Posts tagged with 'Greece'

Relaxing in Chania

By Ross in Travel on Mon 23 June 2014. Tags: Greece

After leaving the market, I spent time just wandering around. And taking pictures, of course.

Here is the entrance to the Venetian harbor, guarded by the lighthouse on one side.

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I walked all the way around the harbor to the lighthouse. Unfortunately I could not go inside.

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Here is one of the fortifications I passed on the way.

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I really like how the water looks in this photo.

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I then set out towards the beach for a swim. Along the way, I passed another marina and took a picture of this boat-crane.

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Nea Chora is a nice beach with fine-grained, light-colored sand. It is a little crowded, as it is the closest beach to Chania, but I did not mind. The water was warmer than it was in Santorini, and the waves were very small. 

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I took a few more nice photos of the harbor during the day.

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When sunset arrived, I was ready with my camera and a fully charged battery (last night, my battery ran out of juice while taking sunset pictures, and I had left my spare in the room).

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Here is the lighthouse doing the lighthouse thing.

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And, finally, the Venetian harbor at nighttime.

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Chania Market

By Ross in Travel on Mon 23 June 2014. Tags: Greece, markets

I love markets. If I am ever in a city which has one, I always try and visit. I decided to spend the day relaxing and exploring Chania, and what better place to start than the market. The market is shaped like a Byzantine cross, and has approximately 75 vendors.

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The five parallel electrical wires under the windows reminded me of music manuscript paper. There are even bar lines. And a few notes.

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Cheese!

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Olives.

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Meat.

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All the fish.

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Olive oil and other yummy things.

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And even touristy knickknacks.

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After exploring, I bought some fruit, bread, and cheese for breakfast and provisions for the hike I was planning for the next day.


Chania

By Ross in Travel on Sun 22 June 2014. Tags: Greece

I took another bus from Rethymnon to Chania, and finally arrived in Chania around 1800. The first order of business was finding a place to stay. (By this point in the trip, I had essentially stopped booking lodging in advance). In Chania, there are rooms to let everywhere in the old city. Most of them are located over shops, and all you have to do is inquire with the shopkeeper about whether there is an available room. I turned onto a side street, and the first shop I stopped by had a nice, clean room at a good price. Thus I stayed for two nights at Mme Bassia, located above Ambrosia, a shop selling aromatherapy-esque products as well as really yummy local thyme honey. Alexandra, the evening shopkeeper at Ambrosia, was very helpful, and I highly recommend Mme Bassia as a place to stay in Chania.

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After settling in, I walked down to the old, Venetian port to have a bite to eat.

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After dinner, I walked around until sunset. Here is the light of the setting sun on the facade of the Orthodox Cathedral.

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Here is the old port at sunset:

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I like this picture of the mountains in the distance behind the old port

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Here is the iconic lighthouse which guards the entrance to the Venetian port.

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The Hellenic coast guard returns to port.

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And finally, sunset over the water.

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Fortezza of Rethymnon

By Ross in Travel on Sun 22 June 2014. Tags: Greece

My next plan was to escape from Heraklion to Chania, the so-called spiritual capital of Crete (and the actual capital until 1971). Chania is located on the north coast of Crete, approximately 140 km west of Heraklion. Almost exactly halfway between them is the town of Rethymnon. I had not originally planned on stopping there, but when I was flipping through the guidebook, it described the fortress of Rethymnon as "the largest Venetian castle ever built." I could not resist.

The Fortezza of Rethymnon was built in the sixteenth century as a response to repeated pirate raids. It was built large enough to contain the entire population of the town. Today, most of the buildings in the interior of the fortress are in ruins; the notable exception is a large, domed mosque. The exterior walls are remarkably well preserved.

Here are the walls of the fortess viewed from the outside.

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And viewed from the inside.

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Closeup of a crenel and an arrowslit, both with a view of the water.

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Some of the larger buildings inside the fortress and a closeup of the mosque with it single, large central dome.

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Interior and central dome of the mosque (the dome is so large that the widest focal length of my camera's lens was insufficient to capture its "dome-ness").

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I really like this tree.

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This is the powder magazine.

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Here are some arches outside the underground storerooms. I like how they are juxtaposed from this angle.

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Inside the underground storerooms:

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A view through a grill in the one of the mosque windows.

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Another view looking out from one of the underground storage areas.

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A guard tower and the view looking out its window.

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Two more "window" views:

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On the way out, I took this picture of the water just to show how clear it is.

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Knossos

By Ross in Travel on Sun 22 June 2014. Tags: Greece, archeology

I woke up early to visit the palace of Knossos. The idea was to beat the weekend crowds (it was a Sunday), but I need not have worried. There were a few tour groups, but mostly I had the place to myself. The palace is about a twenty minute drive from Heraklion, and is easily reachable by public bus from the main bus station.

Knossos is the largest and most famous of the Minoan palaces on the island of Crete. The primary excavation was done around the turn of the twentieth century by Arthur Evans who, shall we say, was not shy about sharing his own vision of the palace with the world. Although the field of archeology has changed greatly since that time, the palace stands today mostly as Evans restored it, complete with colorful columns and reimagined frescoes. The names of the buildings (placed here in quotation marks) are those used by Evans, and thus are purely speculative.

This is the "South Propylaeum" (southern entrance to the palace). Evans put a copy of the cup bearer fresco on the wall.

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The "Throne Room" is named for the stone seat found in the chamber. The original wall fresco has been restored and is in the Heraklion archeological museum. This copy was placed here by Evans. The space on the left behind the colored columns has a sunken floor; Evans claimed it was a cistern used for purification ceremonies.

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The "Central Court" connects all the different wings of the palace.

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This is the "School Room", where Evans claims students kneaded clay for clay tablets in the cylindrical mortar next to the bench. More recent research suggests that it was a pottery studio.

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The "Magazine of the Giant Pithoi" contains these giant storage jars:

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This is the "Bastion", or raised colonnade, of the north entrance.

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This is the "North Lustral Basin", which Evans claimed was used for purification before entering the sacred palace; however, it has no drainage system, so it is unlikely it contained water.

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This is the "Theater":

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And, finally, this is the "Royal Road" leading out of the palace.

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After leaving the palace, I took the bus back to Heraklion, where I visited the archeological museum. The museum contains the largest collection of Minoan artifacts in the world, as well as the original frescoes from the palace at Knossos. The sheer number of objects is overwhelming, but here are a few things I found interesting. (I generally find it silly to take lots of photos in museums, especially ones of objects under glass, but I make an exception for things which catch my eye or things I want to remember).

The plate on the right is absolutely adorable:

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Lots of sharp, pointy bronze things:

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Octopus decorations on pithoi and burial sarcophagi. There was no mention of this here, but I learned in the Athens archeological museum that this was a common Minoan theme (a component of the aptly named "marine style").

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These figures of goddesses with upraised arms were placed in communal shrines, and are said to be the earliest known religious images of gods.

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Finally we have a Roman statue of Pluto, Persepone, and Cerberus. I took this picture since I had never before seen a statue of Cerberus.

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