After I'd finished the blog last night we walked into Heraklion in search of food. We ended up finding a lovely restaurant next to a small church, where we shared a mixed grill. At the end of the meal they brought us complimentary doughnut balls, as well as shots of a spirit called "raki" which seemed pretty similar to Croatian rakija.
As we walked back towards the apartment afterwards we had some lovely views of some of the monuments we'd seen yesterday lit up at night.
Our plan for today was to visit another archaeological site: Phaistos. First step was to walk to the car park and retrieve the rental car from the robotic parking again. This is what parking the car looked like yesterday...
...and this is what retrieving it looked like today!
Fortunately, all worked well again and we were soon on our way, negotiating the chaotic traffic out of Heraklion. Phaistos is located nearer to the southern coast of Crete than the northern one, so our route took us through mountainous countryside.
There were potentially more storms forecast for today and we could certainly see low cloud over some of the mountains.
We arrived at Phaistos after an hour or so of driving and purchased our entry tickets. It was €8 each to get in. We then began walking up from the car park towards the archaeological site.
I was impressed to see large cactuses growing alongside the path.
Once we reached the top we had our first view of the ruins.
Like Knossos, Phaistos is also a Bronze Age site.
It's believed to have been inhabited since 3600 BC.
The site was discovered in the late 19th century, although not excavated until the 20th.
If we thought information about what we were looking at was poor at Knossos, it was even worse at Phaistos. There wasn't even a map, so we were just wandering around, trying to see what we could find.
These seems to be the remains of rooms in the palace.
Anything valuable was covered by a roof to protect it from the sun; in this case, remains of original pillars.
It looked like maybe there had been some sort of drainage system here.
We found more pillars here and some faint remains of colour on the wall behind.
Unlike Knossos, Phaistos hasn't been restored and repainted.
As we hadn't got here at the crack of dawn, there were a few more tourists around than there had been at Knossos. But still not a lot.
This site definitely doesn't seem to be as popular with tourists, although after Knossos I think it was the second most important Minoan palace.
It's set in a beautiful location, with views of the mountains on all sides.
And some views of cactuses too!
Eventually we came around to a large open area, which was the central courtyard of the palace.
There were lots more little rooms and pathways off here to explore.
I completely missed it initially, but Tim spotted these ancient pots hidden away.
They looked really old!
From here our route led us to the ancient theatre.
We caught sight of some more pots, sheltered by a roof.
And then we began to make our way back towards the entrance.
The day had brightened up a bit by this point and the mountains weren't so cloudy. It was still really hot!
We drove back to Heraklion to cool off, have a late lunch and try out the hot tub again