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Knossos to Chania

The Megaron Hotel continues to impress. Breakfast was perfect. I finally got to try the fried donut balls with sesame and honey. They were excellent. There was a ton of fresh fruit, some Greek yogurt, an omelet bar, a ridiculously well stocked dessert bar, and everything else you could think of. Fried meats like bacon and sausage? yes. Sandwiches? yes. Salads? of course. And like all the good places, they provided plastic gloves for everyone to use as they approached the buffet.

After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and drove to the Palace of Knossos. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but most of what is there are reconstructions of what an archaeologist thought things might have looked like. He reconstructed things a long time ago and now we can only look at his work. Well, that’s not completely true. There are still some original things from 1700 BCE, but like all the big archaeological sites I’ve been to – Machu Picchu, Tikal, Chichen Itza, etc. – most of what you see has been rebuilt/restored/reconstructed by someone. It makes sense, especially on Crete. People have been living here continuously for more than 9,000 years.

Over the centuries people came and went. Buildings were built, destroyed, etc. People were not worried about preserving the past. They were just trying to live their lives. So one layer was built on top of another, etc. Now we want to see what was there, but that’s not possible without some imagination and reconstruction. So it is what it is. But it’s really not a whole lot when it comes to this particular palace.

A lot of people will do the museum first and the palace second, but we chose to do the palace first and early in the day so it would still be nice and cool. That worked perfectly. Not only was it nice and cool, but we were almost completely finished with our palace visit when the first tour bus showed up. By the time we were getting back in our car the place was a zoo. Even the parking lot where we parked was crazy. There must have ben 5 or 6 busses there already. We definitely did it right.

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is really amazing. They have artifacts from people who lived and died here on Crete for thousands of years. They have TONS of stuff. It amazed me to be staring at pottery from 1700 BCE and catch myself thinking it wasn’t very old compared to some of the other things we had seen just around the corner. It’s really interesting to see how things changed as different civilizations came to power, etc. I highly recommend it. If I had to do it all again I might skip the Palace of Knossos, but I wouldn’t skip the museum.

We were hungry and it was lunch time when we left the museum. We went back to the walking streets with all the restaurants and found our way to a falafel shop for lunch. After that we picked up some amazing Baklava from a place we had tried last night. They use pistachio nuts instead of the usual walnuts and the result is heavenly. We got the Baklava to go and ate it in the car on our way to Chania.

We took a detour just before Chania and headed south into the mountains to hike down through Imbros Gorge. It was pretty, but it also reminded us just how lucky we are to have the amazing canyons that we have right in our own backyards in Utah. It didn’t compare to the things we have back home, but we still enjoyed it.

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