Monday, April 18, 2011

Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos Flashback

It's time to backtrack a bit. It's been a whirlwind two and a half weeks.

There are four locations that will be covered in this update:
Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos

Heraklion was 4 days and contained visits to Knossos, Malia, Phaestos, and Agia Triada. It was a small city, but definately the hub of modern Cretan tourism. We ate seafood (mostly octopus, mussels, and whitefish) every night there. Agios Nikolaos was smaller and quieter. We got to experience more extra-urban Greece. Less people spoke english and we had to take more primitive transportation. Staying a week on Crete was an excellent experience. We also got the chance to see a good amount of military activity (carrier and fighter planes as well as french soldiers on leave) in connection to the conflict in Libya.

In summary, after a mid-term exam in Athens two weeks ago, we took the green-line on the Athenian Metro to Piraeus (The port of Athens) to board a ferry bound for Crete. We would spend a week there. The Ferry was pretty fantastic.

The day after we reached Heraklion we started visiting ancient Minoan palaces. The first was Knossos, the Bronze Age Minoan palace where the myth of Minos, Theseus, Ariadne, and the Minotaur supposedly took place. We learned all about Bronze Age Minoan architecture, artifacts, and religion.

The next day we visited two similar Bronze Age, Minoan Sites: The Phaestos Palace, and the Agia Triada Villa.

The Pheatos Palace was the only site located further inland on Crete. This is because it was centrally located in the most lush and fertile plain of the area. It was similar in size and construction of Knossos, but had slight variation due to the timeline of construction.

Agia Triada (named "Holy Trinity" for a nearby Byzantine Monastery) was a nice little village that had both Minoan construction and later mainland Mycenaean invasive buildings and storage for international olive-oil trade. There was a fascinating room dedicated solely  for male drinking and socializing. Ancient man cave.

We went to another comparable site called Malia. It was fascinating. I feel  bad skimming over these, but I'm pretty far behind.

Gournia was a full Minoan town surrounding a grand Bronze Age Villa. The view of the northeast coast of Greece was unparalleled the whole trip. I was quite pleased. Matthew, our instructor, led us to a place where sightings of un-excavated ship-sheds were reported. We uncovered 3 full foundations before the bus came. It was a beautiful day.

We had a final exam for Bronze Age Greece on our seventh day in Crete. Immediately after that, we headed back to port at Heraklion to go back to Athens in preparation for our next course. Stay tuned for the next flashback where I tell you about Olympia and Delphi.

At this point, I am desirous of a stable bed and a couple hours to myself. Ezra was counting how many rooms we have stayed in. I think he lost count at about 17 at Olympia a week ago. We're probably in the 20's by now. It's tough, considering I've lived my entire life in a single bedroom, surrounded  by my family who I miss to an exponential degree. I'm fine for now. This is both a wonderful and a refining experience. I can't complain about the chance to take an adventure. I may not be fighting dragons, but I'm certainly out of my element. From the food to the living conditions and the amount of work in a single subject we have, it is difficult to adjust. I can tough it out. My Grandpa came this far in a B-24 Liberator when he was little older than me. My Dad worked on the Illinois Tollway and braved traffic for 30 years to grant me this opportunity. It's time for me to buck up and conquer this adventure to full extent of benefit. After all...

"Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with those poor timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt

I have to give special thanks for letters from home. They help a lot with the feelings of disconnectedness (word?). Mom and Dad have been so supportive and encouraging. I'm also grateful for Arcade Fire, The Art of Manliness, Nikon Coolpix, Paperblanks and Mirado Black Warriors, Cambridge Professors with odd british-isms, apples, and Skype.

God Bless, Eddie


  1. Special thanks for letters from Greece! :)

  2. Awesome! :) I like that last pic. Profile pic! :D
    Love you, miss you...

  3. Hi Eddie,

    Grandma and I read your latest post. She says hi and the following: "I'm into birds again. They are coming back. I have been following the Cubs on TV but I'm waiting for you to take me to a game. I have only been to 2 games since my father died. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Write when you have a chance."