For years, and especially in my younger days, I had a judgmental, cynical, and completely unfounded view of island life. I had created a caricature based on what little I knew of the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands and assumed it was all about working on one’s tan and drinking cocktails . . . which meant not for me. While I love the water, hanging out for a week or so on the beach was never my idea of a good time. Too much sun, sand, and sunscreen. Of course, after a few weeks on Crete, I realize that my very judgmental understanding was a bit off!
Crete, Greece . . . after 2 weeks on this beautiful and geographically diverse island, my take on island life is very different. You look left and you see snow-capped mountains (even in April) and turn to the right and see a spectacular coastline. And in many places the two meet - as you’ll see the base of the mountain drop right into the sea. And of course, it houses one of my new favorite cities - Chania. Based on what I’ve experienced here, I am an island convert. I love it!
And Crete is about much more than just its geography. It was the home of Europe’s most ancient, and first advanced civilization - the Minoans - who date back to 2700 BC. There are excavations of Minoan temple complexes and partial settlements all over the island. There are also ancient buildings from the Greek and Roman periods. It is quite remarkable, and even if you’re not a history geek, you will most likely be moved by what you see. The photos accompanying this blog are from Knossos, Phaistos, Gortyna, and Aptera.
There are also excavations in Southern Crete that have revealed stone tools that are at least 130,000 years old. And they have found “Trachilos” footprints with “hominin-like” characteristics imbedded in lava rock that are 6 million years old. Can we even imagine what life must have been like at that time? This island will take you on a ride through time - courtesy of your own imagination. It’s impossible to see such antiquity and not wonder about what life was like hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Crete is easily one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited. While driving around this island (which, by the way, is the largest of the Greek Isles) we are immersed in The Wonder of Wandering. And what we’re learning in our travels, especially as we search for our new home, is that we want a really big backyard. We have no problem living in a town of 40,000 people, for example, if the surrounding area is rich with history and beauty . . . and the island of Crete provides that and more.
So . . . I am grateful to Crete for providing me with the attitude adjustment I sorely needed when it came to my take on island life. It’s quite possible that when it’s all said and done, I may be living on one.
Wherever we eventually land . . . I hope that we enjoy it as much as we are enjoying our quest in finding it! And who knows. . . maybe it’s not about finding home at all. Maybe it’s just about the journey - remaining wide open to the newness of life as we travel from place to place.