16 June 2015

Crete

It seems like only yesterday that I first explored several of the Greek Islands - Rhodes, Folegandros, Hydra, Spetses, Sikinos, Myknonos, Naxos, Santorini, Skiathos, Delos etcetera. Yes. I saw a few and slept on plenty of beaches but I never made it to Crete. But on Thursday night that is where we will be for a week.

We will be staying here at The Castello Village Hotel in Sissi:-
Shirley is keen to visit a small offshore island which in 1903 became a leper colony. It is called Spinalonga and for fifty years that's where most of Crete's unfortunate lepers lived, creating their own community. It was close enough to shore for easy transit of goods, workers and newcomers and far enough away to ease Cretan concerns about infection. Thankfully, in Europe at least,  leprosy was more or less completely eradicated in the 1960's. Here's Spinalonga:-
And I am keen to visit Knossos and its palace on the outskirts of Heraklion. Knossos is generally considered to be the site of Europe's oldest city. It was first developed around 7000 BC - with the first significant palace being constructed around 1900BC. It was here that King Minos lived and from where the legend of the Theseus and that devilish minotaur arose. It was a story that stuck in my head from when I first heard it in primary school. Ariadne, King Aegeus and of course the labyrinth were all part of the legend. Here's a view of Knossos:-
Apart from those trips, we want to swim and eat Greek food, lounge in the sun and read books. Whether or not I will be blogging from Crete I don't know but I will take this laptop just in case. Καληνύχτα! means "good night!" but it's all Greek to me.

21 comments:

  1. I towed a dive barge to Spinalonga. It was hot but I think the lepers had all died. It's not a nice place to visit as I found the place very disturbing. Crete itsel is fine for Roman and Greek remains but you have to get away from the cost and it's bay to bay tower block development. I love Scotland. It does get busy and the new houses are awful but they are for the most part single story.
    Have a great time. The place is already trashed so just enjoy what is left. Tell Shirley I put all the foundations in on the leper island dock. Ask her to be careful whilst landing.
    It will be hot but not as hot as September and if they give up the ghost then at least the water is warm.

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    1. Drat! When we went to Gran Canaria, I thought to myself - next time we will go somewhere Adrian hasn't been. That's also why I went to Parwich the other day. And when she mentioned Spinalonga I was sure that you would never have been there! When you towed the dive barge I bet you were swimming freestyle in a storm with the tow rope clenched in your teeth as the last lepers applauded - bits of them flying everywhere.

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  2. Gosh, suddenly Adrian ips revealing all these adventures. But your and Shirley's sounds wonderful! Is her second name 'Valentine' perchance?

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    1. She doesn't have a middle name but if she did I would like it to be Boudica.
      Adrian was responsible for separating the north island of New Zealand from the south island.

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  3. There's something so special...so romantic and so beautifully simple about the Greek Isles...something extra special about the sunlight...may it shine brightly upon you and Shirley. :)

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    1. Yes the light. The colours. The smell of olive trees and wild thyme. The warm water. The leathery skin of the old people. The rocks baking in the scorching sun. I am glad to hear that you have been there Lee.

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    2. I've never been there but in my daydreams, Yorky. But even from every picture I've seen of the area the light is almost tangible. I love the architecture...to colour of the ocean...the pure simplicity and beauty. We have a couple of areas here in Queensland, north Queensland that always make me think of the Greek Isle...they, too, have the special "something" about them...it's almost tangible.

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  4. Spinalonga is a fascinating place, and I don't blame Shirley for wanting to see it. I wrote about it here.
    The legends like that of the minotaur and the labyrinth would certainly make me want to look at the places where it's all supposed to have taken place, too.
    Enjoy your holiday - I am sure you'll have plenty to tell and show us when you're back.

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    1. You are like Mr Adrian Miss Arian. You got there before me! It's not fair!

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    2. I've never been to any of the Greek islands, YP - just read about Spinalonga a few years ago, and then did some research on it and wrote about it.

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  5. Looks lovely..have a great time.

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    1. Thank you Libby. We will try.

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  6. That sounds so wonderful. Enjoy your vacation!

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    1. I will obey your instruction Jennifer.

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  7. Cretan art has always tugged at my heart, it's lively and colorful. Have a wonderful time!

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  8. Well there's little fear of following in my footsteps. Well, so far as Greece is concerned. I hope that you have a good time. So far as Spinalonga is concerned I recall following Meike's post and links but I think there was a programme on TV a few years ago about it - although I think I saw in in NZ it was probably a UK production. I think they may have prettied it up a bit.

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  9. I hope you and Shirley have a marvelous vacation. My children have both been to Crete, but not the Big Bear or I. It is the one island of all of them that I would like to visit, tho.

    Being married to Bear is bad enough, but I think Adrian would drive me bonkers! Always so negative, even if in jest. But he has led a wonderfully full life so I guess it is his prerogative, eh?

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  10. How is it that just anyone can write a weblog and get as popular as this? Its not like
    1285 Muscle youve said anything incredibly impressive more like youve painted a pretty picture more than an issue that you know nothing about!
    http://www.strongmenmuscle.com/1285-muscle/

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  11. Buy this book for your wife - Victoria Hislop's book - The Island. Once you have visited Spinalonga the story will come alive. Her research certainly shows in the storyline. It held my attention from the first page.

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