Crete (Day 2)

Our Saturday began with breakfast at the hotel, departing by bus at 8:30 for the Diktaion Andro Cave in Lasithi. After about an hour drive we hiked up to the top of the mountain where the mouth of the cave is located. Many myths surround this cave, the most popular being that this is the location Zeus grew up. Many offerings and human bones were originally found around the bottom of the cave which is covered in stalactites and stalagmites with a small lake at the very bottom. The cave cooled down in temperature as we descended the concrete steps, giving us a break from the hot Cretan sun.

Our next stop was the small town of Plaka (not to be mistaken with the Plaka neighborhood in Athens). Here we immediately got on a small boat that ferried us to Spinalonga Islet. This small island was the site of both Venetian and Ottoman fortifications until it was later turned into a Leper colony for the citizens of Crete. Serving as an almost Alcatraz of Crete, members of the Leper colony lived on the island as late as 1957 when the last patient left the island after a cure was discovered for their disease. The island was beautiful with views of the mediterranean and of Plaka in the near distance. After a tour of the island we headed back for lunch where we were able to eat fresh octopus as we sat at a restaurant right on the water. With over an hour before we were to head back to our hotel, we went to a nearby rocky beach. The water was cold but clear, I opted to view it from the warm dry shore.

Back in Heraklio, we had our souvlaki before sitting down at an outdoor cafe to watch a soccer game on television. We later walked down to the water again before heading back to our hotel for the evening. After the ancient site/museum heavy Friday, this day was a good since we were able to see much of the Cretan countryside and areas further away from the city we were staying at.