Bags out at 8:30. To pass the time before our 9:30 departure, I took a walk around the vicinity of our hotel in Haraklion. Took an arty picture of the early morning people.
Heard chanting from a big Orthodox Church and stepped in a for a few minutes. Goodness how “high” a church they are: three priests, each full-bearded and wearing starched white vestments that swept the floor, taking turns chanting the mass in Greek (I assume). Incense. Lots of candles. Congregation of maybe 30-40 for 8:00 mass.
We then boarded our coach for a 90-minute drive through very scenic countryside (every bit of Cretan scenery has been really nice, fertile fields, abrupt 8000-foot mountains, etc.) to our first destination, the port town of Rethymno. Here we walked around the old city while Anastasia pointed out the successive works of the Byzantines, the Venetians, and the Ottomans, each taking over from the prior landlords, building stuff, and being kicked out in turn. We had “free time” of a couple of hours to look around on our own and find some lunch. I found a nice lunch of a greek omelet in a sea-front cafe, then I visited the town’s archaelogical museum, and finally returned to our meeting point eating a gelato.
Next we coached to another seaside town, Chania (pronounced Hon-ya, with a rasp on the H). Again we walked around seeing the works of the Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans. The port was a near copy of the Rethymno port. Both had a Venetian breakwater and lighthouse just like this.
There was also a picturesque old mosque that had nice light on it.
I spent an hour sitting in a cafe nursing a freddo cappucino, watching people and avoiding a rain shower (first rain of the trip).
Finally we took our final coach ride in Crete, to the port of (forgot the name) to board the Very Large Ferry, the Blue Galaxy. I’m told this almost-a-cruise-ship carries 1800 people. Each of us has a cabin. The ship is to depart at 9pm and arrive in Piraeus about 6am.