Monday, July 4, 2011

Palekastro - Minoan Town

Monday, July 4, 2011—Sitia, Crete, Greece

Had a good mellow day today. Revised my plans and skipped going to the palm tree beach at Vai and instead headed over to a town called Palekastro. The main reason I went there was to see Ancient Palekastro, which is a large Minoan town that’s only been partially excavated. The other reason I went is because just down the road from this site is Hiona Beach, was I heard was pretty good.

The archaeological site turned out to be really interesting. The excavated parts are of a Minoan town; the outlines of things like alleyways and what were probably homes and shops are clearly visible. The site’s also loaded with tons of pottery remains. Using remote sensing technics researchers have figured out that there’s also a massive structure of some kind under the adjacent olive groves. It could be a palace. If so this find could be Knossos-like in importance (but who knows when or if this structure will be excavated—olive groves are very lucrative and I can’t imagine the farmers letting their trees being ripped out just so archaeologists can do their work). I got a ton of good shots of the site, which I will infuse into my archaeology class in the fall. All in all, I got far more out of seeing this site than I did Knossos, which is so marred by Evans’ “reconstructions” and the Disneyland atmosphere that surrounds the place.

After checking out the site (which took about an hour and a half), I headed down to the beach. Instead of staying at Hiona, which was a little unshaded and hot for my tastes, I hiked a ways along the coast, where I found a secluded little sandy cove that was much more sheltered. I had to share it with some other people (a French and a German couple), but they were cool, and I ended up spending a couple much needed hours there sunning and swimming. Not a bad way to spend the Fourth of July, though not very American, I admit. But then again the date simply doesn’t mean anything over here. In fact, until I happened to look at my watch late this morning I’d forgotten what day it was.

This is my last day in Crete for a while. At the crack of dawn tomorrow I head over to Karpathos. I’m going to miss this place, especially now that I’ve found the eastern part of the island to be a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. I’ll be coming back, though—I fly home from Hania. If things go the way I’m planning I’ll have the first week of August here to tie up loose ends. Feeling good that I ended this part of my trip on such a good note. So on to new adventures!

For the first time since I got here I’m starting to feel a little pressed for time. I still have over a month, but there is a lot a want to cram in in that time. Those six days I lost being sick and stuck in places I didn’t want to be because of the wind are coming back to haunt me a bit.

Thinking of heading from Karpathos to Rhodes and then up to Kos, much further north. These are the tree largest of the Dodecanese Islands and I know I want to go to all of them. Using Kos as a base, I plan on hitting smaller islands in the north that interest me. Then I’ll head back down thru the Dodecanese stopping at Islands I missed by heading straight up to Kos. The plan looks good on paper—I’ll see how it holds up in real life.

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