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Windmills of Lassithi and Dikteon Cave in Lassithi, Crete

There are four regional units in Crete namely Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Lasithi.  Three of which I already presented …

Chania – Chania: A Beautiful Mess
Rethymno – Carnivale in Rethymno, Fortezza of Rethymno
Heraklion – Irakleon, Crete

… So, I now bring you Lasithi …

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THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP RECOMMENDS:

Movie: Once – It’s like a soundtrack album so beautifully presented in a motion picture… featuring the music of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

Recommendation Flashback: Here is a scene from the movie Crash …. Spoiler Alert … Parental Guidance is advised.

Music: Corrine Bailey Rae by Corrine Bailey Rae – Her voice is …. *BOW*.

This one is a must-see live performance vid. Here is one of her covers from a music legend, Led Zeppelin …


Bored, I dropped what I was doing, quickly checked the internet for places to go, and off I walked out the door and drove. I figured I’ve been here in Crete for four months so I might as well visit its forth major region. :D My research took me to Lasithi Plateau and Dictaeon Cave, a cave where Zeus “supposedly” was born.

It was a lot of driving and tricky to get to. So for this post I’m including pointers for those who might be interested in exploring both location.

The drive may be long but worth it. You’ll be surrounded by mountains and fields of greens.

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Yey, isn’t it? :D

Lasithi is about 3 – 4 hours from Chania. From Chania, once you get to a roundabout on the National Road, take right following the sign to Mochos. From here on out, the trick is not to hesitate even if you feel like you’ve been driving for awhile, or felt you already seen enough.

Keep driving until you get to Homo Sapien Museum. You will see windmills there …

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… but don’t stop there. Keep driving … :)

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Just keep driving. You will see some more windmills. It is said there are some (air-quote) 10,000 windmills here.  Yowza! A lot of it however didn’t stand the test of time.

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… Then you will get to this (air-quote) Botanical Park where there are more noticeable windmills.

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… That means you are just shy away from taking a right turn to get to the cave. Just follow the signs. So what do you do?

… keep driving … :)

… it won’t be long til you get to the cave. You’ll know you’re there when you see a parking lot with some souvenir stores and some food places. You will be welcomed with a picturesque overview of Lassithi Plateau.

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It makes you realize how much you’ve driven. :D

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The cave is open til 7 pm during tourist/summer season. Parking is 2 Euro. Entrance is 4 Euros. Bring good shoes and water. Extra lungs if you must. :D I’m kidding, the ascend is doable. ;)

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The cave is small but still whoa-some!!!

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The most recognized cave in Crete, it is said to be where Zeus (air-quote) supposedly was born. There is also a cave in Mount Zeus in Naxos, Greece where they also claim Zeus (air-quote) supposedly was born. I don’t know which to believe. It seems that there are more that are using reference to the cave in Crete than the one in Naxos.

I’ll be in Naxos island this weekend. Yea-Yeah! :D

Now, you can either drive back from whence you came or drive towards the city center of Agio Nikolaos. The drive to Agio Nikolaos is a long one but you will see more mountains, small villages, and of course, more windmills. Just strictly follow the signs to Agio Nikolaos. Again, do not hesitate too much….

…Just keep driving. To me, it’s worth it. :)


 

In the offing: California post, Naxos, another Santorini post, and a special post.

What’s white and blue and churches all over?

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a full traditional travelogue. I think it works here.

I finally got out of the island of Crete and off to another Greek island. From Chania, we drove for 2 hours or so to Irakleio and then hopped into a 2-hour-or-so ferry ride to Santorini. As soon as we landed on the port we looked for a transport to our hotel.

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We checked in to a very accommodating Volcano View Hotel. Maybe because I was with my girl that they upgraded us to Junior Suite… Sweet! I don’t usually talk about hotels on my travels, but this one is worth recommending. Friendly and helpful staff, clean, free breakfast, and has a great view of the volcano and the water.

