Belle Michelle
Knossos Palace

Crete: Sissi, Knossos Palace & Heraklion (& Cats)

Some sun was most certainly needed after a what seemed like a never-ending crappy British winter, so I headed off to the island of Crete for a few days with a handsome boy to get some vitamin D into my frozen bones…

EasyJet plane flying over sunset

We were staying at the Castello Boutique Resort & Spa hotel in Sissi. We arrived at around 11:30PM and were delighted to find that our room had been upgraded to one with a jacuzzi on the balcony 😀

The hotel staff had laid out meat, bread and cheese plates for us, and a bottle of red wine. I was pretty made up!

Compimentary plate of cheese, bread, meats and wine

Day in Sissi

I was pretty excited when I saw the vast array of yummy foods I could eat the next morning at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. On the first day I opted for two plates; one with a poached egg, toast, mushrooms and salad, and a bowl of the most fabulous Greek yogurt I’ve ever tasted with cereals, fruit, and a gigantic dried fig. I also had seconds 🙂

Hotel breakfast with fruits, Greek yogurt, egg, mushrooms and coffee

This little fella wouldn’t stop staring at me whilst I had my breakfast, so I nicknamed him ‘Breakfast Cat‘.

Breakfast cat

We went for a bit of a walk around the island and I met some more cats!

Michelle and cats

The first day was really rainy, so after running back to the hotel as a rain storm started, we stayed inside playing games and checking out the hotel pool and tiny gym.

That evening, we went out for dinner at a little family tavern called ‘Neromilos‘ about ten minutes walk from the hotel. The lady who served us was so lovely and welcoming, and gave us some complimentary starters – a basket full of bread, a beetroot/yogurt dip and a small homemade curry dish (she stressed that it obviously wasn’t Greek, but people tended to like it).

Complimentary starter at Neromilos

We wanted to try some traditional Greek dishes, so got some stuffed vine leaves, and the lady suggested we order these deep fried courgettes with cheese on top. They were good! Red wine in a jug was a great addition too.

Vine leaves, red wine and battered courgette at Neromilos

We shared a moussaka between us, and yes, it was delicious!

Moussaka and red wine at Neromilos

After this, we were also given free cheesecake for dessert (it was fabulous but my photo does not do it justice so I’ll leave it out), and a shot of Raki ‘for the road’. We loved this place, highly recommended!

The sun started to finally make an appearance as we tipsily walked back to the hotel. This church is right next to the hotel; I thought it was pretty.

Church outside the hotel Sunset in Sissi

Day at Knossos Palace & Heraklion

The next day was beautifully sunny and warm so I was able to get some photos of the hotel in the sunshine 🙂

Front of Castello Boutique Resort and Spa Castello Boutique Resort and Spa pool

View from our hotel room:

View from hotel room

Our balcony and jacuzzi:

View of penthouse balcony

I decided to up my breakfast game and had this delicious bowl of Greek yogurt (seriously couldn’t get enough of that stuff!) and muesli topped with little biscuits with a hole in the middle, cut up apple, chopped nuts and grated coconut, and fruit slices, cucumber and another fig on the side. This would have been one of multiple bowls…

Hotel Greek yogurt breakfast bowl

After breakfast, we hired a car and drove to the Palace of Knossos, which is an archaeological site on ruins of an ancient palace (think about 1100 BC).

Palace of Knossos map

Parts of it (like this) were reconstructed by a guy called Sir Arthur Evans in the 20th Century, with his vision of what they would have looked like at the time.

Palace of Knossos

It’s a pretty cool place, and we enjoyed wandering around the ruins in the sunshine for an hour or so.

Knossos Palace Knossos Palace Knossos Palace Knossos Palace Knossos Palace

One of the restored interiors:

Interior at Knossos Palace

After finishing up at Knossos Palace, we drove into Heraklion to visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. The museum contains all of the articles dug up at the site – pots, statues, weapons etc. There is so much there spread over two floors, it was overwhelming.

There was a model of the palace in the museum, as it is thought to have looked in its glory days:

Model of Knossos Palace at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum

There were so many pots in the museum that I started to become very pot-blind after a while! These were some of the more impressive ones; they were taller than me:

Large pots from the Palace of Knossos at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion

After all of that history, we were in dire need of some fuel. So we walked into Heraklion and went into Minos restaurant, which had caught my eye from the street.

Minos restaurant in Heraklion

There was a cute little canary in a cage behind where I was sitting 🙂

Canary in cage

We ordered a Greek salad and gyros (cooked meat with flatbread) which came with tzatziki. The complimentary basket of bread was of course there as well. It all tasted fantastic.

Gyros and Greek salad at Minos restaurant in Heraklion

After that, we had a further wander around Heraklion; saw the Morosini Fountain in Lions Square

Morosini Fountain in Heraklion

Heraklion City Hall

City Hall in Heraklion City Hall in Heraklion

…and Agios Titos Church, which is a beautiful building.

Agios Titos church in Heraklion Interior of Agios Titos church

We then wandered along by the port and Koules Fortress

Heraklion Cruise Port Koules Fortress in Heraklion

…and had a much longer than expected walk along a path heading out to sea and curving around. All that walking made me crave dessert.

Large ship at Heraklion Port

For ‘dinner’, we found a place near our hotel selling crepes and cocktails. So, I ordered a crepe with chocolate sauce and ice cream, and a banana daiquiri. Holiday diet!

Crepes and ice cream at a cafe in Sissi

I also found some more cats – these ones jumped out of a bin and came to say hi 🙂

Michelle stroking ginger cats

The Crete adventures continued in the next post, where we went to Plaka and the Island of Spinalonga, a former leper colony…

© Michelle Dinan 2017