Tag Archives: Sanctuary of Diktynna

Part II: Chania, Crete (also told in two subsections)

After Athens, we spent 10 days on the island of Crete–the birthplace of Europe’s first civilization. Everyone knows of Knossos, the legendary home of King Minos and the labyrinth that Sir Arthur Evans discovered. We visited the site last year. This year, however, we explored other fine Minoan sites where one can wander without ropes. Also, if I could go back to grad school, I would study Cretan Byzantine frescoes. There are about 800 frescoed churches on the island, most of which are unlocked and off the beaten track. They are also terribly preserved. Still, I was blown away by their imaginative, fresh style. Some dated to the 10th century and showed a level of artistry that, in my mind, rivalled the frescoes of Giotto–the 14th century Italian painter who I was taught set the Proto Renaissance bar.

But let’s get down to brass tacks. We spent six days in the region of Chania (western Crete) and four in southern Heraklion (eastern Crete).

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Part 2: Greece, a Cretan good day to you

Soon after we arrived in Crete, we knew that the locals had warmed to us because they gave us the traditional Cretan greeting. That’s when you say: “A Cretan good morning to you, sir!” while you fake-shake the end of a man’s penis.

This is not actually a traditional Cretan greeting but one of us envisioned that it was. We’d pretend to greet each other like this, even though I don’t have a penis, over our three days on the island, during which the Beast did all the driving. (We got a VW Polo, which was marginally better than the Suzuki Celerio.) This was cause for another fight because he tried to drive like the Greeks: fast, and down-shifting on hills instead of breaking. I asked him to slow down. He took offence. As a cis male, he said, it was in his blood to drive this way, like the Cretan (cis males) did, and how could I possibly understand?

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