Tag Archives: Matala Beach

Part III: Southern Heraklion in sixth gear, baby

We rented some form of Suzuki SUV for our 10 days in Crete because we needed something with a higher-than-usual carriage for driving on dirt roads. The Beast did most of that driving, which was often very terrifying. I did the rest, which wasn’t a walk in the park. Crete’s interior is filled with mountains, which means multiple switch backs. I’d like to think I became very good at shifting up and down these hairpin turns. There was one moment, however, when I may have gotten carried away. The Beast told me to veer to the left but instead I veered to the right and yelled “SIXTH GEAR, BABY!” just as I shifted into said gear and burned fucking rubber up the hill. Five minutes later, after I made a U-turn on the hill on a road as wide as a credit card, we had a good laugh about that.

And it’s also a really suitable motto for our three days and four nights in southern Heraklion, which is still fairly untouched by tourism. We really hit our groove, packing our days full of hikes, archaeological sites, caves, churches, and swims. From Chania we drove just over three hours to our the south of Heraklion. The drive alone, through endless olive groves on the slopes of Mount Ida, was breathtaking. We made one pit stop at Eleftherna, a Doric Greek site (900 B.C.) which made it practically new compared to all the Minoan ones (circa 2000-1500 B.C.) They’ve just built an incredible museum to house the archaeological finds. (Again, my favourite sort: only one hour to thoughtfully visit!) The real find here was a Geometric grave  that sounds exactly as one described in The Iliad: the funeral pyre of Patrocles including Achilles’ HUMAN SACRIFICE of prisoners of war! Afterwards, we had lunch with a view of the ruins at “Snack Bar Tavern Anatoli”.

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