Heraklion has a very pretty harbour area, the quay is lined with dozens of small fishing vessels, larger yachts in the marina and the breakwater with it’s small Venetian fort “Koules” provides an impressive backdrop.
Having only a few hours to explore the Cretan capital, initially the intention was to take a quick look but it was too tempting, too enchanting to not explore further. Along with people, small boats are a favourite photographic subject for me, not the large ocean going types but quaint fishing vessels and Heraklion is filled with them. Seagulls soar and their shrieks fill the air while the scent of fish and the ocean fills the nostrils.
It is a hive of hidden activity despite the appearance of little happening. On several of the boats fishermen repair nets and lines, prepare baits or unload their catch. It is not necessarily fish but lobster, shrimp or edible crabs and even buckets of natural sponges. Along the quay behind almost every moored boat is a fishing net, often yellow or orange along with the sponges they add a colour to the scene.
None of the fishermen appeared young, they lead a tough life. Their eyes squint from weather worn faces in an attempt to stitch delicate monofilament with rough, calloused fingers. One gentleman was loading large heavy bags of ice onto his scooter, a precarious balancing act followed as he transported them the short distance to his boat.
Deciding to take a stroll along the breakwater towards the fortified ramparts which provided a pleasant surprise as there was an exhibition; posters portraying a film called “El Greco”. Some of the filming had been completed on Crete as the principal character Domenico Theotokopoulos was born on the island during the rule of the Venetians. It was a surprise because I had only watched the film the previous evening.
The breakwater is popular, locals and tourists enjoying the walk and views in the afternoon sun. A busker playing his accordion obviously had picked his place well, his pot was filled with coins, numerous passers-by taking pleasure in his tunes and dropping him some change. Further still under a memorial a boatless fisherman was trying his luck with a hand line and possibly has the best spot on the whole of Crete.
There is probably a great deal more to share about the city of Heraklion but it will have to wait until another visit is arranged. This pleasant day was spent dawdling in the lovely harbour.