Sunday, July 30, 2017

A look at the past...Greece and Istanbul 1982, Part 2

In late 2016 a daughter asked that I write about some family history.  On 10/28, 10/29, 11/6, and 12/8 of last year that was done, but there's much more to tell about the days before children.

As a relief from the news of the day, this looks at a trip and by Kathy and me to Greece and Turkey in 1982, following a trip to Paris the previous year described in the 11/6/16 post.

We flew into Athens on a late summer day, had dinner in Piraeus after being almost assaulted by multiple restaurant employees trying to drag us into their restaurants as we walked through the harbor.  I did not remember that experience from 1971, but after all I did not look remotely prosperous at that time.  We had a wonderful meal.  The next day we did the usual and startling sightseeing and museum touring, plus Kathy did some jewelry shopping at a store near our hotel where the local silver jewelry enchanted her and was not expensive at all.  Without the pubs of London or the cafes of Paris or the chairs in shops, I stood outside and wondered why I was there.   The next day we took a short flight to Crete.

As I understand it, Crete and the rest of the Greek Islands are today overwhelmed by Brits on holiday, an unattractive phenomenon known especially in Greece and Spain.  In 1982 that was not an issue. Crete was a phenomenal place to visit.  We landed in Iraklion and found a nice small hotel with a fine restaurant.  Ordering dinner is when we realized that anything on this large island was affordable, as in cheap, by the standard of the American dollar at that time.  I am embarrassed to say now how much that freedom meant to me.  For those who know my background they know it was totally new.

Renting a low mileage light brown Datsun the next morning we headed out.  First to Knossos, the supposed center of a great Minoan civilization that was viewed by some as the root of all spiritual knowledge or others as the lost civilization..  Nice ruins, no reawakening but we enjoyed seeing the place.

We drove east and stopped first in a village on a cliff over a beach, Nikious Agolea(sp?).  The consummate shopper Kathy was overwhelmed with the shops of art objects.  Me too.  I bought a woven painting that was incredible and upon arrival home was promptly given to Kathy's sister by her mother... I remember that... and it is probably in a basement storage areas somewhere.

After that was the peaceful beach in Sitia in the east and then two days in Ieapetra, a beach town of sorts where as always our accommodations were fine, a marble encased place that was the only one like it.  It was strange but we were tired.  Our room had a large second floor balcony overlooking the sea.  We went out one night to one of the recommended restaurants in town where Kathy's fish was fine but my decision to order the most expensive steak was ruined when halfway through I learned that it was horse. Tough but ok with sauce.

Next it was on to Makena Beach, well known from the hippie era as depicted in a Joni Mitchell song and still not much changed in 1983..  That is where the pictures of Kathy sitting or standing on the rocks were taken.  There was more to be seen, it was a beautiful beach and much warmer than other parts of the island, as it was protected from cool sea winds buy surrounding big rocks.

All of this travel was done with a map but that didn't  mean that the red line on a map meant roads. In that part of Crete then it meant dirt and rock paths, sometimes fording small streams.  That Datsun was a workhorse, so to speak.  We have a wonderful photo of Kathy sitting on a rock over a great view on one of those paths.  I always thought that we were on the right path or else didn't care at all whether we were or not, and Kathy just trusted this travel style that she had never experienced.  I dealt with her shopping expeditions and expertise in the artistic and she dealt with my willingness to get lost.  Foreboding what...

More to come...


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