nice; made of wooden beads. I looked it up on Wiki, which says that a Komboloy has no religious significance, it’s just a set of Crete “worry beads.” I think the only thing I’m worried about is that Aléxandros is going to make off with my three women!

After lunch, we walked over to the harbor. The Venetians took over the harbors on the north side of Crete back in the 16th century and built forts like the ones in the background in these two pictures.

Kelly and Deanna spent the afternoon strolling the markets and cafes while Dale and I headed off to the Archaeological Museum, which turned out to be closed, as was the Historical Museum, so we visited a Greek Orthodox church, instead, the Áyios Minas cathedral.

Áyios Minas cathedral was constructed in 1895, not that long ago by the standards we’ve become accustomed to on this trip.

We went inside and admired the beautiful ceiling paintings, chandeliers and altar curtain.

We met up with the girls for dinner and a stroll through the town square before heading back to the hotel for the night.

We’ll be leaving Heraklion, the capital of Crete, first thing in the morning to visit the Minoan ruins at Knossos before heading east to our next destination. Knossos will be the oldest ruins we will visit on this trip. It should be interesting.

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