…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?
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.
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.)
This is a good cretan story .
Also I didn’t know anything about Kri-Kri .
Would they produce goat milk at least ?
What about using them as targets ?
Rene Zanderink said:
This is an awsome and fantastic story because last year when you were there the famous Minoan mountain cattle of Crete has been rediscovered.
See You Tube.
So the signs can be of use, but should be put higher in the mountains as the Crete shorthorn cattle has two varieties: the lowland and the highland, the latter being considered to be extinct.
With kind regards,
chairman Ark of Taste, Slow Food The Netherlands
At first I felt a distinct pulling of my leg. I have a good friend in The Nederlands and he *is* a practical joker. So I went to YouTube, and searching for “Cretan Mountain Cattle” I found the video that René Zanderink cites. The video shows what are decidedly cattle. They could be on Crete. They could descend from the Minoan Civilization. They could.
Also, there *is* an Ark of Taste. And there *is* a Slow Food Foundation. There’s even a René Zanderink, both on Facebook and LinkedIn.
All this I found on the Internet. Including the cattle. Gotta believe that.
Or not. The only proper response is to return to Crete and hike the mountains. It’s the perfect antidote to the Internet.
Brian Shipman said:
Great story, but I must say I have seen 4 cows in Crete. One in a field on the new Makriyalos bypass road. I had driven this road all summer and never saw it but my wife insisted she had seen one. Eventually I spotted it standing under an olive tree. The other 3 were in a field on the road between Georgioupolis and Chania. I have lived here for 18 months and they are the only ones I have seen.
I did ask my Greek friend about these road signs when I first moved here and he told me the cow sign was for slower moving animals like sheep and the sign for deer was for faster moving animals like goats.