13 December, 2011

Off-Season Trip To Crete, Day 1

Last weekend Hubby and I went for an out-of-the-season trip to Crete. Not because we are such eccentric people, but because one of his cousins was getting married in Heraklio.

How to go there? First we thought of airplane, but in the event we discovered that the ferries were more convenient. To go to & return from Heraklio/Piraeus, the boats depart half past 9 or 10 in the evening and arrive at 6 or 6:30. Besides, we live in Piraeus meaning that it saves us 1 hour trip to the airport. We booked cheapest berth ticket (inside cabin, 4 pax share) costing about 120 p.p.

The boat was called Olympic Champion. Frankly I have never been to such a nice ferry in Greece. It was like a cruise ship to me.

At the port we met with the groom-to-be and he transferred us to our Hotel by car. It was very nice of him to wake up so early in the morning to meet us.

We booked the hotel by booking.com as usual. It was called Kronos, 45 Euro for a double room without breakfast. Eventually we could have been able to pay only 45 Euro without booking, but as an advantage, we were given a room with sea view (which would have incurred 10 Euro premium if we had not booked).



The interior was pretty good and looked recently renovated.



Simple but clean & comfortable.

Kronos Hotel

45 Euro was a good deal.

As it was still dark, we decided to stay in the room until the day broke.

After a rest, the first thing I, or rather Hubby, had to do was breakfast. If we paid some extra Euro p.p. we could have had breakfast at hotel, but I do not like much the breakfast at low budget hotels (due to mediocre coffee, day-old bread, synthetic jam, etc), so we went out.

In nice cafeterias in central Iraklio, the coffees are not much cheaper than in central Athens. This cappuccino cost 3.50 Euro, if I remember well.



Unfortunately this cafeteria did not have anything can be eaten as breakfast, but at least they gave us these pieces of cake. In fact, many of the cafeterias in Iraklio offer some accompaniments.

Then we strolled into the market.

Heraklio Market

Although it was winter, greengrocers were full of colours.

Green Grocer Heraklio

And bakeries were full of interesting snacks. These in the photo are pitakia, i.e. small pies.

Pies

The residents of Heraklio are so lucky to be able to buy these goodies everyday. Another thing of note (that we noticed the day after) was that many bakeries are open even on Sundays and people can buy fresh bread every day. Lucky them.

Walking around, we found even a Chinese restaurant which was offering buffet lunch for 8 Euro! I wish they open a branch in Athens, or, even better, in Piraeus.



It was very attractive, but it was not POSSIBLE for us to eat Chinese on the first day in Crete.

We went back to the market and entered a mezedopoleio called Peninda-Peninda, which was visibly busier than the other eateries in the market. And it was not without reason. The food was very good and price was reasonable.



We were very happy with our choice.

Then we went back to the hotel to have a rest again. Not because we were tired, but because Greek wedding continues well into after midnight.

The ceremony was held in a church in the suburb of Iraklio, called Ag. Ioannis Knossou. Not because it was dedicated to a Minoan saint, but because it is standing on the road to Knossos.



Can you see that some men were wearing white racy cloth on their shoulders. We were explained that only the relatives of the marrying couple wear it. Afterwards, someone said also it should be valid also for female relatives, but we only saw men wearing it.

After the ceremony, we moved to Archanes for wedding party. I was told by one of the relatives that Archanes was a Cretan traditional village. So I imagined that the party was to be held in a traditional way.

How misleading was his info and how wrong was my presumption. Actually the place was a large concert hall (bouzoukia) and its capacity could be as much as 2500 (though the participants were only some hundreds)!



The party continued into the morning, although we left at 3:30. It was a good idea that we rented a car. Otherwise we should have stayed until the morning.

We we went back to the hotel it was well past 4 o'clock.

(End of the Day 1)

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