The Rambling Writer Returns to Crete, part 10: The Road to Irakleio

Join Thor and me as a few kilometers of roads (with slight detours) takes us from ancient Minoan Phaestos to Roman Gortys to modern IrakleioAnd images of my writing muse Ariadne, old and new.

NOTE: Of course, Thor and I had to make another trip to Greece, as he’s fallen as much in love with the islands as I am. This time, in addition to other island-hopping, I wanted to return to Crete after 37 years. My first months-long trip was as a hippie backpacker, camping in the ruins and falling under the spell of the mysterious, vanished Minoan culture. This time, I got to introduce Thor to “glorious Kriti” and research more settings for my novel-in-progress, THE ARIADNE DISCONNECT. This new blog series started October 19, 2019, and will continue every Saturday.

Last time (blog post of Dec. 14), Thor and I departed the serene archaeological site of Minoan Phaestos and headed north toward the bustling port city of Irakleio and the famous site of Minoan Knossos. On the way, I wanted to see the Roman site of Gortys. After an unplanned detour through fields and dusty villages as Thor’s “girlfriend” Siri became very confused about place names, I followed the traditional navigation technique of asking locals the way. A couple of truck drivers at a roadside kafenion spoke no English, but directed me to a woman who understood enough to point the way. “Efcharisto” (thank you) once more to the patient, generous Greeks!

Gortys was settled in ancient Minoan times as a minor subject of Phaestos, but gained more influence when the Dorians from mainland Greece came to power on Crete, and by the 8th century BC had commercial importance. In the 3rd century BC Gortys conquered Phaestos, and later the Romans took and made the city their capital to rule all of Crete. The oldest remains include the Odeion, or theater, which was originally covered, from around 500 BC.

Because our Book View Cafe website server at this point may not handle many photos, I’m posting my complete blog entries on my own author website at, where you can finish this episode and enjoy all the accompanying photos. Please continue reading by clicking on the link below, then you can return here (use “go back” arrow above) to comment, ask questions, or join a conversation. We love your responses!


You will find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s latest novel from Book View Cafe is available in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection.  It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?”  The novel has received the Chanticleer Global Thriller Grand Prize and the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction. Sara has recently returned from another research trip in Greece and is back at work on the sequel, The Ariadne Disconnect. Sign up for her quarterly email newsletter at




The Rambling Writer Returns to Crete, part 10: The Road to Irakleio — 4 Comments

  1. I absolutely love the Minoan frescoes. They seem so contemporary in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. And I am very fond of the open breast clothing style which reminds me of the Free the Nipple movement. I wish we knew more about their culture. It seems so happy. Can’t wait for the blog on the Irakleiou museum which has a wondrous collection. The plowing furrow writing style is also fascinating; forward letters to the right and backward letters to the left. I suppose it makes sense considering the readers are looking at a big wall and can just run their eyes back and forth.