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September 22, 2006

Last day in Iraklio

We had a lazy start to our last day in Iraklio, due to the fact that firstly we couldn't get into the breakfast hall when we wanted as it was full at 8 o'clock, and secondly because I wanted to take full advantage of the free high-speed internet connection in the room.

We left checking out until the last moment, and then went to get a coffee somewhere. We jokingly mentioned going to the kafenion next door to the hotel. However, it went above and beyond the call of duty in being shut - overnight they had ripped out all the fixtures and fittings. Our travelling jinx continued.

We ended up at a bar called Priveli'g'e, sitting outside with a view of the harbour. At first we thought it was really swanky, but then increasingly we began to think the orange and wooden decor inside was a bit naff, and we realised the music they were playing was far from cutting edge, being a melange of second-rate pop/dance tunes from the early nineties. The prices were pretty swanky though.

Irakliobullshead Next we walked a little way around Iraklio's impressive city walls, to reach the famous Archaeological Museum. This is reputed to have the second best collection of artefacts in the whole of Greece, behind only Athens. It was not, though, famous for its modern display methods. It was a very old-fashioned museum, with artefacts unimaginatively arrayed in square glass cases, with little information.

There are some famous finds from the Minoan era, and also some frescoes from ancient palaces around the island. Our guide book suggested that a proper examination of the artefacts would take all day, but we shamelessly whizzed around the museum in around half-an-hour. It was very busy, particularly with guided tour groups, and with irritating people spending hours taking close-up pictures of the most famous items so that nobody else could look at them. One of the more amusing displays was titled "A hoard of legless cauldrons" which conjured up images of these staggering drunken cooking pots.

Irakliogoddesses We had been looking forward to seeing the famous frescoes, but were quite surprised by how little actually survives of them. The majority of those on display maybe contained less that 10% of the original, with the rest being made up of conjecture drawn in the Minoan style. There was an impressive wooden scale model of the original palace at Knossos, but again, it was so swamped by a tour group, that we couldn't really see it in much detail.

After the museum we made our way back to 'Utopia' to enjoy our afternoon tea. This didn't go so well. We were a little over-whelmed with the variety of choice of both tea and coffee. Claire read in the menu that the cafe specialised in unique chocolate drinks - so it seemed churlish not to. Led by her stomach, Claire ordered the biggest chocolate drink she could find, and I followed suit, adding some totally unnecessary whipped cream to mine. It seemed a good idea at the time, but we quickly realised why everybody else was drinking frappe.

When the drinks arrived they were huge, burning hot, sickly sweet melted chocolate in a cup. With the heat of the day and the drinks combined, we just about fainted. We felt so full up that we couldn't contemplate having any lunch, and overfilled with chocolate made our way to the bus station, dreading the two-and-a-half hours back to Chania.

We both dozed quite a bit on the journey, when we weren't feeling nauseous with the chocolate. We got back to Chania at around 5pm, nipped straight onto the local bus home, and by 5:30 we were back in the house, our first excursion to Iraklio over.

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