We finalized our arrangements on Theotokopoulou Street back in October, 2012 (and recruited our avatars to make a short video, which is here), and now our stay in Greece is about to end. To complete the circle that our avatars began, we take you back to Theotokopoulou Street, this time in person with Louise as host, to see our neighborhood up close, to try to pronounce “Theotokopoulou,” and to meet some of our friends there:
Right near our street, outside the medieval wall, there is an agricultural fair (photo above) smack in the middle of the dried-up ancient castle moat. I strolled around the other night to take pictures of souvlaki, linens, handicrafts, shoes, honey, raki, and spinach pies.
We don’t have a car here on Crete. We could rent one (or rent a motorcycle, which was our original plan), but after ten minutes of watching Cretan drivers, no one in his right mind would choose to drive himself, especially on a moto. It’s best to take the bus, and there are lots of buses.
This is post #100 on the Expat Almanac. It’s a milestone, of course, but one without any real significance. It does serve, however, our psychological needs. Why do we post? For the same two reasons, I suppose, that people post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter: the need to belong and the need for self-presentation. (The link points to a Boston University study that found those two primary reasons for participation in social media.)
If you’re a hiker, a beach bunny, or an armchair archaeologist there are many must-sees on Crete: trails, sandy beaches, and excavations everywhere. For the rest of us dabblers, one of the must-sees is the Palace of Minos at Knossos (“Knossos” for short), a hilltop ruin near Heraklion that was first inhabited in 7000 B.C.
Two weeks. That’s how long we’ve been in Chania. We’ve pretty well scoured the city (it’s small: population ~55,000) and are now taking an inventory of all the beaches within a day’s outing. Louise is learning the language (note the absence of the plural “we”), and we’re becoming gourmands, having now visited – oh, I dunno – maybe 500 local restaurants. (Lord, thank you for the food on this island.)
But now, some of the things we’ve learned (and that you won’t read in the guidebooks) about the local culture:
Treasure Island (Elafonissi) was once used by pirates, but the pirates have all moved to Somalia, and Elafonisi (modern spelling) really isn’t an island any more – it’s an outcropping of the mainland connected by a strip of sand that occasionally submerges. That sand, however, is stunning.
In my long life I have seldom thought about the Canary Islands, but when I did, I thought they were:
- atwitter with little yellow birds, and
- somewhere out there.
Turns out they are 54 miles off the coast of North Africa, and they are Spanish. They are named after the Canarii tribe of settlers, also from North Africa. The little birds are named after the islands, but they must have all emigrated to pet shops elsewhere.