Our plane landed on Crete and the first thing we noticed was the snowy mountain range just behind the cute Venetian city of Chania. We weren’t expecting that.
Our next city on the island was 30 miles east, or two hours by bus: Rethymnon. We are a bit early for tourist season so we got a beachfront hotel with balcony for $30 a night. It was perfect, and Rethymnon was our favorite city on the island with its twelve kilometers of beach and giant, delicious gyros. Venetians settled here as well, and we roamed the ruins of their old fortress.
Our final city in Crete is Heraklion and we had four nights there. We only needed two, but the ferry schedule dictates our schedule. While the other two cities have 500 years of history, Heraklion and nearby Knossos have 5,000 years of history. We are now in the home of Minoans, the predecessors of ancient Greeks. We got to visit the mythical labyrinth, but Theseus killed the Minotaur before we arrived so we didn’t get to see that.
We learned of the sport of bull jumping where an athlete does a front handspring over the horns of a bull. From a running start, they dive over the bull’s head and plant their hands on the back of the bull then complete the rotation where they hopefully land on their feet behind the bull. No live demonstrations during our visit.
Our last day in Crete was Easter Sunday, but not Easter Sunday. Greeks celebrate it a week later than the rest of the world.
Next stop: Santorini!