Tassie Golly's adventures 2015 travel blog

Phaistos Disk

Throne Room, Knossos


We awoke with a fright at 5:35. Someone was hammering at our door! J got up and went to investigate. Further banging! He crept downstairs and peered out the window - there was no-one there. The only sounds were a few voices from over at the village. The last hangers on from the celebrations. So we went back to sleep.

We awoke again at 8, got showered and dressed, listened to the bells at the local church , and then headed over to the dining room for breakfast. We were asked how we slept and J mentioned being woken early by knocking on the door. The hostess said it wouldn't be another guest as its a very quiet establishment. So we let the matter rest. A bit later as we breakfasted, another guest, a Russian, was talking to the hostess, and soon after we deduced that the Mayor of the town had fired off a number of bursts of a machine gun during the night. Then the penny dropped - that's what woke us up! ( machine gun, not the penny)

A large breakfast with juice, muesli , yoghurt, honey, boiled egg, bread and jam, pastries and biscuits, cheese, and coffee. We were set for the day.

First we drove into Iraklion to visit the Archaeological Museum. We followed signs rather than use Tom, and we were soon lost. It all went wrong when we reached the city walls (Venetian of course) and we found ourselves in the narrow streets of the city looking for a car park!

J decided it was too far to walk, so we followed our noses and soon saw a landmark - the Golden Arches! We then retraced our steps and as we approached the walls, took a sharp left into a supermarket car park! Back out and next left and we were in a car park - no one in the booth, and cars everywhere. We luckily found a space when someone left and we were set.

About 100m and we entered the museum - it was very busy. It is big - 27 rooms in all, with archaeological finds from Neolithic (6000BC) to Roman times (300AD). There is a big focus on Minoan antiquities. The whole thing is mind blowing - you really need to visit over a period of days to take it all in. We had a few hours! Highlights included Kamares polychrome pottery, the Phaistos disc, Frescoes from Knossos Palace, the Snake Goddess, the Sculpture collection, Bull figurines, and a huge collection of signet rings and seals ( these produce tiny images when pressed into wax). we attended a lecture on these at Tas Uni earlier in the year, and the lecturer (Dr Jane Crowley) recommended we go to this museum. It was excellent.

It was now a bit after 3pm. After a spot of lunch in the cafe with the sounds of the juice man calling out " Fress Oranges Juice" echoing in our ears, we returned to the car and set off for Knossos Palace which is almost in the suburbs of Iraklion now. So it only took 10 minutes.

Well it was an interesting place, but J had mixed feelings. It is normal now to try to preserve ancient objects and ruins to prevent deterioration and collapse. In the case of Knossos Palace, probably the most important Minoan site, things may have gone too far. Sir Arthur Evans was the archaeologist and he did an immense amount of "reconstruction", to create his vision of what the palace would have been like. It seems some of that may have been pure fabrication and not based on evidence. "Attitudes towards Evans’ reconstruction of Knossos among contemporary archaeologists are largely hostile – some regard his actions as tantamount to archaeological delinquency" is one quote J read on the web. Still it is a great place - a huge site and well worth the visit.

It was still early when we finished so we drove up to Epano Archanes. This is quite a pleasant and well to do town. With many new and quite large homes, we suspect wealthy Iraklions live up here away from the city itself. It still maintains the original narrow Main Street. As we drove down there were many cafes and tavernas, all with groups of old men drinking and talking. As we drove through the eyes were upon us. We obviously looked like strangers!

Back home and we relaxed with cheese and biscuits and wine as we watched the sunset. Then a 15 min drive down to Agia Pelagia, a beachside town, for tea or the Mythos ( not the beer) Taverna. It was a nice meal ( Gyros and Pasta) and an entertaining night. A table of 23 young people (probably of Greek extraction, but maybe living elsewhere) got more and more lively as the ouzo flowed. We watched the interplay between the waiters and the guests ( it took half an hr to take their food orders, and it was like herding cats) as the waiters passed us, we often got raised eyebrows or a shrug and a smile! Then two older Greek buskers arrived ( piano accordion and melodica) and proceeded to play Zorba the Greek. There were people singing, standing and clapping, and two men doing the Zorba Dance. Then they did Volare, and things only got louder and more animated. It was very entertaining. The buskers got a huge applause and collected a lot of money from customers.

Finally we got our bill and with it a plate of fruit and more alcohol, Raki for J, and something dark and sweet (?) for C. Very nice.

Then we said goodbye and left ( after paying of course!) ,



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