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road sign

…but there are kri-kri’s. And guns.

While Louise is preparing a post about our recent journey to Knossos, I’m going to relay a story told to us by our guide, Lisa, who accompanied us on the three-hour bus ride from Chania to Knossos.

Greek gun laws change over time, but generally they prohibit the ownership of rifles over 22 caliber. However, as they say in Greece: “everything is prohibited; everything is permitted.” That goes especially for Crete, where laws are looked upon as “guides,” rather than … well … laws. (You oughta see how these people park!)

In other words, there are guns here, many of them rifles larger than 22’s. And what do people do for fun with rifles?

Target practice.

Anyone who has practiced with targets can tell you that it quickly provokes the desire for a more challenging experience. In other words, the step from shooting targets to shooting road signs (from a moving vehicle, at night, when the signs reflect headlights) is often looked upon as a natural progression, especially on Crete.

A Cretan kri-kri.

A Cretan kri-kri.

On another topic, the mountains of Crete are infested with feral goats, called kri-kri’s. There are so many kri-kri’s that the government posts road signs in particularly infested areas warning motorists of kri-kri’s in the road.

The signs are great for target practice.

Crete long ago gave up on enforcing laws that make it illegal to shoot kri-kri signs, finding it less expensive to simply replace the signs when they become unrecognizable from gunshot holes.

A few years ago, Crete placed an order with Athens for more kri-kri signs. Kri-kri’s only live on Crete, Athens didn’t have kri-kri signs in stock, so they sent what they had: cattle signs.

There are no cattle on Crete.

Crete said the cattle signs wouldn’t do, but Athens found it cheaper to offer the already-shipped cattle signs at a discount than to order up a fresh batch of kri-kri signs. Athens responded to Crete by knocking 50% off the price of the cattle signs

No Cretan can resist a discount. Crete took the cattle signs.

Which is why the island of Crete has cattle-warning road signs even though there are no cattle on Crete.

I love this place.

(Photo credits: Road sign, estherwarren.wordpress.com; kri-kri, Wikimedia Commons.)