A Travellerspoint blog

Wednesday 22nd April - coastal views

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Drove to a beach place we had read about where there was meant to be good places to walk. No-where much to walk (without disturbing the nude sunbathers – older rather large couple) but fantastic view of the coast - blue blue water and dramatic rock faces meeting the sea and a little island with Minoan ruins. Lunch overlooking the sea – not too terrible.

Posted by Jan_n_Dave 06:16 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Tuesday 21st April - Lasithi Plateau

A day to Lasithi Plateau – an amazingly large and flat plateau 900 m up and surrounded by mountains, some still with remnants of snow on them – and it was only 50 or so km from “home” – but windy (and windy) and mountainous.

Dave very disappointed that not many flowers out as indicated – at least until he found 2 different sorts of orchids – and some other lily or bulb things.

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Posted by Jan_n_Dave 06:11 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Monday 20th April - more piles of rocks

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Another day out and about visiting ancient sites. First to Gortyna and then on to Agia Triada and Phaestos and back home the scenic way – or at least it should have been but there was a bloody big dam where the road should have gone!! Not on our map (or Tom’s). Once again the Minoan sites (Agia Triada and Phaestos) built in the most amazing positions.

Picked broad beans from the side of the road. Not sure if they were somenone's crop or growing wild.

Easter deal: We were also pleasantly surprised that the archaeological monuments of Crete were open for free over Easter – so we did well with Knossos and the three sites near Phaestos. There was little sign that Easter had any other public affect apart from the religious activities – on Good Friday and Easter Sunday everything seemed to operate as normal with all the shops etc running as usual. And nothing indicated that Easter Monday would be celebrated in any different way – well, everything was as close to closed as you would expect in Melbourne on a Good Friday. We still managed to get petrol and find one bakery open. Then the very heavy traffic heading home to the big cities on the Monday afternoon made us realize that people must have gone out for day or three or back to visit family and celebrate Easter. It was also interesting to see that the police were visible on the Monday evening catching people speeding on their way home – which would be an easy thing to do in Greece. Must write some notes about driving habits in Greece!

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Posted by Jan_n_Dave 06:02 Archived in Greece Comments (1)

Sunday 19th April - lazy day at 'home'

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Very lazy day at home. Caught up on a little work, read, yoga, mending clothes, washing – much of it done on the roof. And a pleasant walk through the village and up the hill towards the end of the day, picking some fresh herbs for dinner.

Seemed like the whole village had gone to sleep or left – except of course for those still lighting crackers.

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Posted by Jan_n_Dave 13:46 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Saturday 18th April - Knossos and Easter

Went to Knossos and back to village in late afternoon. And then there were the celebrations at the church at the end of the day (midnight) – crackers (big and too close for comfort), fireworks and an amazing bonfire.

Knossos is THE famous Minoan site. There were two palaces built at Knossos, the first was built about 1900 BC and was destroyed or severely damaged by an earthquake. The second palace was built in about 1700 BC and was much grander than the first. The palace was discovered by Arthur Evans in 1900. Evans spent about 25 years excavating the site and some of the finds from the site were amazing – frescos, pithoi (seriously big storage jars), drainage systems, and a toilet – that flushed. Evans also ‘reconstructed’ parts of the site. His reconstructions have been questioned and it is easy to see that he had a great imagination. BUT, the palace was enormous and his reconstructions give some idea of what it might have been like. Some of the reconstruction was obvious but it was hard to know if other parts had been partially reconstructed or if it was ‘real’.

The Knossos palace was partly destroyed about 1500 – 1450 BC and about 50 years later it was destroyed by fire.
The Minoans really could pick their spots – as with Gournia, the views were stunning.

So after xx years I (Jan) made it there – and it didn’t disappoint.

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Wandered back to Latsida via one of the smaller roads. Eventually found somewhere to pull off the road for a picnic – both starving by that stage. Picnic spots are very hard to come by – the roads are relatively narrow and don’t have places to pull over to admire the view. Where you can pull over there tends to be a fair bit of rubbish or is a track to a house or olive grove – and we have sworn off tracks (well at least for a couple of days).

That night we were determined not to miss out on the Easter festivities which so much is made of. According to the ‘books’ everyone goes to the church at 11.00pm for a service, at 12.00pm the lights go off to indicate the death of Christ and then come on again to indicate his resurrection AND the fireworks start. Well the fire crackers had been going off for most of the evening – and some seriously BIG bangs. Dave had been told that guns were shot over this period and it was easy to imagine that some of the big bangs were gun shots. At a bit after 11.00 pm we made our way to the church, wondering if we were late. The ‘big’ church isn’t that big and we didn’t want to go in in case we took someone’s chair (there’s lots of elderly locals) so we loitered outside feeling rather self conscious. But as the minutes went past, more and more people arrived. The women and young children tended to go into the church and the males, of all ages, stayed outside, some letting off the odd fire cracker. As time went on more arrived and more and more fire crackers were lit – and thrown over the church fence. (At first we thought our car was parked underneath and imagined not only taking it back with evidence of having been down a dirt track but with fire cracker damage. However, this was just our car paranoia and there was a garden between the fence and the car). Some crackers produced a penny bunger bang, some were a little smaller and then there were the BIG buggers. We had never heard fire crackers produce bangs like this. And then, just near where we were standing, a number of relatively large crackers were thrown at the back/side door of the church (initiated by one of the only three males in white suits – three generations all outside the church – not sure if it (the white suit) was significant or not). When we saw one of the youths who had thrown these crackers heading out the church gate near-by we hurriedly followed. BANG, BANG, BANG and so it went on with some of the ‘bits’ flying back in our direction. And inside the church the service went on – well we assume it did. At midnight the lights went off, there was a few seconds of silence and then the lights came back on, the people started filing out of the church, including the priest. After a few more words from the priest, a man on a roof next to the church started lighting rockets, more crackers were let off and then the biggest bonfire we had ever seen was lit – and in the middle of the bonfire was an effigy of Judas (at least that’s what the books tell us it was). Where was the fire brigade – probably throwing fire crackers! And then it was all over and people started dispersing – supposedly to have some special soup but us two went back to our little house, bed and sleep – to the background of fire crackers going off.

Posted by Jan_n_Dave 13:42 Comments (0)

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