Two years ago, we had been scheduled to visit Iraklion on the Greek island of Crete. A dock strike canceled that port-of-call and we instead discovered the charming port of Agios Nikolaos on the east side of the island. But we regretted not seeing Iraklion. So, it was gratifying to finally get here! As this is a large city, we limited ourselves to exploring the Venetian-walled old town. Built in the 16th century, the wall still encloses and defines the core of the city. There are seven jutting bastions and the southernmost of these now contains the grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of “Zorba the Greek.” The Venetians also erected the Koules Fortress at the harbor. This massive structure successfully repulsed many attacks in the 17th century. The center of old town is dominated by the Morosini Fountain, commonly called Liontaria, built in 1628 to deliver water from the foothills into the city. Today, many restaurants are pleasantly located around the fountain. Just south of the fountain, is the Odos 1866 street market where all things wonderful can be purchased! I couldn’t resist the sponges!
Mykonos is said to be known for sun, sand and nightlife. We wouldn’t know about the nightlife since we’ve never been her overnight, but the sun, sand and shopping are delightful. And the eating and drinking are superb! We spent the day walking the narrow streets and browsing the charming boutiques. Although cars are too large to negotiate the narrow streets, motorcycles and scooters with attached carts do ply the lanes. Traffic is bustling, noisy, and exciting. By noon, we needed to stop at Niko’s Restaurant for salad and mussels. There, we wound up playing with Petros II, the pelican, a well-cared for and cherished town mascot. Walking back to the water taxi for our return to the ship, we stopped to photograph the windmills. The windmills date from the early 16th century when the island was a great producer of wheat and bread. They may be the most recognized landmarks of Mykonos.