We flew to Greece, not to the Parthenon in Athens but to the Minoan island of Crete. Crete or Kreta is a big island in which we went to its western part, Agios Nikolaos. It took 1 hour and half from Heraklion. Agios Nikolaos is a coastal town on the Greek island of Crete. It is east of the island's capital Heraklion, north of the town of Ierapetra and west of the town of Sitia.
The clock tower located at the center of our resort. This rings every hour that gives a feeling of being in an ancient city.
Our resort, Candia park, is located in between of Elounda and Agios Nikolaos. Both towns are busy with tourists including the surrounding villages.
Just along the beachfront of the resort.
We actually had a nice time in this resort, Candia Park Village. A complete "holiday village" located on the exquisite gulf of Mirabello, only 3 kms from Agios Nikolaos, 5 kms from Elounda and 70 kms from the airport and town of Heraklion.
Normally, the local population of the town only counted about 25,000 inhabitants but during it's peak season (summer) become double due to influx of tourists.
Sitting under the sun :-( hehehe! I mean under the shade of umbrella :-)
Along the sea shore of the resort.
This is part of the Aqua Park of the resort, covering a total area of 2,000 square meters, which adds to the beautiful landscape.
We glanced around and saw wild olive trees, narcissi, chrysanthemum, cuclaminus, and wild orchids. The most common flowers are bogainvilleas, orleanders and geraniums.
Right picture is the Lake Voulismeni. It's quite dark image, took from my mobilefon camera. (Obviously, we left our camera in the car which was parked pretty far).
The lake is its most charming feature. Legend suggests that Athena and Armetis bathed in its waters. This lake is connected to the sea by a straight channel, while its natural surroundings of red rock and trees attract the visitor magnetically. At a small open-air theatre by the lake, locals and visitors alike can enjoy interesting artistic and cultural presentations.
Agios Nikolaos, with over forty years of experience in the tourism industry, is an international and cosmopolitan resort that welcomes thousands of visitors annually.
I had an enjoyable walk experience around the shops of Agios Nikolaos. In many stores, the visitor can find a wide selection of traditional Cretan artwork, copies of pieces from different archaeological museums, jewelry, and embroidery. There are also many examples of woven goods and Byzantine icons. I still tried to shop around, taking advantage while hubby was web browsing in the internet cafe enjoying some glass of Greek beers.
Being located in a strategic position on the road network of Crete, it is the ideal starting point for daily excursions in all directions of the island by car, bus or motorcycle. So, we did'nt miss not to rent car. We rented a car and from there, we had a nice road trip of the island.
We drove to the town of Elounda and to the tip end of Mohlos going the east part of Crete. From east part going down to the southerly major town of Lerapetra.
My dear was actually in this island part of Mohlos. He's no longer caught by my camera since this island is about 200meters offshore where I stand. Adriaan crossed the waters by showing his swimming expertise :-)
Lerapetra is Europe's most southernly major town where was the major port for the Romans in their conquest of Egypt. We even drove to the most narrow roads going to any villages we can find in our map :-). It was nerve breaking :-(
I bought two hats and my dear shopped for four I think :-)
The area appears green even in wintertime because of the olive trees, and in springtime nature bursts through from the mountainsides to the coast filling the area with red poppies, white margaritas and other multi-coloured wild flowers.
At the chapel of St. John or Agios Ioannis in the Acrotiri (the cape or peninsula) where you can have a nice view of the Mirabello gulf and the Elounda bay..
Elounda was used to be the favored place of legendary figures from Minoan Crete and of historical figures of our times. The four villages of Elounda are spread out along the lower slopes of the approach to the Massif. Pano and Kato Elounda, Mavrikiano and the new settlement of Skisma.
Here is a view of the Spinalonga Island in the Elounda bay. The island is a fascinating place to explore by boat tours. It has an aura of both macabre and poignant. Here also lies the fortress of Kalidou.
The Elounda bay, as described by Mr. Anestis Makridakis, glows like a sapphire under the azure light of the sky, rose-hued in summer afternoons, silvered on moonlit nights. This peaceful sea was used as a stop-over and refueling point during the period between both world wars by the UK’s Imperial Hydroplane Service.
From ancient times, the people of the island have based their diet on local produce such as vegetables, greens, meat, fish, honey, cheese and wine, all combined in imaginative ways generating many interesting and unique flavours.
Greece is a place-name that is easy to pronounce, but difficult to understand given their hard language. I learned few words :-), like efharisto (thanks), parakalo (welcome/please) and jaimas (cheers). But, I did'nt mind to give my attention to it...I even tried to speak few Dutch words where any corner of the world, there are Dutch tourists.