I was in Iraklio on Saturday, working at the English examinations. I decided to leave the house early because I wanted to do a bit of exploring in the city before starting work. I parked the car close to the examination centre (an inner-city school in a built-up, congested, and perhaps one could also say, working-class area or maybe even poor neighborhood , and went on a short walk into the city centre, in search of an arts centre where a photography exhibition would be opening in the evening. I knew roughly where it was located, and simply asked people for directions just in case I got lost. I firmly believe you can never get lost in coastal areas. In Crete's case, either you are heading for the water, or for the mountains - one way or the other, one of them will come into view eventually, and you will know which direction you are walking in. The walk didn't take me longer than 15 minutes including the information stops along the way.
|Saturday, 7.30am, at the Vrises turnoff between Hania and Rethimno|
|Imagine this window opening as you are walking by it, and a n old man pops out his head. You ask him if you are heading in the right direction for the Lions (a central point in Iraklio) and he says: "Is your name Anna?" I told him it wasn't, and he told me not to worry, if he didn't guess right the first time, he never asked again. And yes, I am heading in the right direction for the Lions.|
|A memorial service for a loved one was taking place as I walked by this church while I was heading towards the Lions. About 8 Roma children were waiting coming in and out of the yard. The liturgy had just finished and the congregation was in the yard, having the customary coffee and cakes (it must have been a forty-day memorial service). When I walked back past the church after my walk in the town, I caught the Roma children each carrying a very full plastic plate with goodies that have been left over.|
|The warmest thing at work was a mug full of tea. The room was cold, as it would be when it's full of schoolchildren during the week. My kids spend the morning in freezing schools: just when the day starts to warm up, it's home time.|
|The narrow roads of Iraklio are romantic and lonesome at the same time. The picturesque old houses sit side by side with derelict ruins.|
|The Lions, Iraklio - the business around this central point in the town were relatively busy, as most central focus points often are in any urban centre. But the most places beyond here were relatively quiet, with just 1-2 tables taken.|
|An arty corner of Iraklio - on the left is a Chinese restaurant, on the right an enticing bookstore; the building in the background is where the photographic exhibition took place.|
|One of a number of well-preserved Venetian arches in Iraklio - this one is now called the New Gate, the last to be built in the town (it was renovated in the 1970s); construction began on it in 1587.|
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