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After yesterday’s slightly underwhelming visit to Athens, we were all fired-up and ready to go for today’s visit to Heraklion, in Crete.

Before heading out, though – and even before breakfast – I rang the cruise office to ask for a small change to be made to the programme regarding my classes tomorrow. The ship is gearing up for full-on Queen Jubilee mode (which probably means I won’t get full classes tomorrow because there will be so much going on), and I’ve decided that by moving my figures session to tomorrow, we can inject a hint of Jubilee into it.

After taking care of that little bit of admin, and after finishing our breakfast, we grabbed our going-out-stuff and headed for the quayside to catch the shuttle bus into Heraklion… and only just made it, as we took the last two spaces. Buses were due to run every thirty minutes throughout the day, so it wouldn’t have been a total disaster if we’d missed it, but we would have had to wait another half an hour.

We had a rough plan that Tracey had worked out on Maps.Me, that began with a walk down through the town from where the bus dropped us off, to the Venetian Harbour, where a small fee of €4 each gave us access to the Rocca a Mare Fortress. Our main reason for wanting to visit it was for the views from the battlements, although the rest of the fortress, which is a well laid-out museum, also made the entrance fee worth every penny.

Needless to say, we enjoyed our wander through the fort, and when we finally exited, a walk down the pier upon which it is built seemed like the natural thing to do. We didn’t go to the very end, however (it’s a very long pier), but just far enough to provide us with us with some good shots of the Spirit of Adventure.

Eventually, we retraced our steps back to the main street, enjoying the sight of waves crashing against the breakwater and thoroughly wetting some passers by.

Once back in town, we paused to take a look inside St Titus Church, followed by a visit to the Venetian Loggia, which was a major political and administrative meeting place once upon a time. I just wanted to film some of the pigeons there, which kept flying across the central courtyard, and then mysteriously stopped and disappeared as soon as I got my camera out. Funny that.

Our wanderings took us past the very ornate Morozini fountain, surrounded by cafes and bars, through the winding backstreets to the Cathedral. As with St Titus Church, we enjoyed walking through the church, marvelling at its brightly painted ceilings and expensive looking chandelier.

The final section of our walk brought us across town to the ancient City Walls. The section at which we joined it features the grave of one of Greece’s most influencial writers, Nikos Kazantzakis. Such a simple, unadorned resting place seems almost too much of an understatement for someone who was widely considered a giant of modern Greek literature, was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature nine times and whose list of novels included Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ.

From here, we walked along the top of the walls to Georgiadi park, where we sat and drank water, and I tried to film a juggler who, like the pigeons earlier, seemed to stop every time I surreptitiously trained my camera on him.

The shuttle bus back to the ship was only a few minutes away, and when we arrived back at the port, we headed straight to the ‘Living Room’ for a large cold beer and biscuits (because we’d missed lunch). I spent what was left of the afternoon online studenting, only breaking off to have our daily covid tests at 4pm.

In the evening, we went to the Playhouse to watch The Searchers, of ‘Needles and Pins’ and ‘When You Walk in the Room’ fame before retiring. It’s a sea day tomorrow, but it’s also going to be a busy day because of all the planned Jubilee celebrations.

Our next port stop is due to be Limassol in Cyprus in two days time… which will be Day 16 of the cruise, and marks the halfway point. So far so good…

Peter Woolley

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