My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Ruins of Lato


“It’s the end of the world” NOT.  We survived the end of the world and live to see another day!  Decided to head the other direction on Crete and see how far we could drive on the National Road.


sheep in the curve in the road!

This road is very curvy and up and down following the N coast most of the way.  I would also echo that the drivers on Crete are the 2nd worst drivers in the world.  The worst I have ever experienced were in Puerto Rico!  The speed limits are suggestions only and there are NO, Zip, NONE, No rules when it comes to parking.

We drove past Heraklion, the largest city on Crete, and continued W towards Agios Nikolaos.  We didn’t spend any time there but headed to one of the smaller communities outside of it to visit Lato, an ancient Greek ruins.

We took some curvy roads up to Lato and came to the front gate, where we almost screamed because we thought it was closed, as there was not another car there.  However, there was a lady that was happy to take our entry fee and talk to us about Lato. We were the only visitors all day!  We had the place to ourselves, other than a bunch of sheep.


the view towards the south

such amazingly old ruins

our only company at Lato, Sheep!

everyone was smaller in those days!

Lato was built in the 5th and 4th century BC.  It was strategically built high on the hills with a view of the ocean.  In 200 BCE Lato was destroyed. 01794 01823 01838 01847 01862 01868 01882 01895

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Driving to the Eastern Tip of Crete


We had a great day on our first full day on Crete.  Decided to explore the old town of Chania.  It was a dizzily day and a bit wet, but we had fun exploring.  After walking around the streets, we ended up the Municipal Market, which dates back to 1913.01522  It is in the shape of a + sign with 4 rows, each row kind of had a theme, but not totally.  There were a lot of different stores inside, but we ended up only buying some spices and tea from stores AND eating lunch at a great little family owned restaurant.    01531 01540 01537 01534

My salad was a traditional cabbage, carrot salad, with a vinegar /oil / sugar dressing.  Harry had 2 different dishes, both chicken with many different seasonings on them.  Both stew like!0152801546

We then drove to the NW tip of the island.  It was amazing how few people or cars we saw.  It was almost scary that there was NO ONE else out there.  We went through Kissamos and returned by driving back through a mountain pass toward Chania. 01576 01555 01553 01550 01549 01576 01555 01553 01550

Crete is about 160 miles long and 37 miles wide at it’s widest.  However, the roads are not just straight and easy to drive on, to going 160 miles would take a LONG time. Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 6.47.04 PM01627 It is about 100 miles S or mainland Greece and is the biggest island in Greece.  What surprised us most were the mountains.  I don’t think either of us expected such high mountains on this island.  The highest are the Idi Range at 8058 feet, the White Mountains at 8045 feet, then the Dikti Mountains over 7000 feet.  The valleys these mountains create are amazing.

Driving around the tip of the island reminded us of our time in Hawaii and the Na Pali Coast on Kauai or the Hana Highway on Maui.

We got some sunshine at the tip as well, which we appreciated.   01582 01675 01663 01630  01597

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Arrival to Crete from Athens

Dec. 18/19

We ferried from Athens to Crete on an overnight ferry.  The ferry was MUCH bigger than we thought it would be, it is basically a retired cruise ship.  We ride ferries often in Alaska on our ferry system and I always thought our ferries were quite big, but this one made ours looks small.

It was suggested that we buy the ticket for a specific chair so that we would be sure to have a seat.  In the end we probably didn’t have to do that, but it didn’t really matter.  We both found places to lie down and sleep, BUT the staff came by and woke us and told us we could not sleep in that area.  I moved and so did Harry, I was not awoken again, but they kept harassing Harry so he didn’t sleep much. We eventually made it to Crete about 6 a.m.

Our rental car was waiting for us and we were off to find Blazis House, our apartment for the next 6 nights.  It proved to be a bit harder to find that one might think.  We first stopped a town too early, as our directions said it was “right after Demitri Hotel,”  little did we know most towns have lodging with that name.    After some backtracking, and dead end roads we found our great apartment in the town of Almydria.  It was about ½ way between Chiana (the port town) and Rethymnon a very popular town with a wonderful ‘old town’ area.    It was a QUITE town with a lot of ex-patriots in it, but we didn’t see many people at all, the town was closed up for winter.01477 1401c

We drove to Rethymnon and walked around the old fort and old town for a few hours and at lunch.  Headed home to prepare for future Crete adventures.  It got dark by 5:30 so we were ready to crash early.01522 01519 01510 01498 01483

Our housekeeper had left a treat for us on our door, some homemade goat cheese, it was fantastic.

Everyone that we met this day wondered why we were visiting this time of year.  It continued to be a theme of the rest of our time on Crete.  They certainly were not used to guests in the winter.

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Hadrian’s Gate/ Columns of Zeus and Panathenaic Stadium, Athens Greece


We visited Hadrian’s Gate, an arch that was made of marble.  It is on the street that goes from the old city of Athens to the new section that was built by Hardrian in 131-132 AD.    It is 18 meters high and 13 meters wide.  The crazy thing about the gate is that it is right on one of the busiest roads in Athens.  Trying to get a picture without a car was not an easy task!00605

We continued towards the Columns of Zeus.  They are right in the middle of town and were dedicated to Zeus, the king of all Olympian gods.    The temple was built in 6th century BC, but in the 3rd century it started to deteriate and started to be a ruin soon after.   After the fall of the Roman Empire much of the marble and building material was stolen to build other things.  We could still see a lot of the ruins.

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Last stop of the morning was the Panathenaic Stadium.  It is the oldest stadium in the world and the first modern Olympic Games were held here in 1986.  Now it is more a less a museum and once you walk through the tunnel it is full of many items from past Olympic games.  Some of the torches are pictured.

Now days the stadium is used for some Greek sporting events as well as in 2004 when the final legs of the Olympic Marathon were run there. 00811 00805 00766 00745 00703 00685 00682

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