Thursday, September 10, 2009

In my mind, I'm going to Crete...

If you're from, say, Virginia, and have a degree from UNC, it's hard to get away from James Taylor's Going to Carolina. So, oddly, when I found myself humming this song the other day while walking my dogs (at 6 AM), strange that I was thinking of Crete! Maybe that's because I'm still jetlagged, so a dark sidewalk at 6 AM feels like mid-day in my body...

OK, back to the trip. We left the big city and headed towards Myrtos, a small town on the south-east side of the island of Crete. This is what the parking lot looked like for our hotel. Note the goats... it was just a little walk down a couple of flights of steps to the beach.

You may wonder what you see on a long drive in Crete. Here are some of the sights. We took the biggest road in Crete, called the "National Road." It is usually somewhere between 2-4 lanes in both directions. There are fruit vendors and tavernas right alongside the road; easy to pull off and grab a coffee or an orange juice if you know where they are ahead of time. (big if, we didn't pull off once!) The driving on this highway is speedy like a racetrack with lots of twists and curves. We stuck to the very right side of the road! Other than this road, things are relatively unimproved. A lot of roads are paved, and may even have up to two lanes, but it's not uncommon to have goats on the road or have the whole road sort of peter out into a set of steps in a village.

The truck in front of us here on the road is filled with grapes for raisins. Crete produces a lot of raisins, and it's a really labor intensive process. We had the process explained to us in a museum, but it was much more real when we were behind this truck on the highway!

Summer is the dry season. Crete is very lush and green at other times of the year. However, when it is dry, it's easy to spot the furry inhabitants of Crete! This donkey was hanging out in a clearing right near a big intersection near the National Road. It was a very big donkey...it's hard to tell in this scenery, but he (she?) had some size on him!

Goats are often free range in Crete. This one was very high up on a mountain above the coast road near Myrtos--eating whatever greenery was left.

While we were in Myrtos, we spent time on the beach, swam in the sea, and ate well. There were open air tavernas along the beach, and it was a great spot to watch people go by. Evenings were especially wonderful. The children in town would set up plastic milk crate "stands" and put out pet rocks and trading cards "for sale." They played at shopkeeper and raced back and forth setting up stalls and taking them down. Then they got on their bikes, (all with training wheels) chasing each other (gently) up and down the pedestrian walk way, honking their horns and ringing their bells. Puppies and children ran up and down the beach, sometimes getting in one last swim. Best was the pair of little boys, one sporting sunglasses, who went fishing at dusk together. They didn't let the sunset or the dark get in the way of the sunglasses look!

We stopped along the highway to see these ancient mills. They've recreated how the mills worked along this road, so you can see how the wooden spokes would have turned the gristmill inside through windpower. Turns out wind power is a pretty ancient energy source! There are other mills on hillsides, but they lack the wooden spokes, so you need to know what to look for in terms of building shape when you glance up.
This historic site (and gift shop) was closed when we stopped on a Sunday, but still very picturesque. It was clear how the mills worked, as well. One of the other buildings was for sale, too! (need a new life? How about a grist mill in Crete?!)
Meanwhile, back in Manitoba, it looks like I am lining up some teaching opportunities for later this fall at a local yarn shop. Also trying madly to learn about how things work here--details about health care, car repair, chimney repair, eavestroughs...we're working flat out again on learning about life in Winnipeg. Still, it's nice to return to vacation "in my mind" on the blog. In my mind I'm going to Cre--e-te...can't you just feel the sunshine? Another post to come in a few days...

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4 Comments:

Blogger writerdd said...

Don't rush to learn about your new home. Take it slow! It will still be Canada tomorrow...

Donna

September 10, 2009 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Beautiful. And now you know what song is going to be in my mind for awhile, too--thank you, that one's an old favorite. "Ain't no doubt in no one's mind, that love's the finest thing around; whisper something soft and kind."

--AlisonH at spindyeknit.com

September 11, 2009 at 12:02 AM  
Blogger Sarah Jean said...

Wow, that does look like a pretty big donkey. hee.

September 11, 2009 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

I love the descriptions of all the kids!

September 11, 2009 at 5:33 PM  

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