Jun 1:  Loutro to Iraklion

I slept only 1 hour till 4:30am.  My mind and heart were racing for some reason.  Stayed in bed till 8:30.  Too much stimulus on this trip.

We took a 9:30am ferry to nearby Sfakia (Home of the Sfakian Pie), then a 2-hr minibus ride to Iraklion (also spelled Heraklion).

We arrived at the hotel but had time only to drop our bags because of a change of plans.  Turns out the ruins at Knossos were closing at 3pm (it was Sunday), so we rushed there for a guided tour starting at 1:30pm.

The Palace of Knossos is where the Minotaur was imprisoned, and is also where Daedalus and Icarus escaped on wings of pastrami.  The ruins are quite ruined, and there's really not much to see.  Almost everything above knee level is a reconstruction/restoration.  Not good for photos.  I'd skip Knossos.  I found myself comparing it to more complete Egyptian temples and it doesn't match up.

One thing the guide mentioned, that we have been told, is that the Minotaur was half man half bull, and she motioned that the top half was the bull half.  Personally, I'd rather have the bull as my bottom half.  That way I could keep all my favorite parts from the waist up, and upgrade down there.  Not that it'd be a huge upgrade, but bull schlong is bull schlong.

The one photo I took, of King Minos's throne.  A reconstruction.

We had lunch across the street from Knossos.  I ordered schnitzel and the waiter gave me a long stare.  Sorry, I'm taking a breather from Greek food today.  During lunch I was wondering something.  In the booklet we got at the hotel there is advertised a gentlemen's club called Diamonds & Pearls.  The protocol at such businesses in the US is to tip the stage dancers by tucking dollar bills into their apparel.  How is the same thing accomplished in Europe given that there is a 1 coin but no 1 bill/note?  Do the girls expect 5 tips?  Or do you still "tuck" the 1 coins, so to speak?  And then at the end of her shift the girl does a little shake and all the coins come out like a slot machine.  Cha-ching!  I don't know.

We returned to the hotel and had a couple hours to kill.  I went out with Dawn and Stacy to what I thought was an Internet cafe, but it wasn't exactly where I remembered it coming in.  Dawn bought me gelato nonetheless.  I found one nearby from my map anyway.  Big news was the fire at Universal Studios, which is a 5-minute walk from my apartment (the entrance at least...the backlot is deeper into the property).  The King Kong ride burned down.  I was hoping the Battlestar Galactica thing would be destroyed instead ("I am the Imperious Leader.  You are now under my control.").  Doumit is STILL not off the DL.  My pitchers are getting pounded.  I've fallen into a 2nd-place tie with Brian.  Tonight is the Bruce result.

This is the main square, Pl. Venizelou.  It extends to another area with a fountain so I don't know if this is considered the center.  And I made three trips out from the hotel between Knossos and dinner and I don't know where this photo fits.

On one of my trips back to the hotel I tried to watch TV.  Dawn and Stacy had seen the Universal thing on CNN before I saw it on the Internet.  But in my room the TV was giving me some "insert card" error code.  So no TV.

On my last trip out I found Susan and Deb who were sitting outside having drinks and food.

Nearby I noticed these penile umbrellas.

I had a beer with Susan & Deb and at least one free shot of raki.  Maybe more.  All I know is I was on for the rest of the night.  I had several songs stuck in my head at this point:  You're the One That I Want (after the chills I got from a raki shot that were multiplyin'), Sweet Caroline (don't remember why) and Diamonds & Pearls (after the strip club).

Apparently most people did their own thing for dinner, so the Group of Six went a restaurant for appetizers and drinks.  Throughout dinner we had a classic conversation that should have been recorded in its entirety.  I think everyone's favorite moment was when Gabriel made a masturbation joke, and I said "that reminds me, I think I figured out why I haven't been sleeping."  You know, in the morning...brush teeth, shave, shower, masturbate, get dressed...when you're on vacation, your routine can get out of "whack".  "No pun intended...thank you, you've been great."  The crowd seemed to like this.  We also grilled each other on guilty pleasures (I have nothing I feel guilty about, not even my Enya CD) and played the kill/fuck/marry game.  My favorite k/f/m query was The Count, Kermit the Frog and The Cookie Monster.  Yes, I said "The" before "Cookie Monster".  We also threw out names of some real people we knew who weren't there.  That's what you all (or y'all, or youse all) get for not joining the powerful Group of Six.

After dinner we went to some other bar.  Here are Sarah and Gloria dancing with unrecognizable looks on their faces.  Nice of Gabriel to take the brunt of the flash, like a Secret Service agent taking a bullet for the President.

Bedtime 3am.  This is easily my partyingest post-Contiki tour.