After our somewhat disappointing trip to visit Knossos we were brought back to the city of Heraklion for a short walking tour and some time to ourselves. The coach parked up outside the city centre where we could see our cruise ship, the Royal Princess, in port. We were told we could choose to make our own way back to the ship if we wanted but that we’d have to let the tour guide know in advance so that he wouldn’t wait around needlessly at the end of the excursion. I can’t imagine why I’m mentioning this!

Our walking tour took us in as far as Lions Square where the early-17th century Morosini Fountain was located. There were a few street entertainers here (of the “human statue” type) who would hilariously trap people or take items off them until our tour guide told them in Greek what I suspected to be “Fuck off and leave my group alone!” Generally, though, I’d have to say that all the Greek people we met on our Mediterranean cruise were some of the friendliest locals we’ve encountered on our travels. One of our guides explained at one point that they realised that for as poor a country as Greece is tourism is absolutely vital so good humour and manners were equally required assets.

During our free time period my wife and I broke with our tradition of immediately going off for a wander and headed for a cafĂ© instead to get some beers and something to eat; the heat of Knossos had really taken it out of us. It wasn’t too long, though, before we did stroll around some of the streets off the centre of Heraklion in search of anything architecturally appealing. We didn’t have a huge amount of time, though, and we’d decided earlier that we’d head back on the coach, again, because it had been so hot.

The last point of interest as we made our way back to where the various coaches were parked was the Venetian era Bembo Fountain, built in the mid-16th century and the first time the citizens of Heraklion would have seen running water in the city.

Hey! Remember me saying that the tour guide wanted people to tell him if they were making their own way back to the ship so the coach wasn’t waiting beyond its due time? Well, funny story… We ended up waiting around for twenty minutes after we were due to meet. Ten of those were for a couple who couldn’t tell the time. And the other ten were for another couple who decided to head back to the ship on their own and didn’t tell anyone because it’s their holiday and they’ll do what they like and who cares about other people, right? Nice, eh?

Back on board the cruise ship and after some much needed showering and rehydrating we saw a very pleasing dusk sky beyond the hills surrounding the port of Heraklion.


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