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We ate a delicious meal before heading out to our tour – rice-looking pasta with shrimp.

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We picked Sunset in Oia & Traditional Villages Tour. Just something that’s available, and fits our schedule. The Volcano and other Boat Tours are not yet available until the end of May.

The Traditional Villages part took us to …

Mesa Gonia, The Ghost Town village largely devastated by the 1956 earthquake in Santorini.

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– Our tour guide brought up a very neat point – if not for the earthquake, Santorini wouldn’t be as popular as is it today. –

Pyrgos, which got us climb 80 steps for an awesome city overview.

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Souvenir items, typical blue and white Santorini sceneries, churches, etc. are on-scene along the way to the top.

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-There are 365 churches in Santorini.-

Magnificent overlooking views once we reached the top.

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Imeroglivi, a seaside spot that boasts the most luxurious hotels in Santorini. Pfft!

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-97% of jobs in Santorini is … drumroll please … tourism.-

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And last, but not the least, is the ever-famous Sunset in Oia part of the tour.

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Oia is pronounced as ee-yah.

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– Santorini is extremely white and extremely blue, just as the Greek flag. –

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There’s a lot of people waiting for the sun to set. I kept joking as we waited that the sun Tweeted that it’s not coming down that day. :D

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…And the joke was on me. The sun was hiding behind the cloud. :( A major travel woe!

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If you ever come to Santorini, I still highly suggest this tour as it covers a lot of places. It’s 28 Euro per person. It’s relatively cheaper than the other tours or the ones online.

I heard from someone before that he/she didn’t like Santorini because it’s too touristy or too popular that excitement was never there. I came to Santorini with that kind of low expectation. As it turned out, I really enjoyed it.

We came back disappointed with the sunset, but it’s not just the sunset that people should go to Santorini for.

That’s Day One. So much I’ve shared already. 2.0 next month. I’ll leave you with Last Calls, and a tease of my photo shoot that I will share in Part 2. :D

Last Calls …

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A preview of this stud :D for Part 2.

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 Next post: We’re going to the East side of Crete and see some windmills, or a cave where Zeus was born. Or, a California post.

Death Valley National Park in Monochrome

On my first post of Death Valley National Park, the pictures were taken from a cellphone and I edited them using a cellphone app Snapseed. This time, the images are from my DLSR. This is Death Valley National Park, one of the top locations I’ve ever visited. I want to present it the right way with what I got.

It was a constant battle whether I should present the pictures in a color or monochrome palette. I didn’t want to present it in B&W in the first place. Many have been successful with turning their DVNP pictures into B&W. I’m intimidated. I don’t know how they do it!?. Mine pales in comparison. With the images I got, the transition isn’t quite right in my humble opinion. When I posted The City of San Francisco in Monochrome I can proudly say that it’s the kind of setting that’s just the right fit for B&W, but it still honestly eats me that the original (with colors) were not presented. It is hard to present pictures initially in monochrome leaving behind the originals in mystery. Bottom line is that another post of a location I already previously presented… I really wanted it to be different. I decided to compromise…. So …

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The Sophomore Slump Recommends …

Movie: Crash – The ultimate success movie with ensemble cast and interwoven stories.

Recommendation Flashback: Blue Valentine –
Here is Ryan Gosling (back when he was un-Hollywood :) ) playing ukulele…

Music:  The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Retro R&B and neo-soul perfection. Oh Lauryn Hill… come back into the limelight.

Recommendaton Flashback: Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams
The song, however, is not from Heartbreaker, just a personal choice to introduce to you Ryan Adams… Here is Desire …

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This post is part of my monthly California post.

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The problem with showing original images together with the ones that are turned into B&W, revealing the true colors spoils the effect B&W pictures had…

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And then it dawned on me, whatever the dilemma is, however mediocre I present it …. This is Death Valley National Park. I can’t go wrong with Death Valley National Park. The images will speak for itself.

