East of Réthymnon is the province of Mylopótamos, famous for the best musicians in Crete and (the two may be related) for its kouzouloi, or true Cretans, who when confronted with a hopeless situation nevertheless strive to attain the impossible irrespective of all consequences to themselves, family or friends.
The kouzouloi spirit expressed itself in Cretan resistance in the Second World War, when the struggle went on in the face of terrible German reprisals; today it continues far more peacefully, especially in the mountains, in efforts to maintain Crete’s soul and traditions in spite of the cultural onslaught from mainland Greece, the EU and the globalization.
Between Réthymnon and Heráklion you can choose between the highway or the old roads winding over the northern slopes of Mount Ida.
The highway passes Réthymnon’s beach sprawl and Pánormos, a pretty place with a ruined 5th-century basilica and small beach, guarded by a Genoese fortress of 1206. Pánormos made its fortune in the 19th century as a port for carob beans – once an essential ingredient in the manufacture of film.
Images by C messier, Creative Commons License, Frente, George Finikianakis, Gerd A.T. Müller, Nicholas Turland, Petr Novak, Phil Venditti, Shadowgate, Tango7174