24th July – 10th August
My route around Crete was defined by meeting up with two groups of friends who were holidaying in different parts of the sizeable island. This meant I ended up doing circles around the island. During these circles I seriously confused a racing cyclist who overtook me going in one direction on a main road, then, a week later, we met up a second time on the same road going in the same direction! The coincidence was such that he and his wife ended up hosting me that night.
Crete also drew me into its Minoan history. A 4000 years old civilisation with social, economic, trade and architectural developments that parallel or exceed those of later civilisations, reminding me again that progress throughout the history of Homo Sapiens is not a continuous linear path…
I started off the Cretan visit by spending a week with Paddy and Julia. We had a brief beach holiday before jumping on a boat across the Aegean sea to visit several Cycladic islands. We finished off on the island of Syros for the International Film Festival
A rare photo of me on the bicycle (it happens sometimes I promise) waiting for the next ferry in Mykonos
It was a little windy on our boat rides around the islands
We met a great crowd at the film festival and saw some excellent films. We also saw some films that we did not understand. Not even when we tried especially hard to be open minded and artsy.
After a jaunt around the islands, I ended up back on Crete on a holiday with Karrie and her boyfriend Nikodimos. It was great to have a someone who can speak Greek and who loves to research places to visit and to eat. Made for an excellent and relaxing break!
After my two holidays that I managed to squeeze into this extended holiday, I cycled off again to see the south Cretan landscape
Wild camping in the olive groves
South Cretan landscape
What is this I hear you ask? A Cretan figure to ward off evil spirits? A symbol of Artemis, ancient Greek goddess of the animals? No! It is the Wolverhampton Wanderers logo and the man sitting in the doorway of this house leant out and, in the strongest Wolverhampton accent, said: “that’s my football team love”. How he ended up in a house in south Crete I never ended up finding out. I did, however, find out the most recent Wolves results and the best way to watch the Wolves matches live in Crete.
On my last day in Crete I managed to hit up two Minoan archaeological sites and the archaeological museum in Heraklion. Lots of coffee was consumed to maintain my Minoan history enthusiasm from 8am to 8pm. This is the Minoan Palace in Malia…
This is Knossos, the semi-reconstructed Minoan Palace…
… and this was one of my favourite artefacts in the archaeological museum in Heraklion. I like it because it is some of the earliest evidence of scripture, but we have not yet deciphered or interpreted the symbols. Look closely at the disk, follow the spiral around trying to describe each symbol as you go. It is so fascinating and somewhat entertaining to see how you describe each one. A brilliant finish to my journey through Crete.