Fortezza of Rethymno

I think its about time for me to tap into the history of Crete. I found just the right place. Fortezza of Rethymno is quite the destination to talk about it. ;)

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The Sophomore Slump Recommends:

Music: Trouble by Ray Lamontagne – A singer-songwriter album to its truest form. This troubadour is one for the books in my book. :)

Prepare to be amazed … here is … Shelter.

Movie: The Slumdog Millionaire – You gotta admit, this made-epic movie is still incredibly entertaining.

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Today a tour in Fortezza of Rethymno offers overlooking panoramic views of the entire city center and the west coast of Rethymno.

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The views are just … muwah. :D

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During the 4-century Venetian period in Crete called Kingdom of Candia, there were these walls of Rethymno protecting the harbor and surrounding houses in the area. But that didn’t go so well when one Turkish attack took place because of the weak integrity of the walls.

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So then they built this Fortezza in Rethymno with improved construction in order to protect and shelter the citizens after Turkish threat.

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During the Cretan War, Venetians were pushed out of Crete by the Ottoman Empire. Rethymnon fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1646. The biggest change they made in Fortezza was turning a temple into a mosque.

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Greece achieved their independence in 1821. They removed all traces of Turkish period and repaired the damages of the original establishments. The layout of the fortress remained all along.

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Last Calls …

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Iraklion, Crete

Another quick post…

What is Crete’s capital? The answer is letter C. Joke, joke, joke. :)

Irakleio is Creta’s capital. The largest city in Crete, and fifth in entire Greece. What you get is a bustling, urban city. Not very hard to notice. It is also hard to deny that this economic center has its both modern and historical importance, and has its full of wondrous discoveries within.

I first introduced you to Minoan Palace of Knossos. If you are to look up “first civilization in Europe” or “history of Europe”, you’d find that this, in Irakleio, is the site of Europe’s first civilization.

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Another place of interest is Archaeological Museum.

Me and a friend went to CretAquarium, a stop in Golden Bay, Venetian Fortress, and McDonalds (what!? Don’t judge. They have Greek Mac :D ). Crete was once in a Venetian Period, but more on that later. :)

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Last Calls…

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THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP RECOMMENDS

And since this is a quick post, I want to share you these very very cool music videos all created by OK GO.

One note: All music videos are impressively one-shot videos.

First is this massive, extreme domino effect “machine”… really really cool …

Second is a highly complex choreographed video. The matrix part close to the end is whoa-insane!

The matrix part is participated by 2300 people. During filming, this video was done in intentional slow-motion playing the song in half-time.

Next is playing “musical instruments” while driving a car … again under one take.

If you did watch it, the song was recorded during filming of the video.

This last one is creative, creative, creative. This truly is “some pleasure in the eyes”…

I really hope you got to see these whoa-some, fun, cool music videos.


Also … Madhu of The Urge to Wander is an excellent, one of the top bloggers in my book. I hope you vote for her entry for “Journeys of a Lifetime Story”. I assure your vote will be casted for the right person, or that you won’t be disappointed following her blog.

Next, a 2.0 of Death Valley, Downtown Chania, or a something-else post.

Minoan Palace of Knossos

Instead of talking history about the archeological findings, let’s learn a little bit of Greek Mythology. I think it’s more insteresting.

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Labyrinth and minotaur happened to originate or are still holding evidence here in Crete, Greece and became common knowledge or usage.

Labyrinth. In Greek Mythology, the original labyrinth is associated with Minoan Palace of Knossos. It’s an elaborate maze construction built by architect Daedalus to hold Minotaur. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.

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Minotaur. Minotaur comes from the words Minos and Toros which translate as “Bull of Minos”. A minotaur is now being used as a common name for bull-headed creatures. “The” Minotaur was kept in the center of the Labyrinth and was eventually killed by Theseus.

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King Minos of Crete. Every nine years, he made King Aegeus of Athens to pick seven young boys and seven young girls to be sent to the Labyrinth and be eaten by Minotaur. It served as a payment for the death of one of his son, Androgeus, in Athens.

