Exploring the birthplace of Zeus: Rethymnon, Crete

Venetian Harbor at Rethymnon

ABOARD THE MV AEGEAN ODYSSEYWhen I opened the curtains in our stateroom this morning, the view was incredible –a stone seawall, the blue water of an ancient Venetian harbor flanked by shops and cafes, and overlooked by a massive fortification, and beyond that, the mountains.

Knossos

Our morning excursion took us to the Palace of Knossos.  The ruins of this ancient palace are fantastic and they are 1200 years older than the Acropolis in Athens.  The site has been reconstructed by Sir Arthur Evans and while there is some criticism of his work, it allows the visitor to visualize the palace as it was and to more easily imagine what life was like around 1,900 BC. The beauty and sophistication that this palace possessed so long ago is truly surprising.

We skipped lunch on the ship and passed on the optional excursion to Chania and instead headed out into the old city of Rethymnon, which still retains its aristocratic charm.  There are many buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases. Many shops display the olive oil products and leather goods which are the specialties of this island.  I picked up a great pair of handmade sandals.

All along the harbor there are little restaurants serving fish and seafood, with tables overlooking the water.  We stopped at a small taverna – Taverna Mouragio Maria – for calamari and cold beer.

This evening, back on the ship, there’s a new experience, a dramatic poetry reading by Alison, one of the staff.  The only sad note is the scheduled Disembarkation briefing, a reminder that our voyage will soon come to an end.

Photos by Barbara Ramsay Orr

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