Oh, my hat – our daughter cried out loud. We saw her hat flying merrily with the strong wind and finally settling down at a lower floor of the ruins of the palace. I closed my eyes and imagined a handsome Greek prince coming up carrying the hat on a gold tray.
Well, the hat was brought, not by a prince, but by our guide; common public like us are not allowed to go down the steps of the protected archaeological place, but he could.
The twenty first century catastrophe at the site of ancient Minoan Civilization could somehow be avoided.
My husband attempted to freeze the historical moment.
My husband with our Greek tour guide
Minoan civilization is the oldest in Europe; it flourished in Bronze Age, from 2600 to 1100 BC. The biggest excavated site of this ancient Greek civilization is at Knossos, at Crete Island.
Minoan ruins column structure
Various parts of the excavation site are spread over a huge space.
My daughter at Minoan ruins
At the end of the day our daughter’s hand was aching and the hat was the culprit, she held it tightly while enjoying the ruins.
At Minoan ruins after the hat flew
Palaces and halls exemplify the luxurious life led by the Minoan dynasty.
Halls of Minoan Civilization
The frescoes exhibit their artistic pursuit.
Enjoying Minoan Frescoes
Some of the frescoes depict human figures.
Some others depict everyday life, hunting practices etc.
Copies of Minoan Frescoes
The Greek episode started in the summer of 2012 when we visited our daughter and son-in law at Zurich.
On a lazy weekend morning all of us sat together to enjoy a late breakfast of cheese omelettes, nice smelling freshly baked baguettes and fresh fruits, to be washed down by orange juice or tea.
Through the crystal clear, floor to ceiling glass doors of their living cum dining room, nature was beckoning at us.
Nature beckoning through glass doors
The far away misty hills, dark foliage of the tall trees, red conical roof tops – everything was shining.
Sun-kissed Europe in summer
Suddenly travel bug started biting. After a short discussion, we settled down to a five day visit to the Hersonissos beach town at Crete Island in Greece.
No running around monuments and museums, no jostling with camera toting tourists, no shopping spree of global brands, only laze out and enjoy the sun and sand – this was our motto.
The flight from Zurich to Heraklion airport took almost three hours. Most of the co-passengers clapped happily after a safe landing; like me others also might have been apprehensive, as the sea is separated from the runway only by a boundary wall.
We took a public transport bus to cover the distance of twenty five kilometers to Hersonissos. Within minutes of leaving the airport, the bus came to an almost deserted hilly road. The view was awe inspiring; rugged, ruthless as well as breathtakingly beautiful.
Road from Heraklion to Hersonissos
The Aegean Sea was giving us company all along.
Journey from Heraklion to Hersonissos
Greeks have social ethos much alike Indians. They believe in joint family tradition; to cope with growing financial crunch, many have converted a portion of their own property into guest houses; opened eateries where family members join hands to serve guests.
We booked an apartment in one such family owned property. The elderly owner stays at the white washed villa, laced with bougainvilleas, at the front and it is separated from the four storied apartment building at the back by a tiny swimming pool.
Swimming pool and ocean view from balcony
The apartment is a perfect abode to pass time doing nothing.
The first room with two beds, a kitchenette, a miniscule dining area and a back balcony is utilitarian.
Bedrooms at different levels
The second room is multilayered with two beds, a dressing area and a living area.
The best part is the front balcony overlooking the sea. One would like to sit here forever.
View from Front Balcony
But alas! One cannot survive only by appreciating nature; our stomach pulled us out in search of food.
A charming aspect of this beach town is that the eateries are spread along the sea side on a raised level from the sea; a very sensible idea.
The eye-catching deep blue Mediterranean Sea, sound of frothy waves continuously splashing on the rocky walls, adorable touch of fine droplets sprayed by the strong wind, tables laden with superbly smelling food – a complete package.
Vision, sound, touch, olfaction, taste – all the five senses are pampered.
The fresh salty air, the sea, the long walks along the strand makes one even hungrier. Sampling of local food became our favorite pastime.
Even today I dream of those succulent pork chops accompanied by heaps of finger chips to be dipped in mouth watering ketchup, gyros wrapped in pita bread, calamari fish fries, Greek salad comprising of farm fresh vegetables, olives and feta cheese.
Above all is frozen yoghurt; we were spoilt with so many varieties of fruit toppings.
Enjoying our meal at Hersonissos
Eat, drink and be merry - a perfect holiday.
Restaurants along the strand
Romancing with the sea knew no bounds.
Romancing with the sea
One meal overlapped into another.
Dinner at Hersonissos
The beach at Hersonissos is somewhat rocky; not ideal for taking a dip into the sea.
Rocky coast not for bathing
Except a few stretches, bathing at sea is not possible. The part of coastline that we could see was devoid of any beaches and instead large rocks jutted into the sea to be used as a comfortable platform for seating quietly enjoying sea view if you wanted.
Rocky Hersonissos coastline
A trip to the nearby Malia beach satiated our thirst of bathing in the sea for a whole morning.
Those blissful five days passed very fast. On the last evening a walk along the strand from one end to the other made us nostalgic.
The sun was setting, street lights were being put on - civilization was taking over the nature.
Evening at Hersonissos
Gradually dusk gave way to night; the well lit water front looked mysterious.
Night at Hersonissos
Slowly the moon was rising, bathing the sea with its soft light.
Sea awash with moonlight
Next morning we took a bus to Heraklion airport. The situation at the airport was totally chaotic; passengers could not board their flights at the right time due to mismanagement and our flight was delayed by half an hour.
Our daughter’s delicate hat had to be protected against cabin luggage of all possible shapes and sizes of other passengers. Finally we reached Zurich in one piece, including ‘THE HAT’.