NOTE: My camera’s memory card glitched and we basically have no pictures from our trip until we hit Athens. I may try and find images online, just so you have a sense of what we saw/ are talking about. (And will credit if I do.) But keep that in mind as you read these next posts.
We left our place in Skalani, after one more lovely breakfast, and made our way to Gortyna.
“Gortyna was first inhabited at the end of the Neolithic period (3000 BC) and by the Late Minoan period (1600-1100 BC) it became a flourishing settlement. Remains of the Archaic period (7th century BC) were located in the area of the Acropolis, while the large inscription, the Gortyn Law Code, dated to the 5th century BC, attests the prosperity of the city, which continued throughout the historical times. However, Gortyna reached its peak during the Roman era (1st – 5th centuries AD), as an ally of Rome and the capital of the Roman provinces of Crete and Cyrene. The city remained an important center of Crete in the following Early Byzantine period and, according to tradition, it was the first Cretan city which espoused Christianity. Gortyna became the seat of the first bishop of Crete, Apostle Titus, to whom was dedicated a monumental temple. The conquest of Crete by the Arabs put an end to the history of the ancient Gortyna, which was destroyed in 824 AD.”
It was lovely. We got a tad lost along the way, but not too badly. The Odeion (ancient theater) was great, and the Law Code amazing. We had a lot of fun wandering around.
From there we drove to Phaistos. “Phaistos was one of the most important centers of Minoan civilization, and the most wealthy and powerful city in southern Crete. It was inhabited from the Neolithic period until the foundation and development of the Minoan palaces in the 15th century B.C.”
In some ways, Phaistos puts Knossos to shame. There are a ton of inscriptions, all in linear A, which remains unsolved. (How can that be in this modern age???) This is one of the best ancient sites we’ve seen.
We were feeling like we’d had enough, though, so we headed to Kokinos Pirgos Harbour where we had lunch at Taverna Pelagos. A very family run (cash only!) place with good, simple food.
And then, on to Chania. Our host had requested that we SMS her to give her at least an hour’s notice, so we tried . . . and then realized that although we’d specified that service when we bought the SIM card (in Frankfurt) it wasn’t working. ARGH. So we sent an email, and prayed. And sure enough, all sorts of things went wrong.
We ended up at a total tourist trap of a restaurant at 6pm and basically bought a meal so we could beg the manager to please make a call to our host on our behalf. He did (only cost us a 60eu meal), and we figured out where we’d gone wrong, and then met our host.
I have to say that this was the best host we’ve had at Airbnb, and one of the nicest locations (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/13671184) ever. Well thought out, with clever touches, we had everything we needed for our stay. Including huge amounts of food in the fridge (eggs, bread, juices, fruit), all we needed to do was add yogurt and we had breakfast all ready to go. And — oh heaven! — the shower stall was legitimately useful for a person J’s height.