Hi everybody, thanks for your comments on our Kopan post. Sorry for the long dry spell… we’ve been lounging in Greece reading some 20th century classics, primarily the works of Robert Ludlum. Seriously, Mr. Ludlum passed away some years ago but, in the tradition of Tibetan Buddhist monks (?), he just keeps writing!

In addition to our deep scholarship into the Ludlum canon, we have managed to look up from our books once in a while to see…

The Parthenon! Yes, it’s in Athens on top of the Acropolis. It has been subject to numerous ‘repair’ projects over the years, the most recent of which started 25 years ago (in 1983!)… and the end is nowhere in sight.

Despite the scaffolding, the Parthenon is still grand and beautiful. Up close, though, we discovered a construction secret of the ancients…

Look closer…

Legos!!! (i.e., ΛΕΓΩΣ!) Just another thing we have the Greeks to thank for.

At the base of the hill are the theatres of Herodes Atticus and Dionysus. If you were here in 429 B.C. you might have been able to score tickets to a first-run production of Oedipus Rex.

And of course we saw lots of iconic ionic columns. (Derry made us say that.)

Our real destination in Greece was the island of Crete. Over the millenia Crete has been home to the ancient Minoans, the less-ancient Venetians, even-less-ancient Turks, and today just Cretans and… Tourists. By now we are quite practiced at finding the non-touristy parts of even touristy places, and we worked our magic again in Crete. One town we liked a lot was Rethymno (RETH-im-no), with its ancient Venetian fortress, Turkish mosques, and narrow winding lanes.

Our balcony at Atelier Rooms in Rethymno, above a potter’s studio. So nice.

The most important archaeological site on Crete is Knossos, the royal city of the Minoans. Sir Arthur Evans discovered it in the early 20th century and set about restoring it to his own speculations. Archaeologists today cringe, but for visitors, Evans’ reconstructions do help bring to life the world of the Minoans. Their frescoes are particularly beautiful, many focused on themes from nature.

Some anthropologists think that Minoan Crete may have been a rare example of a society with gender equality. There is evidence that women fully participated in all spheres of life, including the dangerous sport of bull-leaping – somersaulting acrobatically over a charging bull.

What is known about the Minoans has come through their art, because unfortunately their script has not been deciphered. The most famous example of Minoan writing is the Phaestos Disk, in which the text is a spiral.

The human drive to record our thoughts in words and images is strong. In addition to art and artifacts, just about every place we’ve visited has… graffiti. (A human universal?) Here in Greece, stencil art is the preferred medium and the themes tend to be anti-authoritarian.

This example of modern Cretan wall art has not yet been deciphered, at least by us.

Although we have a pretty good idea what this one means…

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this wall art are those of the artist, not the bloggers!]

Busloads of tourists descend upon the famous Knossos site every day. But we also visited the ruins of a seaside city called Lissos, reached via an hour-long hike along the southern coast of Crete.

This site – just as amazing as Knossos but not accessible by road – is visited almost exclusively by goats, plus a handful of hikers.

Indiana Kate stumbled upon this beautiful mosaic floor.

Well, our trip is almost over, which is sad but good because our clothes have started BREAKING. No kidding. Zippers, clasps, etc., are giving out on us daily. Hopefully we will make it home with some measure of modesty intact.

We miss you all and can’t wait to see you SOON!!!