Our last two stops in a six-day run through Greece were Iraklion, on the island of Crete and the lovely island of Mykonos, summer playground of Europe's younger set as well as a popular stop for cruise ships.
The biggest draw in Iraklion, once the capital of Greece, is the Knossos Palace. It is the largest archeological site from the Bronze Age and according to Wikipedia is considered the oldest city in Europe. It was first settled around 7000 BC!
Much of it was built, then destroyed, then rebuilt, several times over the centuries. It is considered the preeminent example of Minoan civilization that survives today. The palace was built, according to Greek mythology in a Labyrinth pattern, so once entered you could never find your way out. It is also home to the famous mythical Minotaur, if you're up on your Greek mythology.
Knossos Palace was full of beautiful frescoes-several portions of walls were preserved and can be seen in the fabulous archeological museum in The town of Iraklion.
It was nice to visit the ruins and then go to the museum to see many original artifacts from the site. Excavation work is ongoing at the site, and much of the palace is being reconstructed using more modern materials, but designed to look like the original.
Other than the ruins and the museum, the city didn't seem to have much to offer. It's not a particularly pretty place.
Mykonos, on the other hand, is one of the more beautiful islands in Greece. With its picturesque white buildings dotting the hillside and the sparkling azure water lapping at the shore, Mykonos is picture postcard perfect.
This was my second time visiting Mykonos. The first time was in 2009, so it's been awhile. I have fond memories of this place - pretty windmills, winding tiny lanes, blue painted doors and shutters, benches upon which to sit while watching people wander by.
There are lots of little shops and cafes to visit as well. It's a pretty place to spend a day.
Jim and I convinced Jack to come off the ship with us and walk into town once the shuttle dropped us at the marina. The day was sunny and a bit windy and cool. Jack walked with us as far as the start of the town and then said he'd walked far enough and turned around to go back, but not before we grabbed a selfie to prove that Jack was off the ship!
We continued on into town, did a little shopping and then sat down for a nice light lunch at a restaurant hidden back a few blocks from the sea wall walkway. Plus, it was tucked away out of the wind. We had a spotting of Petros the famous pelican and I was able to grab a partial photo of his head. He's quite the bird about town, as they say.
We made it a short day, returning to the ship 2 PM.