Theseus of Athens stopped these killings by slaying Minotaur.

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Theseus. Theseus is a founder-king of Athens. He volunteered to be one of the youths. He was  successful in defeating Minotaur with the help of Ariadne, King Minos’ daughter.

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Extra:

Ariadne. Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and gave him pointers on his quest in the Labyrinth and to kill Minotaur in the promise that he’d take her with him if he’s successful. He defeated Minotaur and as promised took Ariadne with him. But Athena woke Theseus telling him to leave early and leave Ariadne. It was said that Ariadne was left in the island of Naxos (which I hope to visit one day :) ).  Later, the island’s protector, Dionysus, found her and eventually married her.

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THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP RECOMMENDS:

Movie: Juno – Hip, witty and expotentially cooler.

Here’s a clip …

Music: Voodoo by D’Angleo – Perhaps one of the most sought after artists to ever come back in the music scene. It’s because his two albums Brown Sugar and Voodoo are just too darn good not to be followed.

For the ladies … deemed as one of the sexiest music videos in history.

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I was expecting to see a real palace when we went to this place, and all I saw was a bunch of rocks. :D No, I didn’t see grand majestic construction. But the value of this place is deep in the birth of Greek civilization and mythology. It pays to read about the places you’ve been to. As it turns out, it’s so awesome to see a bunch of rocks. ;)

Last Call …

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Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) Monastery in Crete, Greece

It has been cold, cold, cold here in a famous Summer destination, Crete, Greece. Right now, it is actually raining with snows. I’m talking all over Crete, and not just on high mountains. My landlord said it was only the first time in 10 years.

Luckily last weekend, we did get to borrow a little bit of sunshine. And so, we took advantage of it!

Agia Triada Monastery

Hurry up! Let’s go…

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The Sophomore Slump Recommends

Movie: And my choice for the upcoming Oscar is Birdman to snag Best Picture, Best Director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – tough competition against Boyhood), Best Actor (Michael Keaton – very deserving), Best Actress (Emma Stone – long shot), and Best Screenplay. 

Say what!!?? Who hates bloggers? The actual clip is only up to 1:33.

Music: Z by My Morning Jacket – Looking for the best air drums play? My Morning Jacket and their album Z might be your best bet.

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Agia Triada Monastery

As soon as you enter the gate, you will be welcomed with a nice, well-cared-for courtyard. From what I heard, not many monasteries can say the same.

Agia Triada Monastery

They say that many monasteries here in Greece come as a disappointment. Agia Triada is an exception.

Let’s go inside …

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OMG …

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Oh My Greek! :lol:

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The enitre complex looks old because it is old. :) It is one of the most important historical monuments of the island.

Agia Triada Monastery

 You have to give Agia Triada some slack. It has gone through a lot. :D

Its initial construction was stopped during Turkish Invasion. Then, during the Greek War of Independence in 1821, the monks managed to escape the monastery leaving behind historical relics and manuscripts which were burnt by the Turks. The church was completed only after the Greek Revolution.

Agia Triada Monastery

 I love its ancient look anyway. ;)

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The monastery also has a museum, a library, and a shop to buy great wine, vinegar, cheese, and olive oil products.

There is no entry fee. Everyone is welcome, religious or not. Plus, this is very close to Chania airport. Exceptionally impressive, architecturally interesting, and historically important. Agia Triada Monastery might be a great quick stop as you enter the island before hitting the beach, or as you are leaving the island before you take the flight back. ;)

Last Calls …

Agia Triada Monastery

Agia Triada Monastery

Agia Triada Monastery

 

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FEATURED BLOG

Feel, feel and feel… Saya..D..Poet is here to entertain and impress us with her poems. Here’s a favorite … Sunshine – lost n found <– click on the title.

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This weekend, we are for sure going to Rethymno for the Carnival!

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