Category: sun

The labyrinth city

One of the main reasons I chose Newcastle for my MA was the two study trips with Greek and Roman Archaeology. In January, we went to Rome for four days. The planned trip to Greece was only Athens for two days, but since I have dreamed of visiting Greece since I was a six year old reading mythology picture books, I had to see more than just Athens.

And so, Chandra and I planned a ten day trip designed to see as much of Greece as possible - and still spend a bit of time in the sun.

The first place we went was Crete. We flew from Manchester to Heraklion, the modern city from which you can visit ancient Knossos.

Instead of staying in the city, we stayed outside at a nice little hotel with a pool and a short walk to the beach. After all, us Canadians (pale as we might be) are used to a warm summer that we’re fairly certain not to get in the Northeast of England this year, so we had to get some much needed Vitamin D while we could.

Our first discovery from Greece was the wonderful food:

Gemista and Greek salad, photo by Chandra

And a beer named Mythos, which is like, perfect!

Me and a Mythos, photo by Chandra

The next day we headed into Heraklion to find our way to Knossos, the ruins of the legendary Minoan city that dates back to about 1700 BCE. It’s the famous city of King Minos and the Minotaur, of the Labyrinth built by Daedalus. It was excavated by the infamous Sir Arthur Evans, starting in about 1900 CE.

Knossos, photo by me

And why is Evans infamous?

It has to do with both archaeological theory and the ethics of restoration. Evans restored and reconstructed a number of buildings on the site, something that no archaeologist would dare to do nowadays. It wasn’t long before his British colleagues were pronouncing the reconstructions as wrong. To this day, Evans is used as a bad example in archaeology textbooks.

A few of Evans' reconstructions, photo by me

But the people of Crete see Evans in a different light. Unlike many of the antiquarian archaeologists of the early 20th century, Evans didn’t expropriate the artefacts from Knossos to a fancy cabinet of curiosities in England. He left the site and all its finds to the people of Crete. So they kind of love him.

Part of me disagrees with Evans’ reconstructions, but the other part of me recognizes that it makes the site a hell of a lot more interesting to visit. And to take photos of. Like our tour guide said, it’s easy to imagine yourself back in ancient Knossos.

After an educational morning, we retired to spend our next day and a half on the beach and swimming in the Sea of Crete.

Beach! photo by me

Greece is officially my favourite holiday spot because you get archaeology and history and sun and sand.

If you need me…

…I’ll be here:

OMG it's the PARTHENON!

In this:

Mmmmm sun!Instead of this:

Good old British rainAs long as this:

Airports in Scotland were shut for a bit this week because of the ash...

Or, more likely, this:

That would totally ruin my photos.

…doesn’t get in the way. I’ve wanted to visit Greece since I was like 6 years old. Please convince Zeus to let us in?!

In which I burn…

I am very pale. Translucently so, actually. I know that I don’t have the complexion for tanning. But, I love the sun. I’m like a kitten in a sun spot, I practically purr and roll around.

This weekend, I went up to The Chris‘ cottage. It was beyond gorgeous. I’m used to cottages like mine, where there are lots of trees, a dock and a smallish lake. The Chris’ cottage is on Lake Erie, and it is definitely Canada’s equivalent of Florida. Vast, sandy beaches and blue blue water as far as the eye can see.

Saturday was fairly cool - I spent most of it curled under a blanket on the hammock, reading my book. Sunday rolled around and it was very sunny. It was fantastic. We went for a few walks, even braved a swim. When I got out of the lake, I was freezing. I decided to lie down on my towel in the sun.

“Did you put sunscreen on?!” The Chris would ask every fifteen minutes or so.

“Yessss,” we would all answer with varying tones of exasperation.

Kristen lied down beside me. “You put sunscreen on again after swimming, right?”

“Yeah,” I said, “Except on my legs. For some reason they never burn.”

Correction - my legs do burn. They just don’t normally burn because normally when I get a sunburn it’s from walking around too much in the sun or sitting on the dock. I very seldom lie down to soak in sun. And when I do, I even more seldomly wear ridiculously short shorts and roll up my bathing suit.

I am now a lobster from the waist down. My legs are so burnt that I had a fever Sunday night. I can’t walk very well because I can’t bend my knees without it hurting. I can’t sit down comfortably because all but a very little bit of my ass is burnt. And yesterday I drove 7 hours home from the cottage.

I was hobbling around and wincing from pain every few minutes. The Chris looked down at my legs and shook her head.

“I told you so,” she said.

take these broken wings and learn to fly…

here comes the sun, little darling. here comes the sun. and I say, ‘It’s all right. It’s all right.”