We had really enjoyed our previous day in Iraklios. But the city is a pretty busy modern one, the fifth largest in Greece. Now the one reason that had me planning a stay here is the ancient Greek city of Knossos once the capital of the Minoan civilization. Located 5 kilometers from the Iraklios, it's probably the main reason tourists come here. But it turned out that by the time we arrived, the Missus had developed "ruin fatigue" and adamantly refused to visit Knossos....in other words, She said "no to Knossos."
The Missus had been cooking up another plan. She wanted to drive around the central wine region of Crete. By drive meant that I'd be the driv-er. Now having seen folks zooming around on the street, I really wasn't too enthusiastic about driving around Crete. Plus I was pretty sure that the car we arranged for was a "stick". Not really a big problem I guess, my last car before I moved to the mainland was a 4x4 and I used to drive delivery trucks and flatbeds....but it had been at least 15 years since I drove a stick. Of course, the Missus had Her own spin on the whole thing, "it's like riding a horse, right?" Of course how many times you fall off that horse when you get back on factors into the equation. "I hope you feel the same way when I kill the thing in the middle of the busiest intersection of Crete." "You are so negative....."
Of course, the natural place for such conversations would be breakfast. And we really enjoyed the spread at the Galaxy hotel. Of course, we'd not have been so happy if breakfast wasn't included, it would have been an extra 22 Euros a day and as good as it was....well, it wasn't that good!
The Missus had fallen in love with rusk, the twice cooked bread, which was as hard a crouton, but struck a nerve with Her. And tis place had an area with traditional Cretan items.
Of course, if you're a regular reader, you know the Missus loves Her eggs. Here the boiled eggs were lined up in rows, front row 3 minutes, middle row 6 minutes, back row 9 minutes. Which led to a bit of a quandary for the Missus, "I'm wondering how long the three minute eggs has been sitting in the salt......is it more like a nine minute or six minute egg?" Trying to end this mental stalemate I told the Missus, "while you're contemplating carry-over cooking, there's a line forming behind you......"
It was the orange juice that got me.........it tasted so wonderfully fresh squeezed.......I actually would have three glasses with breakfast.
We really enjoyed our breakfasts here......
When we met with the rental agent, the Missus told him, "I want a small car, one of the itty-bitty European cars, the smallest one." The agent humoured Her and gave assurances that we'd get the tiniest car available. After breakfast, we picked the keys up at the desk with information on how to find our car....it was parked on an adjacent side street and how to return it.....try to find parking on a side street. To the Missus' disappointment, the car wasn't "itty-bitty" enough, but I'm sure She forgot about that as we headed out of Iraklios, past the hospital and Knossos......and hit wine country.
About 15 kilometers out of Iraklios we passed the village of Peza. Peza is known as the central hub for Wine and Olive in the area. Right past the town we came to the Peza Union Museum and Tasting room. There was one tour bus parked outside, so we decided to stop....the Missus really wanted to taste some of the local olive oil. I read somewhere that Crete has the highest consumption of olive oil per capita in the world, something like 30 kilos per person per year!
The folks on the tour was just finishing up when we arrived, so we had the place to ourselves.
We wandered the displays showing the history of wine and olive oil production in the region and stopped to taste some wine.
Some of the wines tasted really "raw", but we found a bottle we liked and bought it. We'd later have it one evening in Chania.
Of course the Missus was here for olive oil. There were five available and the woman manning the counter talked to us about flavors and acidity.
When it came time for tasting, we asked to taste just the straight olive oil....this was when the fun started. We expected a little splash of olive oil and maybe some bread. Instead the woman poured a shot of the stuff into a little dixie cup and handed it to me! She then started pouring another cup of it for me! We frantically stopped her....man, there ain't no way I could do five good sized shots of olive oil. I guess the folks in Crete do consume the most olive oil in the world. We indicated using our index fingers and thumbs how much to give us......it surely wasn't like 2-3 ounces of the stuff. In the end, we loved the highest quality olive oil, called 24K gold and bought a bottle. You can see it in a photo on this post. Man, could you imagine me drinking like ten ounces of olive oil......... It makes for a funny story though.
After making our purchases we jumped back in the car.......the Missus now told me what Her mission was for this roadtrip...... stay tuned!