Crete, part 1

creteThis will be in English for my friends on the net who don’t master the Swedish language, but might be curious about my trip. I will divide it into two parts, so the first half of my week on Crete comes here.

Thursday: We arrived on Crete in the afternoon. I almost got tears in my eyes when I first could see the island from the plane. Unfortunately I spent the rest of the day in our hotel room because of a headache.

Friday: We mostly took it easy this day and checked out our closest surroundings. Our hotel was located between the towns of Hersonisos and Stalida, and we took a walk to the center of Hersonisos. There is not much charming to say about the center of Hersonisos. It’s mostly a place for tourists who like to party and go shopping, but there were some ancient remains, among other things a Roman fountain (though there seem to be ancient remains and archaeological sites almost around every corner on Crete). And cats. Lots of cats. But it took me a while to realize that all the cats we saw were stray cats. There were some stray cats and stray dogs hanging around the hotel area as well. One day one of the cats was lying asleep on our balcony.

hersonisos 027


In Hersonisos there actually was a street named after the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. ”Ulof Palme”. Obviously he had a summer house nearby.

Saturday: We took the bus to Herakleion, the biggest city on the island, and from there we went to the remains of the palace of Knossos (YAY!). The Minoan civilization was the first civilization in Europe and the palace of Knossos was the biggest and most important palace on Crete. It was built soon after 2000 BCE and was then destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times before its final destruction in about 1450 BCE.

knossos 071 knossos 045It was really amazing to walk through the remains and the reconstructed parts of the palace (though many of the theories and reconstructions made by the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans of course can be questioned. Since the writing of the Minoans still is undeciphered, it’s difficult to know the exact meaning of the things left behind. And if these places really were palaces).

knossos 050In my comic about Athena I’m using the Minoan palaces as models for the palace on Olympus. Look at these stairs I’m sitting on…

stairs…It’s the same stairs in the background in this panel.

Sunday: The palace of Malia was even closer to where we lived. From the town of Malia it was only about 3 km out to the ruins. No problem, we thought, and walked 3 km in the scorching sun (I have to admit I wasn’t quite prepared for how hot the weather in Crete would be. After all, summer was over now, but some days it was still close to 30 degrees. We’re both pale redheads – well, I’m almost redheaded – so we’re quite sensitive to the sun. We never went anywhere without sun hats and bottles of water).

malia 099Malia was the third biggest palace on Crete. Similar in contruction to the palace of Knossos, but less meticulous.

malia 114

Here we’re sitting in the shade of some olive trees, waiting for the next bus back to the hotel, since we discovered that there actually were some buses that stopped near the ruins. But the next thing we discovered was that it’s not enough to stand at the bus stop and start walking towards the bus when it approaches. If you don’t wave to clearly show that you want to get on the bus, it won’t stop (at least not if you’re outside the towns). So we ended up walking those 3 km back to the town of Malia and took another bus from there back to the hotel. At least the sun wasn’t quite as hot anymore.

malia 233malia 237The town of Malia was a quite charming mix of disrepair and picturesque buildings.

Well, that was the first half of the week. Next are the palace of Phaistos, the Psychro Cave and the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion, but I’ll post that tomorrow.

And now for something completely different… För helvete! Hjälp till att stödja crowdfundingen av Necronasses Lilla Svarta, en citatbok med Necronasses samlade hädelser och visdomar! Jag medverkar tillsammans med en hel bunt andra begåvade och förtappade serietecknare.

  • Amanda

    Jag är imponerad av er båda två för att ni gav er ut på detta äventyr! Själv skulle jag aldrig orka åka ut till grejer varje dag, utan föredragit hotellrum med AC några dagar. Kul att få se bilder!

    • Li Österberg

      Haha, jag är ganska imponerad själv. Men det mesta av äran ska gå till Joacim som stod bakom planerandet av alltihop.