After our trip to the church, we got back on the minibus and headed off to our next destination: the ancient city of Lato, now an archaeological site. The ruins were like a growns up giant playground – it wasn’t like some of these other ancient cities, such as Pompeii, where most things are roped off and it’s very much a “look but don’t touch” atmosphere, instead you had free roam to run down the streets, in and out of houses, up the steps of the outdoor theatre and the temple…it’s really quite an amazing experience. It was abandoned around 200BC and whilst a lot of it does look like rubble, you can make out foundations and with a good imagination, picture what the town would have looked like. It felt quite surreal standing on streets that were used over thousands of years ago.
What’s more, Crete has a very mountainous terrain and Lato is built at the top of one of these many mountains, meaning that the views were breathtaking…especially after you’ve clambered over the ruins to the top!
This was after we drove to the entrance of Lato
and this is the beautiful panoramic view after climbing to the very top!
Just to the left of the shot, you can look down to the sea and see the town of Agio Nikolaos, which we also ventured to…but not quite yet! For our next stop was Kritsa, the beautiful small town Cretan town. When you think of a Greek island, you conjure up images of cobbled streets, elderly couples hiding from the sun in the shade and inviting kafenions, and what you thinking of is Kritsa! We wandered up and down the streets and just soaked in the simplistic beauty of it all. Even the shopkeepers are some of the nicest and politest people you could wish to meet and we came away with bags full of olive oil, nougat, baklava and jars of honey. We also got to sample (lots!) of Raki in many different flavours, a popular spirit in Crete that is often cheaper than bottled water!
Finally, our last destination was the city of Agio Nikolaos. Back in the day, it was the port town for Lato but now it is considered more of a tourist destination. Despite this, it still has a lovely charm about it and doesn’t yet feel destroyed by hordes of tourists and tourist shops.
It was here, by the Lake Voulismeni that we settled for lunch and I finally got to indulge in a Greek favourite, pork Gyros. I felt that with the pita bread the additional chips were unnecessary but in my trip to Crete I became addicted to tzatziki, the white dip on the side, and could have had bowls of it!
The rest of the day, like the rest of the holiday, was spent lazing on the beach and I can’t wait to go back! (Or go away anywhere now that summer really feels like it’s coming to an end…)
P.S. these photos are an accumulation from both my camera and my sister’s so credit must be given to her too!