Monday, July 30, 2013—Lendas, Crete, Greece
My little trip to Lendas has turned out to be an extended stay—I'll be leaving Wednesday, which will make it nearly a full week for me here. I'm feeling a little guilty about this. Shouldn't I be exploring new places, climbing mountains, engaging in new forms of cultural immersion? No—that's me turning my life into a job again. The truth is I am tired and I needed (need) a spot into which I could settle for a while, do little besides, swim, sun, read, and generally gather myself together a bit (my illness took much more out of me than I'd realized)—and I found that here.
One thing I haven't being doing here, though, is writing. This is only the second time I've sat down and put down anything for the blog. The truth is there's not really much to write about (which is of course a good thing—that's why I came here: to sequester myself from any drama). So what have I been doing? Like I said: swimming, lying in the sun (both at the beach to the west of town, which is much larger and nicer than the one in town), poking around at the various archaeological sites (the town and much of the surrounding area is one big site, with components going back to Minoan time up thru Roman, etc.), and reading, Thoreau's journals and the Gary Snyder Reader (I always know I'm coming to the end of a trip when I feel the urge to start picking up American writers). Since I know that I'm going to Gavdos next I haven't even been making plans. Again, all of this is good—I feel much better than when I came here, both physically and mentally: I feel I've re-established my center in both respects …
This little sliver of Crete's southern coast, like Gavdos island to the south, is classified by geographers as being part of the North African climate zone, not the Mediterranean zone that the rest of Crete falls into. This makes perfect sense. It's hot here, but it's a different kind of hot than the rest of mainland Crete: it's drier, starker, more rough and tumble. The landscape also looks different, much more desert like.
The name Lendas comes from the Greek term for lion. I read something about the name being applied because the little inlet in which Lendas if found is supposed to look like a lion's mane or something. I don't see it. By that logic any crescent-shaped inlet, of which Greece has a great many, could be called Lendas—we'd be up to our eyes balls in lions. It explains the name of the Lions bar, though, which is found right in the village center …
Tanned, lazy, but also getting a little antsy to move on: that's me at the moment (I actually got bored at the beach today, which is a rarity).
Lendas from the east
Where 'm staying. Love the barbed wire in this shot - it makes the place look like a little prison. Actually it's quite comfortable and the woman who runs it is very sweet.
Part of a terracotta oil lamp I found on the surface of an archaeological site on the hill east of the village
Part of a floor mosaic at an archaeological site literally just above where I'm staying
History tumbled down ...
Less prison-like view of my Lendas home
Harsh beauty of the region - Looking east from high up on the hill that marks off the western limits of Lendas
Lendas from that some hill
Beach to the west of Lendas
Fresh archaeological pits to the east of the village
Love the way wave action has shaped this rock - it's turned it into a wave itself