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About Me

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  1. It was another lovely sunny day when we woke up this morning, despite the weather forecast threatening rain later this week. We had time for another breakfast on the balcony in Kalyves before we needed to think about checking out. We really loved the place where we were staying, but it was time to move on to our next destination: Heraklion. We couldn't check in to our apartment there until after 3pm, so we weren't in any particular rush to arrive. Heraklion is only about two hours away from Chania by car, on a fast road along Crete's northern coast. So that we didn't arrive too early, I planned for us to stop at Lake Kournas, about half an hour into our journey. Lake Kournas is notable for being the only freshwater lake on the island of Crete. The perimeter of the lake is only about 3.5km, so it's not exactly huge. It is a pretty lake, though; the colour of the water was particularly attractive. There isn't a footpath around the entire lake, but there is a trail around part of it and we followed it as far as it went. There's a sandy beach on this side of the lake and it's quite commercialised, with lots of people renting out pedaloes. We decided to give that a miss and concentrate on enjoying the views. Once we'd walked as far as we could around the lake, we stopped off at a nearby taverna for lunch. We just had a glimpse of the water from where we were sitting. I opted for pastitsio again, while Tim had a spaghetti bolognaise. We also had pudding: I chose a chocolate crepe... ...while Tim was healthier and went for yoghurt with honey and walnuts. After lunch we drove the final hour and a half towards Heraklion. Heraklion is Crete's biggest city - and the fifth biggest city in Greece, in fact - so driving into it was a bit of a challenge. It doesn't compare with driving into Athens, which is definitely one of life's more terrifying experiences, but it was a maze of tiny little streets with crazy driving. Unfortunately, the place we're staying in doesn't come with parking. I thought it did when I booked (because I filtered on "parking" on booking.com), but no sooner had I made a reservation than I received a message giving me a link to a couple of car parks I could try. Bit frustrating! We navigated our way to one of the suggested car parks anyway, which was a bit unusual because it describes itself as "robotic parking". You drive the car onto platform, taking care to position it correctly, and then ultimately the platform gets lifted up and the car is suspended in its storage location! That was only about a 10-minute walk from the place where we're staying, and the good news is that it's a really lovely apartment. We've got a big kitchen area... ...plus a sitting area with bed behind. We've also got a fantastic outdoor area with a double sun-lounger and bean bags to sit on. There even appears to be a hot tub Once we'd settled in we set out to explore a bit of Heraklion. The first impressive building that we came to was the Agios Minas Cathedral. The cathedral is named after St Minas, the patron saint of Heraklion. From there we progressed to the Morosini fountain, which stands in the city's main square. This building doesn't look too impressive, but it's St Mark's Basilica, a Catholic church that was built in Heraklion by the Venetians. The Ottomans later turned it into a mosque and today it's an art gallery. This pretty church is the cathedral of St Titus. This one was built as a mosque and only converted into a church in 1925. Eventually we caught sight of the sea at the end of the road. And once we got to the sea, we could see the Koules Fortress. This is a Venetian fortress, which was built in the 16th century. The walls of the fortress looked really beautiful against the bright blue sky. We could see as we looked in the other direction that it was getting a bit cloudier over the mountains, though. There's some rain forecast later in the week. There were some big ships in the port here, including one that looked like a cruise ship. We'd walked quite a long way out on Heraklion's pier by this point. As we turned around to walk back into the city, we had an amazing view of the sun starting to set over the mountains. It's been another fun day in Crete and we're looking forward to exploring more of this side of the island over the next few days
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