Heraklion, or Irakleio, is the largest city on Crete, and served as our home base. It’s on the eastern half of the island, on the northern coast, looking out into the Aegean.
We arrive at night after some plane delays. Our first day, it pours.
We wander the streets with our cheap umbrellas. There are orange trees.
It comes time to take refuge for a while. Utopia, the old-school café on Chandakos, specialises in chocolate: fondue, confections, and for drinking.
We order a pot of drinking chocolate to share. It comes with a tiered platter of cookies. Charlotte also orders a waffle with chocolate sauce and coffee ice cream. She loves her coffee ice cream. I like this.
There is no time; there is only dampness and chocolate and soft jazz from an unseen speaker.
Back out into the rain; the streets are all but empty, and we can hear the waves pounding the breakwater.
Down to the coast.
It is the sublimest of sublime. Aegean pagan baptism.
Out to the old Venetian fortress.
There is a narrow passage that goes by the fortress on the windward side, leading to the breakwater. Every few seconds, on cue, the sea rises up.
Now we are a little crazy. There is the rush of blood and adrenaline. We have to do it. Yes Charlotte we have to.
Through the fence, clinging to the wet stone on the wide ledge. We time it, starting just after the last wave begins to recede, clambering along and hopping down into the thick film of seawater. We make it, we are making it, the froth pulls back, we can hear it, gathering itself, plunging, and up, up, showering the walls behind us and then in front and then all around. We make it through and we are very not dry.
The same is true coming back and more so.
The armoury, the harbour, the old architectures. We take refuge again, later, harder this time, removing clothes. We are the only ones in Guernica, the mid-afternoon quietude. The bartender brings us tea, lights a fire in the grate. We hang our socks. I review some words.
Efharistó (Ευχαριτώ) – Thank you
Parakaló (Παρακαλώ) – Please
Eiá sas (Ειά σασ) – Hello
Andío (Αντίο) – Bye
Sighnómi (Συγγνώμη) – Excuse me / sorry
and a few foods:
Anthótyro (Ανθότυρος) – traditional cheese, fresh or aged
Myzíthra (Μυζήθρα) – fresh cheese
Tyrópita (τυρóπιτα) – cheese pie
Mezédhes (μεζές) – meze, mixes small plates
Hórta (χόρτα) – wild greens
Kafeneía (Καφενεία) – traditional coffee house
Rakadhiko (Ρακάδικο) – bar/raki house
Rakómelo (ρακόμελο) – warm drink of raki mixed with honey and spices
Hohloi (Χοχλιοί) – snails
Koulouri (κουλούρι) – dough ring coated in sesame seeds
Tsái ton vounoú (σάι του βουνού) – mountain herb tea
Kataífi (καταϊφι) – angle hair pastry with honey/syrup and nuts
Eleóladho (Ελαιόλαδο) – olive oil
Neró (Νερό) – water
Krasí (Κρασί) – wine