Thursday, September 17, 2015

Going cruising--of a sort

Remember the story of the Minotaur?

Remember the story that's not in Percy Jackson?

The Minotaur is a half man, half bull that is the offspring of a beautiful white bull and a cursed queen who got the raw end of her husband's bad behavior. The fearsome beast lived in a labyrinth on Crete, and every year 14 young Athenians were sent into the labyrinth as tribute. 

One year Theseus, the son of the king, volunteered. His superhuman fighting skills felled the beast; a golden thread from Ariadne, King Minos' daughter, helped the Athenians escape. 

King Minos, the king of Crete, if he lived would have lived at Knossos, the king's palace outside of Heraklion. 

This is Knossos. 


The palace was quite large at one point, though very little of the original is actually there; more than a century ago some guy who I'm assuming is an archaeologist named Arthur Evans discovered the ruins and did a lot of reconstruction, which my guidebook tells me isn't really accepted by other archaeologists. That's also clear in many of the available informational signs; there was a lot of "Evans thought," "Evans guessed," and "according to Evans," and we all know if you cite that frequently (more than once a sentence sometimes) it's because you want the reader to know loud and clear, "This is not my idea! I don't want it." It's like the anti-plagiarism. 

This may as well read, "we're too proper to say outright we think it's a bit idiotic."

Heraklion (also called Iraklio, no one can decide what the locals call it) also has a nice wall around its much larger harbor. I walked to the end, frequently turning around to watch the sun go down over the mountains. 


Oh, I forgot my Knossos story! As I'm standing there looking at something a worker blows her whistle and yells at someone to get down. After glancing around, I saw a teenage girl standing on the rock wall, which is behind a barrier. She does not respond to the whistling and yelling, so the worker heads down there. 

The girl is off by the time the worker arrives at the girl and her mother. (I'm watching this now, because obviously drama unfolding now is more interesting than Greek stories of long ago.) The worker tells the mother to delete the photo. The mother protests; it was of the sun! Delete it, the worker says, and take one of the girl standing on the path. The mother does not delete it and starts walking away, possibly thinking this will get the worker off her back. 

Fine, the worker says, going in the same direction. Come with me and we'll talk to the police. 

The woman does not go to talk to the police. She argues some more. (Why? This isn't a standing up to the man situation.) She goes the other direction. The worker goes with her, radioing authorities ahead, insisting the woman delete the photo. 

I never saw the woman again. 

Tomorrow I have a ride on a big ship that I feel will probably not be as comfortable as the last big ship I was on. Ferries don't have the same aura as cruise ships, y'know?

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